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General Discussion => General (Off-Topic) Discussion => Topic started by: Variety of Cells on December 11, 2006, 01:10:49 AM

Title: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 11, 2006, 01:10:49 AM
I could be considered a Scrooge

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

EDIT:  I'm not really a Scrooge.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Sharktopus on December 11, 2006, 01:17:12 AM
I could be considered Scrooge. 

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

My girlfriend keeps calling me a Grinch, so I'm probably not the best person to argue on the Christmas season's behalf, but I'd imagine that, like so many things, you can only get out of it what you put in.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 11, 2006, 01:23:15 AM
I could be considered Scrooge. 

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

My girlfriend keeps calling me a Grinch, so I'm probably not the best person to argue on the Christmas season's behalf, but I'd imagine that, like so many things, you can only get out of it what you put in.

I'm sorry, but your argument does not compute.  Please, rephrase your argument, or prepare to be rebutted.

I hate that argument more than I hate Christmas.  If something only works because you want it to work then it's no better than a placebo.  If you have to be cheerful and give gifts and go to Christmas parties then of course you are going to feel the "magic" of Christmas because you have so much invested in it.  Giving gifts any other time of the year will make you feel the same way.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Pak-Man on December 11, 2006, 01:26:06 AM
Well I dunno about miracles and what-not, but I do feel a cozy, warm, sparkly kind of feeling of well-being around this time of year. But I'm a bit of a sap that way. :^)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: mrbasehart on December 11, 2006, 05:19:54 AM
Well I dunno about miracles and what-not, but I do feel a cozy, warm, sparkly kind of feeling of well-being around this time of year. But I'm a bit of a sap that way. :^)

Shame-facedly, so do I.   ;D
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Teaflax on December 11, 2006, 07:02:14 AM
If something only works because you want it to work then it's no better than a placebo.

Placebos make the world go around.

Attitude is 50% of everything.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: AmandaGal on December 11, 2006, 07:30:15 AM
The placebo effect is a known phenomenon.  People can change based on attitude alone.  People have been healed based on thinking something worked alone.  Treatments sometimes fail in people because they were convinced it wasn't going to work from the get go too.

Your mind is a powerful thing.  Sometimes when you force yourself to pretend to have fun and like people you actually end up doing it for real.  I really do think that's part of the Christmas spirit.  People force themselves to have holiday cheer and they really end up having it.  No one would do half of this stuff if we weren't forced to every year.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Shinigami on December 11, 2006, 07:40:24 AM
The placebo effect is a known phenomenon.  People can change based on attitude alone.  People have been healed based on thinking something worked alone.  I've seen treatments fail in people because they were convinced it wasn't going to work from the get go too.

Your mind is a powerful thing.  Sometimes when you force yourself to pretend to have fun and like people you actually end up doing it for real.  I really do think that's part of the Christmas spirit.  People force themselves to have holiday cheer and they really end up having it.  No one would do half of this stuff if we weren't forced to every year.

You're forgetting childhood nostalgia, however.  Traditions have a huge impact when you're little.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 11, 2006, 10:39:26 AM
If it is just a placebo effect, and it's not confined to only Christmas, then wouldn't it be more beneficial to open everyone's eyes and tell them that Christmas is such a cool time of year because you want it to be such a cool time of year, and there's nothing stopping you from making the whole year a cool time of year?
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Teaflax on December 11, 2006, 01:30:51 PM
If it is just a placebo effect, and it's not confined to only Christmas, then wouldn't it be more beneficial to open everyone's eyes and tell them that Christmas is such a cool time of year because you want it to be such a cool time of year, and there's nothing stopping you from making the whole year a cool time of year?

You have learned much, young grashopper.

Let Yule come every day.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Pak-Man on December 11, 2006, 03:51:37 PM
Except that it's not JUST the knowledge that it's Christmas. There's a lot of tactile things that trigger the Christmas Spirit (If you will.) The taste of a candy cane, the smell of a pine tree, the sight of a tree with lights on it, the sound of the music on the radio. It's hard to feel it without all those things going on to create just the right mood, and if we tried to keep that going year round, it would get kinda boring and tacky. :^) It's the chronological equivalent of, "Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't wanna live there."
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: J-Proof on December 11, 2006, 04:13:46 PM
I could be considered a Scrooge. 

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

Depends on why you celebrate it =)

Do you celebrate "annual gift-giving day"? Or do you celebrate the birth of Jesus? Or perhaps the miracle of Hannukah?

Cuz if you /just/ celebrate the potential "I might get something awesome today" commercial side of things, you may not experience very much "magic" beyond the age of ten or so ;)

....I sound like Linus don't I? *sucks on thumb and holds blanket close*
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Tyrant on December 11, 2006, 05:17:45 PM
I could be considered a Scrooge. 

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

Depends on why you celebrate it =)

Do you celebrate "annual gift-giving day"? Or do you celebrate the birth of Jesus? Or perhaps the miracle of Hannukah?

Cuz if you /just/ celebrate the potential "I might get something awesome today" commercial side of things, you may not experience very much "magic" beyond the age of ten or so ;)

....I sound like Linus don't I? *sucks on thumb and holds blanket close*

   Couldn't agree more, J-Proof. It goes beyond the gift giving and any of the tactile, material elements. It even goes beyond whether you've got your family around or not. It boils down to how you celebrate it internally.

