Now that Christmas is securely behind us, I can share a cynical poem by an American academic, poet, and translator about the extreme commercialism that, in some cases, genuinely does mar the holiday:
The Corporate Christmas Carol
by Joseph S. Salemi
God rest ye merry businessmen,
Start markups on your trash!
Remember that this holiday
Is when you rake in cash!
It saves you from those creditors
You owe from that last crash…
Oh, tidings of bottom-lines grown fat, ever so fat!
Oh, tidings of bottom-lines grown fat!
From commerce wonks in Washington
There comes this press release:
“Just keep the boobs in spending-mode
So cash flow doesn’t cease!
A Christmas without splurging means
That profits won’t increase…”
Oh, tidings of credit lines gone wild, ever so wild!
Oh, tidings of credit lines gone wild!
The euro’s going down the tubes;
The E.U. too, en masse—
We owe some fifteen trillion bucks
That we don’t have, alas!
If China calls our paper debt,
We might as well take gas…
Oh, tidings of bankruptcy and loss, ever such loss!
Oh, tidings of bankruptcy and loss!
That’s why we need this frenzied rush
Of buying gone berserk!
At Christmas you must drum into
The head of every jerk
That he should spend and spend and spend
To keep us all in work…
Oh, tidings of avarice unrestrained!
When I was a little kid, I always found the day after Christmas — actually, even Christmas afternoon and Christmas night — remarkably depressing. I had so looked forward to the magic of Christmas Eve and to the wonders of Christmas morning, and now they were past. For a full year! My anticipation of Christmas began around Halloween, the beginning of the “holiday season,” and it ramped into high gear with the conclusion of Thanksgiving dinner. From my perspective, neither Halloween nor Thanksgiving counted for much as a holiday in and of itself. Candy was good, of course, and gathering it with my friends was fun. But that was all. And Thanksgiving? Well, we didn’t eat turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie much during the rest of the year, but we ate well, and just about anything we wanted, every other day. And my grandparents were all gone, our extended family was widely scattered and didn’t gather together, and our nuclear family (now all gone except for me) was tiny. So Thanksgiving wasn’t all that outstandingly different from any other nice meal. But Christmas! And then it was over.
For this particular southern California boy, there is still something of that post-Christmas letdown in Utah. Winter is fun when it points forward to Christmas. After Christmas, though, I quickly tire of gray skies, dead trees, dirty snow, cold, and inversions, and I’m not sad when it goes. (New Year’s Eve isn’t all that special, either. I never go to bed before midnight.) I think of Narnia under the White Witch in C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where it was always winter but never Christmas.
Winter should be a time of palm trees and blue skies — the way it was on the original Christmas Day.
Posted from Williamsburg, Virginia