While the Fox News Network once again celebrates the season of love, giving and kindness by hosting their annual War on Christmas Parade (as always, on the last float is Jesus with a semi-automatic rifle), the true meaning of Christmas can’t be escaped.
What is most reported about and during the Christmas season? The renewed generosity of spirit? Taking time to appreciate family? New high tech present-opening techniques?
The answer is easy. What has our media dubbed the official start of the Christmas season? It used to be Black Friday but now it’s the day before, Black Thursday or as it used to be known, Thanksgiving. There is something allegorical about Christmas shopping spreading like the Blob, devouring more and more of the calendar, “consuming” other holidays in its path.
And though there are always the occasional stories along the way (though mainly on or near Christmas Eve) about someone showing generosity or compassion in a news-friendly way, the majority of stories we hear about Christmas seem to be press releases from Scrooge, Inc.. Here are a sampling of typical stories about Christmas:
Black Friday sales drop 13 percent, thanks to Thanksgiving Day Shopping
5 Top Safety Tips for Shopping at Malls this Christmas
Stores open for 100 hours to attract shoppers
Bargain-hungry shoppers buy less on weekend before Christmas
If aliens were to monitor the Earth to get an idea of what Christmas was, they might conclude:
“This ritual called Christmas begins with a brutal swarming of human beings in complexes where a vast array of manufactured items are gathered. It occurs on a day called Thanksgiving, named as such potentially because those humans not required to join in the swarming on that day express thankfulness. Thanksgiving Day is followed by an intensified swarming at the same locations that is apparently so terrible, it is referred to as Black Friday.
This swarming and acquisition syndrome primarily spans a four week period and represents the vast majority of time and energy invested in this Christmas ritual. During that swarming, humans anxiously acquire a variety of items, many of questionable intrinsic value, for later distribution to those who share their DNA or those with whom they most often associate with. This ritual culminates on Christmas Day when humans distribute the many goods they have spent so much time and resources to acquire and listen to music and watch movies that describe the ritual as one of spiritual recognition and appreciation of non-material things.
The ritual culminates with further consumption, this time of sleep-inducing chemicals including tryptophan and alcohol which humans process in their bodies while watching competitions between two groups of men suited in protective gear, throwing an object to themselves while hitting each other.”
As mentioned above by the aliens, Americans take breaks from the shopping madness during the Christmas season to watch classic and beloved Christmas movies…that indict the materialism Americans are focused on much of the Christmas season. Capitalism and materialism are roundly hammered by many classic Christmas movies…which today are ironically punctuated on tv by loud commercials urging consumers to buy products.
What’s fascinating is how the theme of Christmas being too commercialized/materialistic used to be a popular view…and how that sensibility has seemed to evaporate over the years.
Consider the themes of the following Christmas films and the dichotomy between loving those films and excitedly abandoning one’s family on Thanksgiving just to get a 10% discount on to buying an iPad Air:
A Charlie Brown Christmas
This wonderful, remarkably thoughtful cartoon is replete with anti-materialist statements including this exchange:
Sally: [dictating her letter to Santa Claus as Charlie Brown writes it for her] Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer? How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.
Charlie Brown: Oh brother.
Sally: Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?
Charlie Brown: TENS AND TWENTIES? Oh, even my baby sister!
Sally: All I want is what I… I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.
And there’s this classic line from Lucy:
Lucy Van Pelt: Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.
Later, among a “forest” of manufactured, artificial trees on a lot, Charlie Brown and Linus find a small, scrawny but real tree. Its needles fall off, it droops and disappoints the kids, it is the antithesis of the buying a materially valuable item. And at the end, it is the kids’ humanity and compassion that decorate the tree and turn it into something beautiful.
Just waiting for Bill O’Reilly to finally discover this theme and launch an Attack on Peanuts!
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
The Grinch’s whole plot is to steal all the material things from Whoville and thus steal Christmas from them:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
“It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.”
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
“What if Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Hey Grinch, that there’s socialist talk!!!
Miracle on 34th Street
The pragmatic, elitist, materialistic daughter of a Macy’s events director, discovers her humanity by embracing faith and love as to what Christmas (and Santa) is about. Meanwhile, modern society literally puts Christmas (in the person of Kris Kringle) on trial as being mentally deranged for not viewing Christmas as a facade and a materialistic, shallow holiday about company profits.
Kris Kringle: You see, Mrs. Walker, this is quite an opportunity for me. For the past 50 years or so I’ve been getting more and more worried about Christmas. Seems we’re all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle.
Then there is this:
Alfred, Macy janitor: Yeah, there’s a lot of bad ‘isms’ floatin’ around this world, but one of the worst is commercialism. Make a buck, make a buck. Even in Brooklyn it’s the same – don’t care what Christmas stands for, just make a buck, make a buck.
Kris Kringle: Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.
Kris’ lawyer had these two statements to offer:
Fred Gailey: Don’t you see? It’s not just Kris that’s on trial, it’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness and joy and love and all the other intangibles.
Fred Gailey: Look Doris, someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.
One can only wonder what kind of trial the corporations and Right Wingers would have for Jesus if he really came back. Probably a deportation trial first for not having a U.S. birth certificate.