    To be completely sappy, I suggest to whomever is reading this thread to find a copy of "A Christmas Carol" and to read it if they've never read it before. My favorite quote is when Scrooge faces the Spirit of Christmas Future and sees his name on the gravestone.

Scrooge pleads,"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.".

   I think that says it all.

   

   
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 11, 2006, 05:55:34 PM
I could be considered a Scrooge. 

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

Depends on why you celebrate it =)

Do you celebrate "annual gift-giving day"? Or do you celebrate the birth of Jesus? Or perhaps the miracle of Hannukah?

Cuz if you /just/ celebrate the potential "I might get something awesome today" commercial side of things, you may not experience very much "magic" beyond the age of ten or so ;)

....I sound like Linus don't I? *sucks on thumb and holds blanket close*

   Couldn't agree more, J-Proof. It goes beyond the gift giving and any of the tactile, material elements. It even goes beyond whether you've got your family around or not. It boils down to how you celebrate it internally.

    To be completely sappy, I suggest to whomever is reading this thread to find a copy of "A Christmas Carol" and to read it if they've never read it before. My favorite quote is when Scrooge faces the Spirit of Christmas Future and sees his name on the gravestone.

Scrooge pleads,"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.".

   I think that says it all.
   

Alright, I can't argue with the birth of Jesus argument, or Hannukah.  If you truly believe that, then there's nothing wrong with remembering an important event, which might cause this time of year to feel a little magical.

In which case, the magic of Christmas would only apply to people who believe in those events.  I do like what Pak had to say about all tactile things that are different around Christmas time.  But it's still sad that people can only experience the lesson of Christmas once a year. 

Which brings me to Tyrant's argument.  That's a nice quote you've quoted, but I would appreciate it if you would explain what the lessons are that they teach.  I've heard the story quite a few times, but the message always seems muddied and unclear (besides the obvious 'don't be stingy').  People talk often of the message of Christmas, but I have never heard it clearly defined. 

Right now, I am forced to make the conclusion that Christmas or Hannukah is magical only for those who believe in the religious events behind them, especially if the main point is how you personally celebrate it.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: AmandaGal on December 11, 2006, 06:50:06 PM
I don't think it's "humanly" possible to do Christmas every day.  It's a nice theory though.  The point of Christmas is that there is hope and that you can be forgiven.  That even though you've done crappy things and your boss is a jerk, a piece of mistletoe and a merry Christmas can bring us together.  That is what the birth of Christ gives.  If you're truly sorry, you can be forgiven.  You can start over again.  I think even if you don't believe in Christ, you can still take that message home from the spirit.  There's hope for mankind.  We all get second chances.  The new year can be better and Dec. 25th is a great time to make amends inside your heart for it.  I'm not Christian and I still feel it.

Granted, you could possibly do that all year long but it's hard to be human.  It's hard to resist being a jerk sometimes.  It's nice to have a day set aside for us all to reflect and us all to be warm to each other and us all to think about "Christmas spirit".  It's nice to have the holly and the trees and the pretty ornaments to remind us that life is all about hope and to reach out to each other.  We shouldn't need that, but we are all human and it's hard for us to be good all the time.  It's hard for us to remember things like that as we're busy getting here and there and climbing corporate ladders and everything else we silly humans think is so important.  It's nice to have those symbols.  It's nice to have an excuse to be kind.

People are nicer to each other at Christmastime, be it for some imagined reason or because there really is a "spirit" there.  I agree that it's too commercial and you don't want to shop on Black Friday or all visions of hope and goodness will be pushed out of your mind.  On the other hand, I think overall, people are kinder and more giving around this time of year, despite the stress and time crunch...but don't go to the malls to confirm that  ;)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 11, 2006, 09:12:56 PM
I don't think it's "humanly" possible to do Christmas every day.  It's a nice theory though.  The point of Christmas is that there is hope and that you can be forgiven.  That even though you've done crappy things and your boss is a jerk, a piece of mistletoe and a merry Christmas can bring us together.  That is what the birth of Christ gives.  If you're truly sorry, you can be forgiven.  You can start over again.  I think even if you don't believe in Christ, you can still take that message home from the spirit.  There's hope for mankind.  We all get second chances.  The new year can be better and Dec. 25th is a great time to make amends inside your heart for it.  I'm not Christian and I still feel it.

Granted, you could possibly do that all year long but it's hard to be human.  It's hard to resist being a jerk sometimes.  It's nice to have a day set aside for us all to reflect and us all to be warm to each other and us all to think about "Christmas spirit".  It's nice to have the holly and the trees and the pretty ornaments to remind us that life is all about hope and to reach out to each other.  We shouldn't need that, but we are all human and it's hard for us to be good all the time.  It's hard for us to remember things like that as we're busy getting here and there and climbing corporate ladders and everything else we silly humans think is so important.  It's nice to have those symbols.  It's nice to have an excuse to be kind.

People are nicer to each other at Christmastime, be it for some imagined reason or because there really is a "spirit" there.  I agree that it's too commercial and you don't want to shop on Black Friday or all visions of hope and goodness will be pushed out of your mind.  On the other hand, I think overall, people are kinder and more giving around this time of year, despite the stress and time crunch...but don't go to the malls to confirm that  ;)

I want to thank you for chiming in.  People say arguing on the internet is useless, but when you meet the right people I think it can be very beneficial.

