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Christmas Correctness, Head Protection Paradigm Shift, and The Santa Trust Betrayal.

December 22, 2009 3 comments

A few wintery-Christmas thoughts to tide you over for the yuletide season…

They look cool, but my heart tells me different.

I went up snowboarding for the first time this season with my older brother and my cousin.  Not for the first time recently, I, a non-helmet wearer, was outnumbered by helmet wearers.  It seems head protection is actually becoming popular, though helmets have been associated with lameness since social interaction was invented.  When I was growing up, the kids who had to wear helmets while riding their bike were always the brunt of jokes.  I was supposed to wear a helmet.  Usually though, my green head-shell would end up dangling off of my handle bars soon after I was out of house sight.  So despite all the bike safety workshops, jamborees, and parents trying to make it seem “cool” for kids to wear helmets; we all fought it tooth and nail.  Hockey, baseball, and contact sports?  No problem.  Everyone else has to, so no big deal.  Riding a bike near irresponsible motorists, or screaming down a hill at car speeds and taking jumps off of small cliffs… what are you insane? What if one of my friends saw me wearing a helmet?   

Protect my head? Wow, you’re a real loser man. Hey everyone, come look at the loser!

So here we are 1/10th of the way into the 21st century, and the paradigm has begun to shift.  I pose this question to you:

Are you a helmet wearer, or non-helmet wearer?  Why?

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Except for the real-life Scrooge’s out there, everyone loves Christmas.  Whether the religious background, the gifting giving/getting, time off work, family visits, or whatever, we all get wrapped up (pun) in the holidays somehow.  The whole Santa Claus thing is great fun, but have you ever stopped to consider what adults may be doing to children, psychologically, by lying to kids about a magical being that rewards them for being good at certain points in the year? 

Between Santa and the Easter bunny, we’ve created a whole folklore of deception around these  made up holiday icons; and then as the holders of kids’ established trust, we go and straight up lie to them to make them behave better.  The Easter Bunny’s pretty cut and dry; just the bunny hopping around with a basket of eggs.  But Santa’s got a home at the north pole, a workshop, wife, transportation, method of delivery, you can write letters to him and have “him” write back, “he” comes to the mall and you can sit on his lap and ask him for stuff (the good ones even have real beards), and even the local weatherman will report on the location of Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve as the Doppler radar “picks it up”.  Movies, TV, and other media outlets all present supporting evidence for kids teetering on non-belief like, “of course Santa is real” or Santa himself saying that he can’t fly his sleigh because not enough people are believing in him these days.  I don’t blame kids who believe in them way longer than they should. 

Look, don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun and kids love it.  But isn’t it just at least ironic that as adults of all denominations (moms, dads, uncles, aunts, older siblings, etc) work so hard to establish characters of these kids, we, the most trusted figures in the childhood, go and betray that trust so very early in their lives, for such a long period of time?  With the stigma attached to the stereotypical “rebellious teenager” who hates their parents, is it possible that some of their issues have something to do with broken trust?

I’m not saying shut down the whole Santa thing, but maybe there’s a better way to present the notion.  Ideas?

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The whole PC holiday greetings are getting a little out of hand, aren’t they?  Stores are actually banning their employees from saying Merry Christmas to customers; fearing offense and public backlash, leading to a drop in sales.  I grew up in Western culture, with North American institutions, celebrating Christmas, so Merry Christmas is natural to me.  Though the true meaning of Christmas is centered in Jesus Christ, you don’t necessarily have to be a Christian to say it.  I have no problem wishing someone a Happy Chanukah, Kwanza, or whatever they may be celebrate if I’m aware of it.  Quite frankly, I just don’t know/haven’t met anyone who celebrates those other holidays.  I’m sure they’re very nice people.  So am I supposed to only wish “Happy Holidays” as a blanket term in hopes of not offending people? 

Here are my questions to you.  What holiday do you celebrate over winter vacation?  What greeting do you prefer to say to others, and what would you prefer people to say to you?  Does someone saying “Merry Christmas” to you, actually offend you?

Merry Christmas / Happy (your winter occasion here)  everyone!

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