A Christmas Story
Throughout the movie, Ralphie has one focus when it comes to Christmas, getting the material thing he wants so badly, the Red Ryder BB gun. He imagines how happy owning this material thing will make him like nothing else could. No matter all the presents he gets, when it seems clear he’s not getting the one thing he wanted most, he can’t enjoy Christmas. When he is surprised and given the thing that he believes represents happiness on Christmas, his first shot caroms off and hurts him. What makes him happy in the end is the comforting, support and love of his parents that the gun (and his injury) represented.
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating about diving with his brother into the gifts under the Christmas tree] We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.
The crass material thing Ralphie’s Dad won in a contest, the lamp shaped like a woman’s leg, drives a wedge between him and Ralphie’s mom, showing the ridiculousness of personal attachment to artificial, material things and how they come between us and what’s most important:
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating, after Mother breaks the Old Man’s Major Award, and he is unsuccessful at repairing it] With as much dignity as he could muster, the Old Man gathered up the sad remains of his shattered major award. Later that night, alone in the backyard, he buried it next to the garage. Now I could never be sure, but I thought that I heard the sound of “Taps” being played, gently.
Towards the end, their whole Christmas dinner has been devoured by the neighbor’s dogs. Left without the material things that represent the heart of Christmas for a family, the food for their dinner, they go out to a Chinese restaurant to eat un-Christmas-like foreign food but it doesn’t matter, they enjoy their Christmas dinner just the same because it isn’t about the food, it is about being together as a family.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Mr. Potter has to be one of the most iconic symbols of capitalism and materialism in film history. He is openly an enemy to the people in his community and displays only contempt towards them. In fact, he’s seeking to take their homes away and force them to have to live in properties he owns so he can get wealthy off of them. He steals, he lies, he plots to destroy his only competition and has nothing resembling a principle to stop him from plundering all around him to satisfy his greed.
George Bailey is the opposite, he spends his whole life giving to others and not enriching himself and becoming wealthy like Potter, putting values first and profits last. Though accidentally handed to him, Potter steals money from George’s Savings and Loan (sound like any Wall Street people we know?) which will destroy George’s Savings and Loan (as it is being audited) as well as his life and allow Potter to seize control of the entire town (a hostile takeover, indeed). George wants to jump off a bridge and commit suicide, not because he’s about to lose his personal assets but because the failing of his savings and loan will destroy the lives of the people in his community as well as his family (he could go to jail).
Humanity vs. capitalism. And what turns the tables and rescues George? Socialism saves the day as all the people George had given so much to at personal sacrifice, come together as a community to voluntarily donate the money George’s savings and loan needed to keep operating…and in turn help and protect everyone else in the community (whether they were among those who contributed money or not).
Only one quote is needed from this film, from the confrontation George has with Potter when Potter is trying to corrupt him into becoming the same kind of mercenary capitalist that he is:
George Bailey: Just a minute… just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was… why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? Why… here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers?
You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!
So few in the 1% will ever be that rich no matter how much money they acquire (I wouldn’t use the term “earn” with the 1% because so few earn what they have).
A Christmas Carol
This is the primal story about greed, materialism and capitalism in conflict with people’s humanity. Scrooge is the embodiment of greed. He forces his employee, Bob Cratchit to work in unpleasant conditions and doesn’t even pay him enough for Cratchit to afford Christmas dinner for his family (well, if you wondered who Walmart’s role model was, wonder no more). Cratchit also doesn’t have the money to get medical care for his hobbled and sickly son, Tiny Tim (Walmart, still looking at you even though tax payers and Obama’s bailed you out on this…too!) and because of that, Tiny Tim is destined to die.
Now Scrooge, show Paul Ryan and Rand Paul how it’s done:
First Collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.
Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?
First Collector: Plenty of prisons.
Ebenezer: And the union workhouses – are they still in operation?
First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.
Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I’m very glad to hear it.
First Collector: I don’t think you quite understand us, sir. A few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth.
First Collector: Because it is at Christmastime that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. Now what can I put you down for?
Ebenezer: Huh! Nothing!
Second Collector: You wish to be anonymous?
Ebenezer: [firmly, but calmly] I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish sir, that is my answer. I help to support the establishments I have named; those who are badly off must go there.
First Collector: Many can’t go there.
Second Collector: And some would rather die.
Then the ghosts come to visit, such as Jacob Marley, his ex-partner:
Jacob Marley: In life, my spirit never rose beyond the limits of our money-changing holes! Now I am doomed to wander without rest or peace, incessant torture and remorse!
Ebenezer: But it was only that you were a good man of business, Jacob!
Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business! And it is at this time of the rolling year that I suffer most!
And Scrooge is taken back to relive the death of Marley:
Ebenezer: [as Marley lies on his death bed] Well, Jacob! Have they seen to you properly? Last rites and such?
Ebenezer: There’s nothing i can do?
[Marley nods again]
Ebenezer: Oh? What, particularly?
Jacob Marley: [rasping] While… there’s still time…
Ebenezer: Time? Time for what?
Jacob Marley: [rasping] Wrong… we were wrong.
Ebenezer: Wrong? Well, we can’t be right all the time , can we? Nobody’s perfect. You mustn’t reproach yourself, Jacob. We’ve been no worse than the next man, or no better if it comes to that.
Jacob Marley: [rasping] Save… yourself.
Ebenezer: Save myself? Save myself from what?