You presented a great piece AmandaGal.  But I disagree with you on a fundamental point.  I do not believe it is human nature to be greedy and generally nasty to other people.  I believe that is a product of our particular way of life.  I agree that for some one living in our society it is very tough not to be, but it is not 'human'. 

I can see now, that for our way of life, Christmas is very necessary.  Without it, things might be much worse.  Though at the same time, I do not embrace our way of life, and I do not agree with believing that 'you will be forgiven if you ask for forgiveness".  That lets you continue the way you live instead of seeking some sort of change, and a life style that doesn't breed greed and insensitivity.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Sharktopus on December 11, 2006, 11:24:46 PM
Speaking as a person who's pretty much abandoned organized religion, the "Christmas season" has virtually nothing to do with the birth Jesus, or a lamp that miraculously stays lit, for that matter. It's about people being nice to each other for a few weeks out of the year for a change, which is pretty much exactly what Jesus wanted us to do. If you need a spiritual reason to do that, that's fine, but it's not really a religious thing. The decorations and lights, the giving of gifts and sending of cards, the playing of music and singing of songs are just ways to remind us that we should be friendly and cheerful. If you can't find something about the holiday season to enjoy, then you're hopeless and getting a stocking full of reindeer doo from Santa. You deserve worse, but Santa embodies the holiday spirit and just can't bring himself to any worse. [/schmaltz]
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 12, 2006, 12:29:54 AM
Speaking as a person who's pretty much abandoned organized religion, the "Christmas season" has virtually nothing to do with the birth Jesus, or a lamp that miraculously stays lit, for that matter. It's about people being nice to each other for a few weeks out of the year for a change, which is pretty much exactly what Jesus wanted us to do. If you need a spiritual reason to do that, that's fine, but it's not really a religious thing. The decorations and lights, the giving of gifts and sending of cards, the playing of music and singing of songs are just ways to remind us that we should be friendly and cheerful. If you can't find something about the holiday season to enjoy, then you're hopeless and getting a stocking full of reindeer doo from Santa. You deserve worse, but Santa embodies the holiday spirit and just can't bring himself to any worse. [/schmaltz]

Be nice once a year and you get a present.  If you don't like it, then you get something unpleasant.  That's what I have distilled from your statement.

It is a problem that people aren't nice to each other for most of the year.  But why embrace the Christmas scapegoat?  Christmas doesn't make everything all better.  Being nice once a year isn't enough.  It's better than nothing, that's for sure.  But I will not accept it as the yearly shower that washes away all the bad things you've done.  Those bad things are still there, you still did them, and you still do them again the next year.  I have no problem with being nice.  I fear I've falsely labeled myself.  In calling myself a scrooge I meant only that I don't participate in Christmas.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Sharktopus on December 12, 2006, 01:35:28 AM
Speaking as a person who's pretty much abandoned organized religion, the "Christmas season" has virtually nothing to do with the birth Jesus, or a lamp that miraculously stays lit, for that matter. It's about people being nice to each other for a few weeks out of the year for a change, which is pretty much exactly what Jesus wanted us to do. If you need a spiritual reason to do that, that's fine, but it's not really a religious thing. The decorations and lights, the giving of gifts and sending of cards, the playing of music and singing of songs are just ways to remind us that we should be friendly and cheerful. If you can't find something about the holiday season to enjoy, then you're hopeless and getting a stocking full of reindeer doo from Santa. You deserve worse, but Santa embodies the holiday spirit and just can't bring himself to any worse. [/schmaltz]

Be nice once a year and you get a present.  If you don't like it, then you get something unpleasant.  That's what I have distilled from your statement.

It is a problem that people aren't nice to each other for most of the year.  But why embrace the Christmas scapegoat?  Christmas doesn't make everything all better.  Being nice once a year isn't enough.  It's better than nothing, that's for sure.  But I will not accept it as the yearly shower that washes away all the bad things you've done.  Those bad things are still there, you still did them, and you still do them again the next year.  I have no problem with being nice.  I fear I've falsely labeled myself.  In calling myself a scrooge I meant only that I don't participate in Christmas.

You're missing my point. You can't go around smiling at strangers (they'll think you're nuts) and giving your loved ones gifts everyday (you'll go broke). And you certainly can't drag a tree inside the house, or drape lights on the shrubbery all year long. If you did, all those things would lose their seasonal charm. Of course we should be nice to each other all the time, but we aren't. And even if we were nice all the time, a special time when we're extra nice can only be a good thing.

You are right about the being nice and getting a present. While the idea of Santa is fun, it's really a terrible idea to put in kids' heads. If you're good, you'll get presents from a magical being with limited resources, and if you're bad you get a lump of coal. If I should ever have kids I'll try my best to teach them that you should be good because it's the right thing to do, not because you'll get a reward.

Sure, Christmas has become overcomercialized, but just giving up on it won't fix things. I won't try to talk you into it, but I will say that you're missing out. As I said originally, you can only get out of the holidays what you put into them, so if you put in nothing, you can only get nothing.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: mrbasehart on December 12, 2006, 05:37:24 AM
...then you're hopeless and getting a stocking full of reindeer doo from Santa. You deserve worse, but Santa embodies the holiday spirit and just can't bring himself to any worse.

