19 November 2008

Nouslife: Freeing the Saints From Hallmark Festivals

Nouslife comments on the modern potlatch, the exchanging of cards and presents on every conceivable occasion.

Nouslife: Freeing the Saints From Hallmark Festivals:
First this specific got my attention: 'Robyn learned the story of St. Nicholas, the Turkish bishop who became a symbol of anonymous gift-giving by providing dowries to three destitute sisters. (You can read the story in Samantha Baker-Evens article, “The Real Santa Claus”.) When Robyn shared the story of St Nicholas with her children, she was able to encourage them to focus their gift-giving on those who were really in need at Christmas and remember the One who gave us the greatest gift of al—Christ our Saviour. The whole family volunteered to serve Christmas dinner at a local homeless shelter, and they bought a goat for a poor family in Ethiopia. “It was our most satisfying Christmas ever,” she said.'

I must say that the first thing that struck me about it was the anachronism of saying that St Nicholas was a Turkish bishop -- it's a bit like saying that King Arthur was an English king.

And the second thing that struck me about it is that the Hallmark festivals have already freed me a long time ago. Well, that and Tom Lehrer's song

Relations sparing no expense'll
send some useless old utensil
or a matching pen and pencil
just the thing I need, how nice.

It doesn't matter how sincere it is
nor how heartfelt the spirit
sentiment will not endear it
what's important is the price.

Being urged to buy presents and send cards for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and all sorts of other days has cured me of buying Christmas cards as well. It just became too much of a good thing -- for the greetings card industry, that is.

My mother-in-law used to send Christmas cards to all sorts of friends and neighbours. She came across one card which was much too nice for the rather vague acquaintances who were next on her list, so she decided to send it to her sister instead. She'd already sent them one, so she signed that one "Gilbert, Effie and the twins" just to mystify her.

But nowadays the greetings card has been replaced by the blog, and that's available all year. Who needs the prepackaged sentiments of the doggerel in a commercial greetings card when you can say it yourself in a blog?

It's no longer "You send me a card and I'll send one to you". It's "You read my blog and I'll read yours."

And instead of making lists of all the people who sent you Christmas cards last year so that you can send them one this year, we have MyblogLog and BlogCatalog to let you know exactly who's been reading your blog so that you can reciprocate. Eat your heart out, Hallmark!

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Indeed the whole hype of Christmas securalized and consumerized is being increasingly resisted and I did my little bit some time back on the blog. Those local we can offer a small gift, if they're close and those further afield - an e-card or blog greeting.


Related Posts with Thumbnails