[Marley breathes his last]
[pauses as he realizes Marley is dead]
Unlike our corporate and capitalistic leaders, Scrooge actually had a conscience and humanity buried beneath all of his heartless greed that can be reawakened.
It is interesting but not surprising to see how few films with an anti-materialism theme seem to be made by the corporately-owned studios nowadays (instead we get animated films with cross-marketing and merchandizing). It is also fascinating to think about how all of these anti-materialism Christmas films are so beloved and enjoyed in the midst of the blizzard of materialism that is Christmas in America today.
Perhaps in light of the growing economic disparity in the U.S. and the decline of the standard of living, there may be a growing and receptive audience to more films and political campaigns about humanity trumping greed and wealth, not just on Christmas but in the rest of the 364 days of the year as well.
But Christmas would be a good start.
BTW, AdLib, did you catch the message about the disappointment of workers caught in corporate cost-cutting schemes, towards the end of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (aka A Chevy Chase Christmas)? Brian Doyle Murray (Bill’s brother) plays Clark Griswold’s grouchy boss, Frank Shirley, at the company where Clark works making some sort of synthetic food additives (this is certainly a subject for another day, about America’s over-reliance on, and companies’ profit from, processed chemicals in the nation’s food supply).
Clark is so eager to get his Christmas bonus in the mail after the boss speaks favorably of Clark’s idea for a new food additive, and so certain that he will, that he pays ahead of time for a new swimming pool for the Griswold family compound (yes, another message about the whole “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality of suburban America).
He is heartbroken, of course, and EPIC FREAKS OUT when his “holiday bonus” turns out to be “a one year membership to the Jelly-of-the-Month Club.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, you have to stay tuned for the result of all this. Here’s a hint: it involves Randy Quaid in the most hilarious bit of simple-minded, good-natured, revenge-seeking “Amelia Bedelia” literalism the world has ever known.
Or is it enough just to say… it involves Randy Quaid? 😉
Great treats, AdLib, thank you.
I have always been amazed that the folks behind “It’s a Wonderful Life” weren’t brought up on suspicions of communism. It’s a powerful anti-corporate film indeed. Covering the message with a pastiche of faith and Americanism worked – and is not false to the issue – but MAN is this an indictment of the 1%! Cool movie indeed.
To all at the Planet, a Merry Christmas and the best for the New Year!
An excellent article, AdLib…as per usual. I could not help but do a point by point comparison last night while watching “Scrooge.” You are exactly right..he does personify greed and the worst of capitalism. His meanness, his lack of empathy, his rudeness, his keep your hands out of my pockets, is so GOP. Poor Scrooge…he sure got a scare, didn’t he? But, he changed..he saw the evil of his ways, so to speak. I do not think the GOP will undergo such a transformation. I cannot see people like Sarah Palin growing a heart. I cannot see wild ambition being tamed by the plight of the poor. I cannot see most of those in the GOP even acknowledging those two poor souls “Ignorance” and “Want” existence except as “Takers”… Certainly they would never believe themselves responsible for their position.
I wonder how Charles Dickens would feel to know that more than 150 years have passed and the woes of the poor have not improved much from his day. So sad…
Oh, dear. Did not mean to be so gloomy! So, here goes my predictions for 2014. ObamaCares is going to be a great success as many young people will recognize the importance of signing up…Iran is going to realize the futility of pushing for a bomb…the GOP are going to lose in 2014, particularly in the House…(I know seems impossible..but this is the time for miracles, right?) The NSA is going to see more restrictions to its programming..a more balanced approach… and the President’s approval rating is going to rise.
I wish I had more time to continue, but the Christmas guests are arriving and I must sign off for now.
Peace and Love to all!
Dear PlanetPov friends, MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS. I’m late with a roast, and so many other things, but I think about you all very often.
My kids are home, two kids four dogs and my husband and I: much smaller than past years but still a joy. My hope is to be more present here in the new year. Thoughts are always with you. Take joy
Always a pleasure to see you here, foodchain! Enjoy every minute with the family!
Merry Christmas to you and your family fc, hope you will create some wonderful new memories.
Fred Astaire’s Drunken Dance in Holiday Inn
I have often joked (semi-seriously) that 30% of the US population cheers for Mr. Potter and Mr. Scrooge this time of year, based solely on their apparent activities the rest of the time.
Oh, and BTW, the father in “A Christmas Story” was my dad, without question. From the fighting with the clinkers in the coal furnace to changing spare tires to cursing a blue streak…. my dad. My brothers and I have joked about that ever since that movie came out. And I got a miniature “major prize leg lamp” night light years ago. It is shining in the hallway right now as I type.
Hey PocketWatch, it is amusing but I don’t know if that’s so far fetched. What’s the difference between Mr. Potter and and the Repubs most recent Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney? Mr. Potter didn’t destroy anywhere near as many lives and jobs.
I do love the leg lamp story in the film, I think guys especially know that feeling of how valuable something is that you’ve won…no matter how questionable it might be as a prize in the eyes of others. Hey, I like it because I won it!
My connection to A Christmas Story is that I went to school with a kid who would have been the spitting image of Scut Farkus (the bully) and was a bully (though I don’t recall him bullying me in particular). He had red hair, yellow eyes and yellow teeth just like him, it’s really kind of amazing.
Now…did your dad every take you to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas?