Don't knock Reindeer doo-doo, it's a great fertilizer. 
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Shinigami on December 12, 2006, 09:05:16 AM
I've actually heard of several theories that state that many societies have a major Winter holiday to help counteract the depression caused by winter.  So all that yuletide cheer is there to help ease the horrible time that is winter.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 12, 2006, 10:47:03 AM
You all have interesting points.  And I did miss Sharktopus's point about desensitization.  I was never suggesting that we have Christmas all year round, only the message of niceness.  The giving of gifts doesn't mean you have to go out and buy something for some one.  If you have something that you think some one else would like, then give it to them.  But I agree that giving gifts everyday wouldn't be realistic. 

I think I now have a better understanding of Christmas.  I still don't choose to participate because I disagree with what it was founded on (the transportation of Jesus' birthday closer to the winter solstice to attract pagans has always bugged me), but I have no problem with holidays where you take the time to reflect on something important, and teach lessons to children at the same time. 
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: mrbasehart on December 12, 2006, 10:50:42 AM
You all have interesting points.  And I did miss Sharktopus's point about desensitization.  I was never suggesting that we have Christmas all year round, only the message of niceness.  The giving of gifts doesn't mean you have to go out and buy something for some one.  If you have something that you think some one else would like, then give it to them.

I would like all of your money.  Please give it to me.   ;)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Tyrant on December 12, 2006, 11:52:59 AM
I could be considered a Scrooge. 

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

Depends on why you celebrate it =)

Do you celebrate "annual gift-giving day"? Or do you celebrate the birth of Jesus? Or perhaps the miracle of Hannukah?

Cuz if you /just/ celebrate the potential "I might get something awesome today" commercial side of things, you may not experience very much "magic" beyond the age of ten or so ;)

....I sound like Linus don't I? *sucks on thumb and holds blanket close*

   Couldn't agree more, J-Proof. It goes beyond the gift giving and any of the tactile, material elements. It even goes beyond whether you've got your family around or not. It boils down to how you celebrate it internally.

    To be completely sappy, I suggest to whomever is reading this thread to find a copy of "A Christmas Carol" and to read it if they've never read it before. My favorite quote is when Scrooge faces the Spirit of Christmas Future and sees his name on the gravestone.

Scrooge pleads,"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.".

   I think that says it all.
   

Alright, I can't argue with the birth of Jesus argument, or Hannukah.  If you truly believe that, then there's nothing wrong with remembering an important event, which might cause this time of year to feel a little magical.

In which case, the magic of Christmas would only apply to people who believe in those events.  I do like what Pak had to say about all tactile things that are different around Christmas time.  But it's still sad that people can only experience the lesson of Christmas once a year. 

Which brings me to Tyrant's argument.  That's a nice quote you've quoted, but I would appreciate it if you would explain what the lessons are that they teach.  I've heard the story quite a few times, but the message always seems muddied and unclear (besides the obvious 'don't be stingy').  People talk often of the message of Christmas, but I have never heard it clearly defined. 

Right now, I am forced to make the conclusion that Christmas or Hannukah is magical only for those who believe in the religious events behind them, especially if the main point is how you personally celebrate it.

     Well, I have to appreciate your willingness to figure this out. I think most people go through life without ever second guessing any of our assorted holidays and what they're supposed to mean.

     The "lessons" Scrooge was referring to are pointed out throughout the story, but to sum it up, it all comes down to something very basic: love. Christmas is a lot of things to alot of people (going to J-Proof's comment), but at its fundamental core, it's about love.

     You go to any religion that has a holiday this time of year, or even to the secular crowd, but underneath it all, it's about the love of others, love for yourself, love for your god, love for strangers, love for people you've never met, love for the entire world.

     The message of Christmas is to, for one day out of the year, act on this love and acknowledge it to yourself and those around you. All the generosity and fellow-feeling you see on the holidays is in response to the one day of the year when everyone can, if they're able, liberate themselves from their social and personal bindings and show this love.

    I hope that helps. Forgive the sap. I just gave myself a cavity typing that.  ;D
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Steve-O on December 12, 2006, 11:56:18 AM
You are, of course, under no obligation to join in the spirit of the season.  But your arguments against Christmas seem to be based on the faulty assumption that most people are heartless, greedy bastards for the other 364 days of the year, and that's simply not true.

There are, of course, those who spend their lives chasing money and status symbols to the detriment of their fellow man.  It's easy to blame that on modern attitudes, but it's not really a new development.  Tales of greedy tyrants (no offense to our own Tyrant intended) and selfish backstabbers are as old as the written word.  There always have been, and always will be, those for whom self-interest is paramount.

But there also hundreds of thousands who put their time and money into volunteer work and charity.  People do each other millions of small kindnesses every hour of every day, for no other reason than that it's the decent thing to do.  Avarice and selfishness, generosity and altruism; these are all parts of human nature.  The trick is deciding which parts of your nature to indulge.  In my experience, a far greater number choose the latter set.

As for Christmas itself: yes, I do believe there's a bit of magic in it.  It doesn't arise from people simply choosing to be nice; rather, it comes from taking time out from our normally hectic schedules to focus on the things in life that are truly important to us, be they family, friends, God, or an all-encompassing love of delicious Hickory Farms beef log.  In so doing, we recognize, at least for a while, that each of us is truly blessed.  The spirit of kindness, the gift-giving, the general air of bonhommie, the willingness to let some asshole cut you off without laying on the horn and flipping him the double bird -- the "magic", if you will -- these are not forced expressions, but natural outgrowths of that understanding.

