For those of you that have not noticed, Christmas is in full marketing coverage and has been since the Halloween decorations and costumes hit the sales isle the day after that holiday. As a child, there was a ritualistic sequence of holidays in the fall that culminated on the biggest of all, Christmas. Wall Street marketing strategy has changed all this. Other than a few paper plates with turkeys and fall colors embellishing these plates, Thanksgiving has turned into a non- event as the consumer is hurtled into Christmas as early as October. Thanksgiving has recently become the official launch of Christmas as stores opened at mid-night of the holiday. Even this is being changed as store employees will be manning check outs and aisles instead of being at home with their families as early Christmas sales will begin on Thanksgiving day and evening.
Christmas is very important to the financial success of many retail businesses. This holiday means the difference of remaining in business or closing the doors. Marketing strategy is extremely important and the more customers that come through the store’s doors the higher the probability that the store will become financially successful. Such is the world of Capitalism. The only problem is that this is built upon America’s most revered religious holiday.
When I was a child I heard that the spirit of Christmas, the true meaning of Christmas was lost. While to many purist of the time that was probably the feeling; today this is truly what is happening. Fifty years ago Santa Clause was everywhere. This image of Christmas was mixed with images of Mary and Joseph on Christmas cards while nativity scenes were on every courthouse square. Today it is “politically correct” to dispense with the nativity and forget the Christmas plays in our schools. Unfortunately, this is not only a religious holiday but is in essence a fiber that has been woven into the culture of our country. While the argument of separation of church and state may be an argument in our courts, it is not a viable argument in the norms and traditions of our great nation.
But where did our holiday of holidays come from, historically. The birth of Jesus was first recorded in two Gospels of the Bible. The term Christmas is derived from an old English term originated in 1038. The term was Christ Mass and celebrates the birth of Jesus. While the year of Jesus’s birth has been historically documented, the month and day are not historically known. The Western Christian Church identifies December 25th as the date to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the Eastern Christian Church’s date is January 6th. The American Apostolic Church currently recognize Christmas on the 6th. The physical date of December 25th has been speculated as coming from various sources. Early Christianity places Christmas as a point in time that is nine months from the date identified as the conception of Jesus while other historical events such as a Roman a celebrating the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days and a new beginning.
Other Christmas terms have historically known beginnings. While not a part of Biblical terminology, their origins date back over a thousand years or more. The term “nativity” is Latin, language of ancient Rome, and means “birth” and was used by the Anglo-Saxons of England to celebrate the midwinter feast. “Yule” has it’s beginning in both old English and Norse, Scandinavian, lore. The Viking pagan pageant merged with Christianity about the year 1000. “Noel” was added to the English language in the 14th century from the French language and the original word came again from Latin and means “day of birth”.
So the history of the celebration of Christmas is rooted in many cultures and traditions that surround the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The true date of the birth is inconsequential, however, the celebration and the acknowledgement of this holiday and the tolerance to allow it to go forward unencumbered without political pressure is what is important. For the marketers and businesses that enjoy the wind fall from this holiday, congratulations, enjoy American and world wide Capitalism. For the American people that will be allowed a day off to spend with family and friends and a day of rest; congratulations, enjoy the American Holiday. For those of the Christian religion that celebrate the birth of Jesus; congratulations, do so cloaked in freedoms allowed by the laws of the greatest country to have ever been formed and built in the history of this world.

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