LOL No Chinese food on Christmas. I grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, and I didn’t even see a Chinese restaurant until I was an adult and had moved away. In fact, it was a huge deal when McDonald’s built a store in Wausau 60 miles away. I clearly remember when the football team bus stopped for the first time at this magical place when I was in high school, where burgers were 15 cents. I led a sheltered life!
My folks had a thing they did on Christmas Eve that we laugh at to this day…
My mom would make a simple dinner on Christmas Eve, something easy to make and to clean up for. After dinner, one or the other would say to us kids “Hey, let’s drive around town and look at all the Christmas lights!” The other would claim to be tired from the day’s non-existent activities and would want to stay home.
We’d all pile in the car and spend about an hour driving around neighborhoods looking at all the decorations, and when we got home, the parent that stayed would be ‘asleep’ on the couch, and all the presents would have magically appeared under the tree! Santa had come while they had napped!
My folks were no fools. This little subterfuge saved them from early hours on Christmas day morning, of course, when kids usually awake at dawn and attack their presents. It was all taken care of and done by bedtime on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was for watching TV, playing with and breaking toys, smelling the turkey dinner that would be served while watching football or Christmas movies (why the Wizard of Oz was a Christmas movie I’ve never understood!).
BTW, I was the guy that would get in front of Ralphie and his little brother and kick Scott Farkus’ ass, for no other reason that I was always big for my age and could never stand for bullying if I encountered it. I don’t know why, but I did that all my life.
Happy-Merry to all, and to all a good night!
OMG — my dad ordered TAKEOUT Chinese yesterday and was watching Christmas Story on-demand!
Me, I prefer the Sgt. Al Powell ceremonial Christmas dessert. AKA Hostess Inc.’s signature product of nuclear “yellow cake” goodness, the all-American Twinkie.
RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD! (Talk about “die hard.”)
PocketWatch – my love for The Christmas Movie is that it’s pretty much where I grew up. Although it was filmed in Cleveland, it’s actually from the Chicago area. The school? Mine. The working class neighborhood? Mine. The clothes and presents? Mine (girl versions thereof). The house is different, but otherwise it’s the same. I can’t get enough of it. I do resist the lamp, but otherwise… We did have a coal storage unit in the basement, but before my folks bought our place they lucked out and got hooked to the town gas lines, so clinkers weren’t something my Dad needed to wrangle.
This morning – Christmas Day – we were greeted with a full page RELIGIOUS ad about Christmas and salvation. From HOBBY LOBBY. I am outraged – I do NOT take faith from someone trying to sell me their crap. I find this so offensive! Three years ago Coit Carpet Cleaners did the same Bill O’ “Jesus is the reason for the season” crap, and I boycott them as I will Hobby Lobby (though also over their war on women!) Not one of these smug faux “Christians” have half the heart of the Christmas Movie.
Enjoy Ralphie and his family that is your sweet memory. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and yours.
We have Comcast cable (ick, I know), and they have a series of audio-only channels called Music Choice, playing a variety of musical genres (classic rock, Latin pop, ’80s new wave, etc.). One of these channels is called “Sounds of the Seasons” and is my mother’s favorite. She keeps it on for holiday music while doing house cleaning and prep for the decorations. It’s better than the radio stations because no annoying ads and a (slightly) broader variety of tunes. Off to the side is a trivia blurb section offering a snippet of info about something related to the song or artist, or in the case of the Christmas lineup, trivia about Christmas-related things. One of these trivia blurbs had to do with A Christmas Story. According to Music Choice, “1983’s A Christmas Story was the inspiration for the TV series The Wonder Years (1988-93).”
As King Johnny used to say, “I did not know that!” It makes sense, though, as the format is very much the same: the adult narrator relating a story about his childhood. The show has another connection to another holiday classic: Daniel Stern, Marv of Home Alone, was the voice of the adult Kevin Arnold. (Also, Juliette Lewis was in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and played older brother Wayne’s girlfriend in a few episodes as well.)
I always suspected that The Wonder Years was inspired by The Christmas Movie with the adult Kevin remembering the boy Kevin just as Jean Shepherd had done. I loved that amazing ability to remember one’s childhood and recall if FROM the younger person’s perspective.
I did NOT know the other links, however. Wow – kind of a cottage industry!
I think it sad the Shepherd apparently got grumpier as he aged and wound up kind of disavowing his own writings and reminiscences. That’s a loss to him even if not to us.
The Ralphie homestead is indeed preserved, as is the neighborhood, in the Tremont area of Cleveland, and yes you CAN still see the steel mills from there. It’s a lovely area, very gentrified in parts, and some of it was where scenes from The Deer Hunter were filmed. All that honoring of industrial grit meaning atmospherically and culturally is very dear to me. I figured Ralphie’s father was an office guy at some low level position though, not a ‘hand’ since his clothes give him away as having a cleaner job. The rest of the folks could have been anyone. That was the nature of the neighborhood – supervisors, clerks, steel hands all living together.
I have ATT U-Verse with the same sorts of all music channels and yes, one with Christmas music. I also listen to it in background so I KNOW your mother rocks!
Happy New Year!
When I first moved here there were always black and white Christmas films to be found, but over the last decade there are fewer and fewer. I do remember watching one over and over because my father who died last year, really enjoyed it and used to sing along, and that was “White Christmas”.