To cut to the chase, Christmas is about appreciating the love that surrounds you, whether that's a spiritual love or the more earthly variety.  That people do this only once a year is a simple matter of logistics, but it doesn't prevent us from being decent throughout the year, nor does it provide an annual excuse for bad behavior.  Rather, it re-orients us towards what life is really all about, and recharges our batteries to go out and do good -- or at least, try our level best -- until next December rolls along.

Now back to your regularly scheduled nattering about trivialities.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Pak-Man on December 12, 2006, 12:04:23 PM
I think Christmas is more of a string around the finger than one day set aside to act good. When the day grows near, it seems to encourage one to reflect on how they've been throughout the year, and it suddenly becomes a bit obvious if you've lost your way somewhere throughout the year. Christmas is a reminder that we need to love our fellow man (A fact that can be easy to forget, given the right situation) more than it's the only day we're supposed to love our fellow man.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Steve-O on December 12, 2006, 12:14:03 PM
And furthermore: God bless us, every one!

Yeah, I said it.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: AmandaGal on December 12, 2006, 12:23:37 PM
Quote
I think Christmas is more of a string around the finger than one day set aside to act good.

Well said.  I was sort of trying to say that but I guess maybe it came out wrong.  I wasn't saying that people can be jerks all year and then have Christmas and it's all good.  However, when we're busy with our lives, sometimes we do need a kick in the pants to remember that there is more to life than our daily routine. It's nice to have a time of year set aside to remember that, reflect on it and think about what we've done or haven't done over the past year to experience that "more to life." 

What I was trying to say about forgiveness is that it's not too late and Christmas again reminds us of that.  You can change yourself and start over (look at Scrooge :-).  You can do that anytime, true, but we silly humanoids need reminders of this.  Sometimes we don't even realize we're being jerks without some time to think about it and who has time with life as it is?

While it's silly to think that people actually change because of Christmas, I think sometimes, by this time of year, Christmas can pick you up and remind you that life is about more than we normally think about.  I don't know if Christmas really changes anyone but people generally have good intentions to change around this time of the year.

And I consider myself pagan (I'm guessing maybe you[variety] too?) and I have no problem with Christmas being where it is.  I have lots of reasons for that and most are similar to my response when friends invite me to church or tell me that I need to be saved.  I won't go into them here.  It's just a date and the perfect time of year for the birth of Christ and what it symbolizes.  If you think about it, both of the "mythologies" are similar, aren't they? Same with Easter...it's funny how these things mirror each other, ain't it?    ;)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: gammer on December 12, 2006, 12:28:25 PM
C'mon, we *all* know that Christmas is just an excuse to over-eat and drink lots of BOOZE!

Just joking... "Maybe Christmas" he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...Perhaps...means a little bit more!" (said in a Boris Karloff voice)

(http://ginacobb.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/grinch_loves_xmas.gif)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: AmandaGal on December 12, 2006, 12:37:07 PM
I know, these posts are making me think I should change my name to Cyndi Lou Who and start singing "Where Are You Christmas?"  I need to get off the warm and sappy mode and get back into bitchy and sarcastic.

I actually dressed up as the Grinch for the zoo last year and made little kids cry (I don't think that was the zoo's intent and I surely didn't try, but they cried anyway).  You know, I think that's the true meaning of Christmas: making little kids cry, bwhahaha.  That's better :-)

[And I'll never wear a "fat suit" again, that was torture..plus the Grinch fingers weren't that fun either. Maybe making people look stupid is the true meaning of Christmas]

Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: MoralThreat on December 12, 2006, 01:05:13 PM
It doesn't really feel like Christmas time to me until I break out the mistletoe belt.   ;D
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 12, 2006, 03:44:00 PM
Love.  That's a good one.  Taking time to recognize the love around you.  Even I can get into that.  Thank you Steve-O.

And thank you all for helping me find what Christmas should be about.  As for if that's what it is really about, or if that's what other people think it's about, I'm not so sure. But that's what I'm going to make it be for me and my future family.  I'm still not going to call it Christmas, I'll think of another name.  But it's convenient to have holidays when you have time off, so I'll probably keep it around the same day.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Steve-O on December 12, 2006, 04:28:51 PM
Love.  That's a good one.  Taking time to recognize the love around you.  Even I can get into that.  Thank you Steve-O.

Hey, happy to help.

Of course, there's always Linus' explanation:

http://www.youtube.com/v/6pHVtaS0jHo
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Sharktopus on December 13, 2006, 04:31:02 AM
I've actually heard of several theories that state that many societies have a major Winter holiday to help counteract the depression caused by winter.  So all that yuletide cheer is there to help ease the horrible time that is winter.

It's not a theory. Virtually every society that has winter (i.e. non-equatorial) has some sort of solstice celebration. Jesus' birthday being so close to the winter solstice is no coincidence. Neither is the timing of Hanukkah or Ramadan. Back before the days of electric light and heated homes, (and before we started messing up the atmosphere) this would be the darkest, coldest, dead of winter. The solstice celebration brought everyone in the community together to share warmth, food, and perhaps most importantly, to stave off cabin fever. In modern America that purpose has been lost, or at least greatly diminished. In fact, you could argue that Valentine's day has taken its place, as mid February is now the dead of winter for much of the United States. That's the basic origin of "Christmas," dated way back before Christ was born.

