Montreal, December 16, 2007 • No 246




Bradley Doucet is a writer living in Montreal. He has studied philosophy and economics, and is completing a novel on the pursuit of happiness.




by Bradley Doucet

          I have become aware, after much careful thought and a few glasses of yuletide punch, of the urgent need to outlaw Christmas. Now, some of you may be under the impression that Christmas has already been outlawed in all sorts of places, from department stores to city halls. But decisions by private employers to have their staff wish you "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," or decisions by city councils not to put up trees this year, while not insignificant, hardly amount to the kind of action that is required. No, what is required is an all-out, no exceptions, outright ban on the holiday itself – with a fully-funded special Christmas Enforcement Agency (CEA) entrusted with broad discretionary powers of arrest and armed with chimney-cams.


          I know what you're going to say. You like Christmas. You like the eggnog, the presents, the days off. Hey, who doesn't? There's no denying that it's a bright spot to look forward to during the darkest days of the year, falling as it does just after the winter solstice here in the GFN (Great Frozen North). You might be forgiven for asking, "Couldn't we just get rid of Easter instead?"

          Well, we might have to do that too, but for now my focus is on Christmas, and despite the fruitcake we all love so much – despite the stockings hung by the fire with care – I'm afraid it's simply got to go. Christmas has had a good run, but it's high time we all admit it's just not well suited to our hypersensitive times. No, the 21st Century world is no place for a holiday like Christmas. Don't take my word for it, though; just have a gander at the following list of the top ten reasons why we need to outlaw Christmas.

10) Intolerance. It's no secret anymore: the holiday that wishes peace and joy to all mankind is just not inclusive enough. It is clearly disrespectful of the world's other traditions to force their adherents to allow us to celebrate our own tradition. The meagre measures undertaken to date fall far short of what is required. No, my friends, in the spirit of multiculturalism, it has become necessary to suppress our own culture with the full force of the law. There's just no other way. Now, you might think the members of other cultures should tolerate our traditions, but that just goes to show that you are in need of some sensitivity training. Clearly, some people are offended by ornaments and little white lights, and if there's one purpose for which governments are instituted among men, it's to ensure that no one is offended, ever, in any way.

9) Indigestion. Feasting is a big part of Christmas – which is another excellent reason why this holiday must be stopped. Apparently, some people are still unaware that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic, here. Seriously, who among us can resist seconds of turkey dinner? And all those cookies and deserts? Sure, exert a little will power, that's easy for you to say. But some of us need to be saved from ourselves, and if the rest of you are deprived of a little freedom in the process, well, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Christmas is harmful to the waistlines of the weak-willed. No measure can be too extreme when it comes to redressing this wrong.

8) Intemperance. What is true for food goes double for booze. Sure, we all like a little tipple, and no, a drink or two never killed anybody. But prohibition is back, baby, and if you're wondering why, just think of this for a second: It's all fun and games until your Uncle Frank has one too many bottles of beer and starts hitting on your girlfriend by telling her she looks like Jackie O. Was there ever a case that cried out more eloquently for government action?

7) Environmental damage. Christmas is nothing short of an ecological nightmare. All that waste. Wrapping paper doesn't grow on trees, you know. Trees don't grow on trees either. You heard me. And all of those people traveling around the globe to spend a few days with their families? That's a lot of extra CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere. And don't get me started on that pretty fire in the fireplace. It's simple: eliminate Christmas and save the planet… from getting 0.1°C warmer a hundred years from now. It's win-win!

6) The plight of turkeys. If ever there was an unsympathetic animal, it's the turkey. I mean, talk about ugly. It's no coincidence that NGOs feature images of animals like pandas and dolphins and doves in their propaganda. But turkeys have feelings too, you know. And the people who work in abattoirs toil under positively Dickensian conditions. Sure, the abattoir worker chose to work there and can leave his job any time he likes. But I ask you, does that make him any less of a slave? Animal rights activists and unskilled labourers of the world, unite! To abolish Christmas.

5) Those f@%&ing songs. Listen, personally, I like 'em. The beautiful harmonies, the jazzy chord progressions… But it has been brought to my attention that some people, even some good Christians, have been known to fly into murderous rages after extensive exposure to these little ditties. It stands to reason that we must jettison these treacherous tunes, lest the "Christmas carol induced temporary insanity" defence threaten to unravel our entire criminal justice system.

4) TV specials. From Frosty to Rudolph to the Grinch, the problem here is the same: American cultural imperialism. Where's the Canadian content? There are rules about this sort of thing, people, but obviously either they're not tough enough or they're not being properly enforced. Look, I know I said we had to respect other cultures, but I didn't mean American culture; I meant other cultures, as in The Other. You know, stuff we don't understand and don't like. Geez, do I have to explain everything around here?

3) Christ. I'm sorry, but this guy is a terrible role model. Sure, turn the other cheek, he says; what could possibly go wrong there? If there's one thing we've learned from Star Trek, it's that aggressive types (think Klingons) really respect you when you turn the other cheek. Oh, and what about those so-called "miracles"? Talk about encouraging magical thinking. Besides, what does freedom of religion mean if not freedom from religion? Clearly, the government must step in and save us from J.C.'s pernicious influence.

2) Mass. Anyone who has sat through one of these ceremonies knows the truth: bor-ing. It's clear why Christian doctrine had to assert that we are all sinners, because no one would ever suffer through mass if they didn't believe it was part of their penance to avoid eternal damnation. It's also clear why this qualifies as another reason for outlawing Christmas. I mean, if there's one purpose for which governments are instituted among men… What? Okay, if there's a second purpose for which governments are instituted among men, clearly, it's to keep us entertained.

1) Santa Claus. Jesus may have his name built right in to this holiday, but it's been clear for a while now who the real star of the show is. Now, some of you might think lying to children about the existence of some fat guy in a red suit who lives at the North Pole and gives presents to nice little boys and girls is a harmless fiction. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, how are we ever going to get a handle on our obesity problem (see #9 above) when the Santa myth misrepresents being morbidly overweight as not only acceptable but downright jolly? Second, lying to children must surely be included in our ever-expanding definition of child abuse requiring state intervention. And if the lie itself wasn't bad enough, just think about the psychological trauma these kids are going to experience when Santa's home melts into the Arctic Ocean in a few years time (see #7 above). Harmless indeed… And listen, to be quite frank, the government doesn't need any competition in the "hand-outs" department. As the saying goes: "Thou shall worship no other givers of free stuff."

          The message is clear, and the need is urgent. In the name of tolerance, diet, teetotalling, ecology, and all the rest, we must cancel Christmas – forever! Some will protest that the price in terms of civil liberties is too high, but I say, when it comes to ensuring that no one is ever offended (or bored), no price is too high! And if even one turkey is saved by the outlawing of Christmas, it will have been worth it.