So what I can do is wish all our wonderful members at The Planet, a very happy holiday season, and for those who celebrate Christmas, a Merry Christmas. To all of you I wish peace, love and understanding.
For our faithful readers across the globe, Happy Holidays to you all and thank you for reading The Planet.
French: Joyeuses Fêtes!
Spanish: Felices Fiestas!
Vietnamese: Hạnh phúc ngày lễ
Filipino: Masaya pista opisyal
Irish: Laethanta saoire sona
Swedish: Trevlig Helg!
Portuguese: Boas Festas!
Turkish: Mutlu Bayramlar!
Romanian: Sarbatori Fericite!
Korean: 행복 휴일
Slovenian: Vesele Praznike Indonesian: Selamat Hari Raya!
Croatian: Sretni praznici!
Hungarian: Boldog Ünnepeket
Greek: Καλές δικακοπές! (kales diakopes)
Danish: Glade feriedage
Albanian: Gëzuar Festat
Mandarin: Jie Ri Yu Kuai
Catalan: Bones Festes!
Latin: Felix feriarum
Swahili: Furaha likizo
Hebrew: חג שמח
Italian: Buone Feste!
South African (Xhose): Ii holide eximnandi
German: Forhe Feiertage
Dutch: Prettige feestdagen
Hawaiian: Hau’oli Lanui
Gaelic: Beannachtaí na Féile
Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees
Afrikander: Een Plesierige Kerfees
African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja: Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
Arabic: Milad Majid
Argentine: Feliz Navidad
Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
Bosnian: (BOSANSKI) Cestit Bozic i Sretna Nova godina
Brazilian: Feliz Natal
Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Catalan: Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!
Chile: Feliz Navidad
Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Chinese: (Mandarin) Sheng Dan Kuai Le
Choctaw: Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Columbia: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo
Cornish: Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsian: Pace e salute
Crazanian: Rot Yikji Dol La Roo
Cree: Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Duri: Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast
English: Merry Christmas
Eskimo: (inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian: Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi
Ethiopian: (Amharic) Melkin Yelidet Beaal
Faeroese: Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!
Farsi: Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar
French: Joyeux Noel
Frisian: Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
Galician: Bo Nada
Gaelic: Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!
German: Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Haiti: (Creole) Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri’cho o Rish D’Shato Brichto
Hausa: Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi: Shub Naya Baras (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Hungarian: Boldog Karácsonyt
Icelandic: Gledileg Jol
Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish: Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
Iroquois: Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Jiberish: Mithag Crithagsigathmithags
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Kurdish: Serî sallî nwê pîroz
Lao: souksan van Christmas
Latin: Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!
Latvian: Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!
Lausitzian:Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto
Lettish: Priecigus Ziemassvetkus
Lithuanian: Linksmu Kaledu
Low Saxon: Heughliche Winachten un ‘n moi Nijaar
Luxembourgish: Schèine Chreschtdaag an e gudde Rutsch
Macedonian: Sreken Bozhik
Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb
Manx: Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori: Meri Kirihimete
Marathi: Shub Naya Varsh (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Navajo: Merry Keshmish
Norwegian: God Jul, or Gledelig Jul
Occitan: Pulit nadal e bona annado
Papiamento: Bon Pasco
Papua New Guinea: Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu
Pennsylvania German: En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Peru: Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
Philippines: Maligayang Pasko!
Polish: Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie
Pushto: Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha
Rapa-Nui (Easter Island): Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rhetian: Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn
Romanche: (sursilvan dialect): Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!
Rumanian: Sarbatori vesele or Craciun fericit
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Sami: Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan: La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Scots Gaelic: Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh
Serbian: Hristos se rodi.
Singhalese: Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak: Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene: Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År
Switzerland (Swiss-German): Schöni Wienachte
Tagalog: Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tamil: (Tamizh) Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Trukeese: (Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!
Thai: Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan Christmas
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian: Z Rizdvom Khrystovym or S rozhdestvom Kristovym
Urdu: Naya Saal Mubarak Ho (good New Year not Merry Christmas)
Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen
Yoruba: E ku odun, e ku iye’dun!
Great article as always AdLib, but I’m not about to criticise Americans and risk being hit over the head with a Twinkie. 😉
I do think that Christmas, or rather the true meaning of Christmas has been hijacked decades ago by those out for profits, still, for me, it’s all about family, friends and giving. After a very busy year now behind me, the last thing I would ever do is go out into the crowds to shop. I value what is left of me far too much. Happy Holidays to you my friend, and thank you for another great year here at The Planet.
Kalima, what an awesome and amazing collection of international holiday greetings! How cool! Thank you so much!
BTW, since you don’t get to see many black and white classics, here’s part one of Holiday Inn (the original White Christmas movie with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire):
And the ending to It’s A Wonderful Life:
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Kalima and a wonderful new year in your lovely and hard-earned new home…and of course at your other home right here!
Thank you so much for the videos, AdLib, I’ll sit down with these when I finish preparing our Christmas Eve dinner for tonight. Nothing stops here until the evening of the 31st, then thankfully, Tokyo becomes peaceful for the next five days. It’s like heaven and I’m so ready for that. I meant the peace not heaven. 🙂
Take care and see you tomorrow if I can still move off the chair after dinner that is.
Heh! I’m full from dinner but you’re making me hungry anyway! I know it will be a wonderful meal!