If I may make a suggestion, Variety, don't call yourself a "scrooge." Besides not celebrating Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge was an all-around heartless miser who had no love for his fellow man. I don't know you, but I doubt you'd qualify as a scrooge. Maybe a grinch, but not a scrooge.  ;)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 13, 2006, 11:08:34 AM
Yes, I agree that it was a poor choice of a title.  Though technically if you call some one a scrooge it should mean some one who used to be stingy but is now a changed man.  And I'm not a grinch, I don't want to take Christmas away from other people.  I'm not sure what I am, maybe crotchety, skeptical. I am a fan of the word 'humbug' however. 

And my beef with them moving Christmas to the winter is because they did it purposefully to convert pagans who had their celebration at that time.  That's the same time they adopted the Christmas tree as well, also to convert pagans.  For Christians I'm sure it's not terribly important what day they celebrate Christmas on just as long as they celebrate it, and they would argue that it doesn't matter if it's not his real birthday, it's the thought that counts.  But that doesn't mean it's ok to be deceitful in your attempts to destroy other people's beliefs. 
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Pak-Man on December 13, 2006, 11:15:54 AM
Moving Christmas to a more Equinoxy date wasn't an act of deception. It was more of a concession. It was the Christians telling the Pagans, "You know, you can still celebrate the way you always have AND celebrate God at the same time!"

Believe me there are MUCH more shameful ways we Christians have imposed our religion throughout history. :^)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: J-Proof on December 13, 2006, 12:58:18 PM
Moving Christmas to a more Equinoxy date wasn't an act of deception. It was more of a concession. It was the Christians telling the Pagans, "You know, you can still celebrate the way you always have AND celebrate God at the same time!"

Believe me there are MUCH more shameful ways we Christians have imposed our religion throughout history. :^)

Speaking of which - go watch Apocalypto!!
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: AmandaGal on December 17, 2006, 04:52:13 PM
Quote
Moving Christmas to a more Equinoxy date wasn't an act of deception. It was more of a concession.

Very well said. I believe that if Christians believe what they believe (hmm),  trying to convert as many Pagans to their beliefs as possible is what they have to do.  It's the only loving thing they can do within their belief structure.  That being said, it's one thing to lovingly show someone the good of your religion and invite them in and a whole other to force it on someone.  To me, making up the date isn't "forcing" anyone to convert but making it easier and making it more attractive to Pagans. 

It's not like they killed anyone or there was any blood shed. Christians would never do that in the name of relig...oh wait a second.  Damn.  What was my point? :-)

Anyway, OT & ime (and this is the reason I seldom admit to having any religion at all) modern Pagans are generally very anti-Christian and generally equally as non-tolerant of religion as anyone else (notice I said generally). Someone invites them to church and they go into a tirade about it.  It gives us a bad name and makes it look like all Pagans hate Christians.  I wish the entire human race would lighten up.  I'll go to church.  I've gone to church with boyfriends and friends, etc.  It's not like the preacher jumps on your chest and screams, "CAST OUT SATAN YE PAGAN HEATHEN!!" while smothering you with frankincense.  It's kind of sweet when someone wants to share something so intimate with you without shoving it down your throat.  It's kind of sweet that someone doesn't want you to burn in hell, lol.  Granted, some shove it down your throat and I have a few people who won't even speak to me once they find I'm not Christian (they don't even know I *am* Pagan) but I live in the Bible belt and consider it their loss anyway.  I have gone to some churches and talked to minister who more or less told me I was going straight to hell but I've gone to some where the minister was actually intelligent and eloquent and nice to talk to.

Christmas isn't really about religion anymore anyway.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 17, 2006, 06:02:22 PM
To address the argument that changing the birth day of Jesus didn't kill any one, and therefore it's ok, I don't agree.  By robbing a culture of their religion, calling it wrong and condemning those who believe it to hell, you destroy a culture.  They are left without a purpose and become a shadow of who they were.  It kills a people when you take their religion from them, because unlike us, they had no separation of church and state.  Their church was their state.  They knew who they were and they knew their place in the world.  When you take that from them, you kill them.  And I'm sorry, but even if you did it to try and save their souls, your actions do not justify your means.  Just because you are acting on your beliefs and out of love does not mean your actions are for the good of those people.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: AmandaGal on December 17, 2006, 06:22:11 PM
Quote
Just because you are acting on your beliefs and out of love does not mean your actions are for the good of those people.

I didn't say it was for the good of the people, necessarily.  However, I'm sure most Christians think it is. 

I just think that if I thought for sure my best friend/neighbor/loved one was doomed for all eternity, I'd try my best to save them.  If I knew in my heart that they were going to suffer forever because of the choices they were making, I would try to convince them to stop.  Like if someone you loved was strung out on crack, they'd be convinced it was the best thing ever but you know it's not.  Wouldn't you try to stop them?  I would and I have...doesn't help.  However, I'm not going to stand by and say, "eh, if they think it's going to help, let the smoke crack."

Not that I'm saying Paganism is like crack but if you really believe in Jesus Christ and you really believe He is the Saviour, then everyone else is wrong and oops, that's a big mistake to make.  Hell ain't supposed to be fun. That's why I can understand why I've had a friend cry for me when she found out I didn't believe in Him.  That's why I can understand why people try to push their religion on me when all I want is "freedom."  Do I think they're right? No.  Of course not.  If I thought I was doomed to Hell for all eternity, I'd be saying some "Hail Marys" and going to confession but I can understand why they think I am.

The wars, the people who were killed for Christ, those were clearly wrong and clearly not even in line with the religion they were said to represent.  Changing a date?  I think that was to bring more people into the "flock."  To give people a chance to have some of the traditions they've come to know and yet still be Christians.  That's probably one of the nicest ways Christianity has tried to covet Pagans. :)

Granted, I know many Pagans who didn't convert have been killed throughout the years.  How many missionaries have bribed people with food to get them to convert (not all missionaries are bad, one of my best friends does mission trips quite often).  Religion is often used to hurt people, which is just wrong.  I just don't take offense at this particular instance!

However, feel free to take offense all you want. I was just explaining my view.  :D
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Minnesota on December 17, 2006, 07:17:20 PM
I like Christmas and I wish people could find that happy medium and stop debating it ^^^

anyway its like American Dad said "I need to go somewhere where I can appreciate Christmas" Francine says, "church?" American Dad says, "No I don't want to be bored Francine... the Mall"

My opinion is simple: leave Christmas alone because I like it the way it is
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 17, 2006, 10:12:27 PM
I'm not offended by what you are saying, I'm just explaining my view.

You have a valid point, and I can't turn around and say I disagree with it.  If a Christian truly believes then they owe it to their friends to try and convert them. 

However, I truly believe that even if a missionaries only goal is to help, as long as their form of helping is to have them be more like us, then it is not helping.  Replacing their shortages with our food and our medicine may "save" lives in the short run, but it does not help them as a people.  Similarly, replacing their religion with ours may have saved them from us killing them, but it still kills who they are and who they were.  The way I see it, either by changing the date of Christmas or cold blooded slaughter, you are still killing the people. 
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Minnesota on December 17, 2006, 10:55:59 PM
My opinion is simple: leave Christmas alone because I like it the way it is
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: AmandaGal on December 17, 2006, 11:52:25 PM
Hmm, I'm not too clear on Minnesota's opinion.   ;)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 17, 2006, 11:53:00 PM
My opinion is simple: leave Christmas alone because I like it the way it is

Alright Minnesota, I'll go easy on you, but only because I live in you.

Your sentence's motives are contradicting themselves.  You begin by saying it is your opinion.  Usually, when a sentence begins with that statement, it means that what is to follow is to only be taken as an opinion, and should not be seen as anything but.  The next part of your sentence, however, is demanding that I do as you say.  So why should I do something just because you have an opinion? 

And the part that bothers me is that you think I'm trying to take away your precious Christmas, when earlier in the discussion I had already had my revelation.  I already did my buying and distributing of big fat turkeys.  I'm sorry if you didn't get one. 

Though I don't appreciate you trying to cut off a conversation that doesn't pertain to you.  I would have no problem if you wanted to chime in and give your reasons why it was or why it wasn't a bad thing to move the date of Christmas (which is what me and a few others were currently having a conversation about, not about banning Christmas.  So don't worry, you'll still get your presents), but to come in late and demand that this conversation stop because you have an 'opinion' is ridiculous. 

And to everyone, if this conversation about Christmas appears in any way malicious, then I apologize.  It is meant purely as a discussion of ideas.  I don't expect many to agree with me, but I thought I would put another view point out there.  If I feel strongly about something I will keep talking until I have the last word, unless common ground is met. 
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Minnesota on December 18, 2006, 05:34:03 AM
My opinion is simple: leave Christmas alone because I like it the way it is

Alright Minnesota, I'll go easy on you, but only because I live in you.

pwnd :) Yeah, you can go back to the Christmas discussion now(sorry if I killed it). Anyway, cool a fellow Minnesotan on the board!
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Winterkid on December 18, 2006, 04:06:07 PM
Long time ago, I was dirt poor.  Well, my parents were poor and it just kinda trickled down to me.  Anyway, they would often scrimp and save and borrow and go into debt to get both me and my sister Jeni each one really "GOOD" gift.  One year, I asked them if I could have a Colecovision.  The look in my mom's eyes told me right then and there that they couldnt' afford it.  I reconsidered in a split second and before she even began to speak I told her a lie.  "Uh... I mean Atari, like Darryl has".  Her eyes and facial language told me she might be able to afford that a bit easier, and I didn't get my colecovision, but I got the Atari 2600 for chirstmas.  In that split second, I knew that accepting gifts with happiness, even if you wanted something else is part of christmas, and making others feel good is what christmas is about.

(On a side-note, two years later, I DID get a Colecovision for my birthday, and when I got it home, it started smoking, I took it back, got another one and it burst into flames.  I was NOT meant to have a colecovision console as a child.)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Sharktopus on December 19, 2006, 01:18:14 AM
Long time ago, I was dirt poor.  Well, my parents were poor and it just kinda trickled down to me.  Anyway, they would often scrimp and save and borrow and go into debt to get both me and my sister Jeni each one really "GOOD" gift.  One year, I asked them if I could have a Colecovision.  The look in my mom's eyes told me right then and there that they couldnt' afford it.  I reconsidered in a split second and before she even began to speak I told her a lie.  "Uh... I mean Atari, like Darryl has".  Her eyes and facial language told me she might be able to afford that a bit easier, and I didn't get my colecovision, but I got the Atari 2600 for chirstmas.  In that split second, I knew that accepting gifts with happiness, even if you wanted something else is part of christmas, and making others feel good is what christmas is about.

(On a side-note, two years later, I DID get a Colecovision for my birthday, and when I got it home, it started smoking, I took it back, got another one and it burst into flames.  I was NOT meant to have a colecovision console as a child.)