Hope you enjoy the film clips! I love black and whties, introduced my daughter to them when she was young so unlike many kids, she’s just as happy watching those as color films.
And of course, there were so many wonderful films in black and white. She loves Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin, Marx Brothers and musicals. And of course the Christmas classics!
Santa will be coming soon, don’t forget to hang your stocking by the chimney with care!
You could come over, I’ll set a place for you.
Your daughter takes after you, and I love the old b&w classics the best.
We always celebrate the European way, and give our presents on the 24th. Have to remember and honour my roots.
See you soon, I’m off to stuff the chicken. Ouch!!!
Kalima, Happy Holidays to you and yours! Let there be peace.
Thank you for all those many greetings, Kalima! Beautiful.
I agree – it’s about family, friends, and giving. May all peace and joy be yours.
Happy Holidays choicelady, and likewise, may peace, love, faith and hope be your guiding light in all you do.
As I said yesterday to another member, giving is so much more rewarding than receiving and for those who can’t see that, sadly they will never know what they are missing.
I’m from somewhere in the vicinity of Lincoln Chafee-ville (remember the “holiday tree” debacle of Christmas 2012 that made it all the way to Billo’s show?). Scrooge at the landmark local theater, Trinity Rep, is a holiday tradition not to be missed. A duly appropriate story amid numerous financial crises in the home state of Quahog in recent past, not the least of which involves an entire city filing for bankruptcy — Viola Davis’ hometown of Central Falls, R.I. (This is before Detroit followed suit.) Central Falls is basically the “Compton” of Rhode Island. It’s tragic how people live there. (There is a place called Little Compton, but it is actually a nouveau-riche kind of suburb. Not at all the equivalent of “Little Italy” or “Little Havana” or other American “diminutives” referencing the home city.)
When will Americans learn to “keep Christmas all the whole year,” regardless of whatever spiritual or religious inferences it may or may not have? I may not be old enough to recall mothers assaulting one another in retail stores for Xavier Roberts’ iconic chubby infant dolls, but I certainly do remember seeing several melees pitting human against human for the acquisition of some useless iMachine. Not all Americans are involved in the materialist kerfuffle, of course, but for the ones who are, how can we get them to (in reference to the Apple slogan) “think different”?
Quick Brown Dog, first, haven’t had a chance to say it yet, welcome to The Planet!
Funny you say that, was watching A Charlie Brown Christmas tonight with my daughter and Charlie Brown asks Lucy why people can’t be the same way they are on Christmas the rest of the year and she responds by calling him a fanatic. Satire of course, it is only the sanest thing to hope for, that people would be of compassion and goodwill all year round. Why not? How does anyone benefit from only being so one day of the year? But haters gotta hate.
They made that crappy film, “Jingle All the Way” about the “funny” Christmas routine of there being “The Toy” every Christmas that parents have to get their kids no matter what.
That kind of lunacy isn’t funny, it’s capitalism gone mad. No kid has to have any particular toy to have a wonderful Christmas yet each year, it happens, a combination between herd mentality and consumer addiction.
That’s not what we’re supposed to be celebrating here. We’re trying to carve out a little space in the year for people to put aside their anxiety and upset and share their best instincts with other people. Elbowing shoppers out of the way to grab a doorbuster deal kind of misses the mark.
Hi AdLib. Thanks for the welcome. A belated Merry Christmas to you, and Happy Kwanzaa (26 Dec), which I’m sure Fox of course loves to hold up as a “made-up holiday” and yet another aspect of the “secular war on Christmas,” yet which is actually a peaceful holiday celebrating community brotherhood and the celebration and rediscovery of African culture. According to Wiki, “Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of African Heritage), which Karenga said ‘is a communitarian African philosophy’.” It celebrates friendship and community effort, which I’m sure Fox would love to depict as “oh noes communism.”
If Mandela was alive, I’m sure he would be celebrating Kwanzaa as well as Christmas, as welcoming people into the community is chief among these tenets. For some reason Fox et. al. prefer an exclusionary Christmas. Conservatives also seem to be of the pro-big-business/finance mentality. Maybe this is all tied in with the MINE MINE MINE frenzy that big business megastores love to feed among their Pavlovian salivating shoppers, as they also seem to believe that the holiday itself only belongs to “certain people” on a first-come first-serve basis…
BTW, speaking of exclusions, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard the annual rant from conservative family members about how Jewish performers “shouldn’t be allowed” to sing “Christmas songs” on radio. There are only two local stations that play Christmas songs (and one stops at midnight-oh-one on the 26th), so there’s a lot of dial-shifting that goes on in the car whenever Barbra Streisand or Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme are on. This year I actually got an earful about Cat Stevens being among those performers who shouldn’t be allowed to record “Christmas” songs… I don’t know that he ever did, but apparently he must be part of the “media wing of Al-Santa”? 😉
My family has Jingle All The Way on video. I’ve seen it quite a few times, and for me the best part is (spoiler) at the end when Ahnuld suits up as the Turbo Man in the parade. I’m pretty sure that was supposed to be a spoof on The Terminator, right down to the point where he says “I’LL BE BA –” and then gets ejected into the air by a malfunctioning jetpack. 😉 The whole story was in fact inspired by the Cabbage Patch Kids insanity, but at the time of the film’s release (1996), the same kind of chaos was also going on in the malls and retail stores, but this time, it was over Tickle Me Elmo!