That's a lovely story. I especially enjoyed the exploding Colecovision.  ;)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: DoctorZ on December 19, 2006, 07:04:04 AM
I don't think the Christian Churches have ever been really all that comfortable with the concept of Christmas.  The date was chosen, as many here have already said, to try to circumvent and absorb a pagan feast that would not be suppressed no matter how hard they tried.  Face it, winter sucks in the far northern latitudes (and the far southern ones for that matter) .  It's dark, dreary and depressing most of December (or July for our Australian and the like friends) so a festival during this time of year is important to keep peoples spirits up.  The Christian churches would rather have Easter as a major celebration, but nailing up and killing Jesus for 3 days, (and it's your fault!) isn't as pleasent as a new born baby, so there.  Every attempt by Calvinist haters of Christmas has met with failure, so just give up and be happy for a few days.  Where's the harm?
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Winterkid on December 19, 2006, 09:26:03 AM
Long time ago, I was dirt poor.  Well, my parents were poor and it just kinda trickled down to me.  Anyway, they would often scrimp and save and borrow and go into debt to get both me and my sister Jeni each one really "GOOD" gift.  One year, I asked them if I could have a Colecovision.  The look in my mom's eyes told me right then and there that they couldnt' afford it.  I reconsidered in a split second and before she even began to speak I told her a lie.  "Uh... I mean Atari, like Darryl has".  Her eyes and facial language told me she might be able to afford that a bit easier, and I didn't get my colecovision, but I got the Atari 2600 for chirstmas.  In that split second, I knew that accepting gifts with happiness, even if you wanted something else is part of christmas, and making others feel good is what christmas is about.

(On a side-note, two years later, I DID get a Colecovision for my birthday, and when I got it home, it started smoking, I took it back, got another one and it burst into flames.  I was NOT meant to have a colecovision console as a child.)

That's a lovely story. I especially enjoyed the exploding Colecovision.  ;)

Yeah, but I only had to wait another 15 years for emulation to catch up.  Not to mention that liek 7 or 8 years after my story, I got a Nintendo.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Steve-O on December 19, 2006, 01:47:24 PM
Yeah, but I only had to wait another 15 years for emulation to catch up.  Not to mention that liek 7 or 8 years after my story, I got a Nintendo.

Better yet, you never had to put up with that unbelievably ridiculous disc-on-a-stick controller.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Winterkid on December 19, 2006, 08:17:46 PM
I'd have put up with it for Ladybug, Roc'n'Rope, a much better Donkey Kong, Turbo (Steering wheel anyone?) and a whole lot more.

I plan to buy my mom and dad something nice this christmas.   Probably DVD's.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: davo on December 20, 2006, 11:20:11 PM
I could be considered a Scrooge. 

The only Christmas magic I've seen is in movies.

So tell me, have you experienced Christmas magic?  Is it really a magical time of year like all these songs keep insisting it is?

Depends on why you celebrate it =)

Do you celebrate "annual gift-giving day"? Or do you celebrate the birth of Jesus? Or perhaps the miracle of Hannukah?

Cuz if you /just/ celebrate the potential "I might get something awesome today" commercial side of things, you may not experience very much "magic" beyond the age of ten or so ;)

....I sound like Linus don't I? *sucks on thumb and holds blanket close*

   Couldn't agree more, J-Proof. It goes beyond the gift giving and any of the tactile, material elements. It even goes beyond whether you've got your family around or not. It boils down to how you celebrate it internally.

    To be completely sappy, I suggest to whomever is reading this thread to find a copy of "A Christmas Carol" and to read it if they've never read it before. My favorite quote is when Scrooge faces the Spirit of Christmas Future and sees his name on the gravestone.

Scrooge pleads,"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.".

   I think that says it all.

   

   

x2.  when i think about the giving aspect of it, i get a warm & fuzzy. and as a christian i can say that meditating on the birth of Jesus & hearing those beautiful christmas carols fill me with wonder and awe.   :)
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Steve-O on December 21, 2006, 12:54:28 AM
Was that anything like the Intellivision controller?

Sort of.  Basically, it was what the Intellivision controller would look like if the little disc part popped a boner.  So instead of controlling the game with your thumb, you had to try to eke precision control out of this stiff, inch-high joystick; a difficult proposition in any case, but doubly so when it's topped with a quarter-inch thick disc with a greater diameter than the height of the stick.

I realize I'm not explaining this very lucidly.  Suffice it to say, the Colecovision controller was poo poo.

I concur with your assessment of the Intellivision's relative ass-kickingness, though; especially Bay Seventain Baaalllmer.  Great stuff.
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Variety of Cells on December 21, 2006, 11:16:53 AM
EDIT:  Huh, it seemed to have worked...
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Steve-O on December 21, 2006, 11:51:49 AM
(http://www.vidgame.net/COLECO/Coleco/Colecovision/cv_sacont2.jpg)

Is this it?  Yes?  No?

Yes.  It looks just like that little white square with the red x in it.
;D
Title: Re: The magic of Christmas
Post by: Sharktopus on December 22, 2006, 05:15:20 AM
(http://www.vidgame.net/COLECO/Coleco/Colecovision/cv_sacont2.jpg)

Is this it?  Yes?  No?

Yes.  It looks just like that little white square with the red x in it.
;D

Curse that Red X!
(http://www.headinjurytheater.com/mask%20red%20x.jpg)