My mother had a part-time retail job in 1983 and actually came home with a shiner (!) from getting caught up in one of these “mommy mobs.” My older brother works at a certain Canadian retail giant that just got an epic DDoS on consumers’ credit cards. He unfortunately was called in to work on the day after Thanksgiving. The standard uniform is a red shirt and tan slacks; employees can either wear one of their own, or a store-branded T-shirt with the famous logo on it. On this particular day he decided to wear a plain one, which irked my mother because he pulled it out of a pile and it was all wrinkled and awful. She had already ironed a store-logo one for him, but he told her he didn’t want to wear it. She asked why, and his response was, “Are you kidding? It’s Black Friday! No way in hell am I going to work wearing a TARGET on my back!”
Hi- Was a resident of Pawtucket and knew Jon’s restaurant (breakfast 99 cents) and all of the city’s ills. Once met John Chaffee – he was a very accessible guy – and like Lincoln from what little I know of him.
It is my belief that the fights over cheap goods come almost exclusively from those who are living on the thin edge and for whom the holiday “sales” are perceived as their ONE chance to be middle class on their very meager budgets. We never had to do that when we had good jobs, good incomes, and if we paid people well, had basic industry and union wages, we’d quickly see an end to this. As we boycott Wal Mart for being open on Thanksgiving, it is employees from OTHER substandard jobs vying to get the things they want to pretend they’re once again middle class. have the things those of us with incomes already own. It’s not materialism per se so much as desperation to be ‘normal’. One day a year they can try.
So this, for the 1%, is the new version of the Coliseum and gladiator matches. I hope they’re amused at the hell on earth they created. Merry Christmas my ass. It’s all about keeping the poor in their place and using them for amusement by dangling the glitteries in front of them.
I did Rhode Island in the 80s through Reagan’s deep recession. Pity is that the recovery NEVER came to Central Falls or most of those embattled cities. Sadness and heartache attend those communities fraught with desperation that is now decades old. I hope they can find some peace and happiness with one another even so. But it gets harder and harder to find hope when the decks are so stacked against them.
Happiest of holidays to you. Thanks for the memory of RI – I miss it a lot.
Same to you, ChoiceLady 🙂 You’re very welcome for the memories, to borrow a paraphrase from good ol’ Bob Hope. Speaking of Bob Hope, here’s a video of Christmas in Rhode Island, from the folks who brought you “Road to Quahog” 🙂
AdLib, this is fantastic! I don’t know how you do it!
I’m hoping to get back later to comment at greater length, but in the mean time I just have to put out the Jimmy Kimmel version of FOX’s version of “It’s A Wonderful Life” — in which Mr. Potter is the capitalist hero. It fits your theme so perfectly:
Hey Kes, thanks so much!
Very funny, haven’t seen this before but I can absolutely see Fox News re-editing It’s a Wonderful Life to portray Potter as a hero and job creator and George Bailey as a socialist who’s a friend of the “takers”.
BTW, have you seen the old SNL spoof on the alternate ending to IAWL?
Hahahaha! That is hilarious, AdLib! I’d never thought about all the satisfaction that could go along with beating the the Kris Kringle Krap out of Mr. Potter.
Great vicarious fun!
Kes, you’ve got to see the SNL “post-script” in which Dana Carvey (as Jimmy Stewart, of course) gives Potter his just-desserts. 😉
😆 AdLib recommended that one too, QBD. Too funny, no?
Adlib, thanks for another nice article. There aren’t many holiday films I can watch aside from the classics you covered. Just as you can’t have a hero without also having a villain, Christmas films have more bite when they include a really bad guy.
I’d like to mention a couple of films I like this time of year.
Holiday Inn (1942): Starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, at the top of their game, featuring songs written by Irving Berlin, including the first incarnation of the classic “White Christmas”. Bing quits the song & dance duo to pursue his dream, buying a farm with a mansion of a farmhouse, dreaming of being a gentleman farmer. Bing quickly changes course and turns it into an inn with a theatre where he can showcase live performances. Fred Astaire is the “villain” of the piece, stealing Bing’s girls at every opportunity. It’s all very light and Astaire is at his best with several routines that have shown up on documentaries of his work, the best of which is the “drunk dance”. Holiday Inn hasn’t appeared on TV for decades, probably due to some stereotypical black characters and a black-face routine that is in really poor taste. Even so, it is still much better than the cleaned-up remake “White Christmas”.
Bad Santa (2003): Stars Billy Bob Thorton as a drunken criminal who robs a department store every Christmas, posing as a department store Santa so he can thoroughly case the joint. This is definitely not for children. The story climaxes as Thorton, dressed as Santa, is gunned down by police as he is trying to deliver a stuffed toy to a young boy who befriended him, to the horror of the neighborhood children. Strangely enough, it all works out. Contains profanity, grossness, sexuality, violence, meanness, and gut-wrenching comedy. A unique way to tell the true meaning of Christmas. Also stars Lauren Graham, John Ritter and Bernie Mac. My favorite!
Merry Christmas one and all!
Hey jj. I really like Bill Murray’s “Scrooged.” The concept of a TV exec being Scrooge is pretty funny. I love the three “spirits,” that visit him. The wise cracking spirt of past Christmas, The hilarious fairy spirit of Christman present (Carol Kane) and then the last, the Reaper himself with trapped souls bursting from his robes.
Pretty funny stuff, with a warm, feel good ending.
Despite being a Bill Murray fan, I haven’t seen “Scrooged” yet. Maybe this year. 🙂
And all too real to a certain “Jay” Cratchit, I’m sure! 😉
Haven’t seen Bad Santa but I have seen Holiday Inn, great pick!
Here’s a fave of mine from the Coen Brothers, a Christmas/New Year’s film that’s so much fun and has a corruption-by-money-and-power theme, The Hudsucker Proxy:
Christmas Carol or Scrooge (with Alistair Sim) is my favorite movie. For me, it is the quintessential Christmas message and the only important one. It was a real eye opener for me when my extremely conservative brother made some negative remark about that movie. How could you possibly watch that film and not come over to the right side of history? The answer is: You don’t watch the film.
escribacat, it is one of my all time favorites as well, as you’ve no doubt guessed. I think Charles Dickens was one of the most remarkable and insightful geniuses to grace the literary world.
The Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol is fantastic.
I guess you better not show your brother A Tale of Two Cities either, he’ll be scratching his head as to why Marie Antoinette was treated so unfairly by offering a thoughtful suggestion to the poor who couldn’t afford bread to let them eat cake.
It is hard for those who immediately connect and empathize with such eternal truths to understand how some people just can’t recognize or accept them but it’s not coincidental they often turn out to be among those supporting groups like Republicans who mirror that disconnect.
Exactly, she’s our only defense against a certain New York mayor who won’t let anyone eat cake!
Christie’s running mate, perhaps?
(Well, OK, maybe not running mate…) 😀
I like the 1970s musical version, “Scrooge” because Albert Finney captured the heartache of Scrooge better than anyone. The tears he shed remembering what he’d given up for money were so moving! The transformation, to me, was best felt through his performance.
Another winner Ad!!!!
Christmas? Bah Humbug! When we allowed corporations and marketeers to take over, we lost it. For those of us sensitive to the real meaning of the season, we have some work to do. We’ll have to be careful though and not allow the fanatics in or we’ll soon find there won’t be any Christmas at all. A movement is necessary I think. One that asks each of us to volunteer our time and efforts to some needy cause or family for the duration of the holiday season. Collect money to replace a family’s furnace, buy coats and boots for those without, adopt a needy family overseas, the ideas are endless. The change is with the corporations and the marketeers, the change is within each and every one of us!
Happy and Safe Holidays Planeteers!
There does need to be a kind of awakening in the public to build a movement to pull away from the orbit around materialism. It’s kind of an addiction right now, to deal with the stress and depression of the American economic structure pulling them down, many depend on the distractions of materialism to make them feel better. But you can’t address the root problem while remaining addicted and fortifying the existing system.
The vicious circle needs to be broken by the people and what many don’t realize is that once they stop playing this game, they gain control of it.
Happy Holidays back to you VegasBabe!
Well we may not even have to worry about it. Apparently there are 15 Senators (including the new guy, Booker and Casey from Pa, both of whom I’m pretty shocked about) who want us to increase sanctions on Iran and perhaps even go to war. Those Israeli lobbyists never stop. This time next year, the last thing we may want to celebrate is Christmas or if we do, we may just reach that mindset of less is more after all. War tends to accomplish that. What a pathetically sad country we are sometimes.
VB – I have been suspicious of Booker since he came out against Obama in 2012 during the campaign when Obama was attacking Bain Capital for merciless practices.
Ever since then, I’ve regarded Booker as a bought-and-paid-for type. So this action by him isn’t so surprising but it is another in what I’ll bet will be an ongoing list of betrayals of Progressives and Obama.
But Obama will win this one, even if he has to fight Corporate Dems too.
A wide majority of Dems want this Iran deal to happen, there will be a huge price to be paid by Dems who betray their voters and President on this.
War is over — IF you want it.
Ad, between Thanksgiving and New Years we have a cluster of Holidays.
Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa come to mind. There may even be more that I’m not aware of.
With a cluster of Holidays what better way to greet people of different persuasions than Happy Holidays? If you know someone is a Christian Merry Christmas is great. If you know someone celebrates Hanukkah then you should say Happy Hanukkah. If you are not sure what a person celebrates Happy Holidays fills the bill perfectly.
So What is the problem? There is no war on Christmas. A greeting of Happy Holidays just takes in account that there is a diverse population and offending nobody.
Happy Holidays to all here on the Planet.
But see, it does offend Republicans, who are offended at the mere fact they have to share “their” calendar with all these useless undesirables and lowlife heathens, the “surplus population” that Scrooge aka Rush can’t stand to see alive.
Fox baggers are allergic to diversity. It makes them gag.
Santa is French. Everybody knows that!
Cate, in Brittany
Hehe. How do you say “I’m stuck in the chimney” in French?
Nirek – Jon Stewart explained it pretty well on The Daily Show, he noted that the typical “news” of hatred in DC goes away over the holidays and Fox can’t rely on their usual BS to whip up their ratings and audience so they now have instituted this annual “War on Christmas” campaign.
It’s phony like everything else on Fox, they know it. Typical phony Christians too, desecrating the holiday out of greed, just to crank up ratings and ad sales rates.
The RW core are such saps and patsies but they’ll never see it.