Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

St. Nick a ghost of Christmas future


St. Nick a ghost of Christmas future

Waukesha Freeman Opinion, 12/13/12 Page A6


Last week was the St. Nick holiday. Let me issue the parental warning that what follows may be too sensitive for young eyes and ears.

I have no idea what the holiday is supposed to be about. We didn’t celebrate it when I was a kid (apparently I was raised by wolves), but my children know everything about it.

When I picked my daughter up from school on the fateful day, she came running out of the school announcing that St.

Nick was coming. Her best friend’s father was also there, and he shot me a look of horror. Clearly he and his wife had forgotten.

We spoke in code for a few moments to clear up his confusion. The next day he told me his wife had saved the night, and his daughter was none the wiser.

Nineteen days later, the children will again see presents that were delivered as if driven by magic reindeer to our living room. My children will thank Santa Claus, who is also known as St. Nick, and I will get stuck with the bill again.

Every year we hear complaints about how the stores start the Christmas celebrating too early. The radio stations are playing Christmas carols too early. This year I even heard the Christmas Parade is too early.

Nonsense. My wife, the Lovely Doreen from Waukesha, put up the Christmas decorations in the yard the same day she took the Halloween decorations down. The saddest day of the year is when we put them away (despite what our neighbors say when they write to Sound Off).

Charles Dickens challenged us to keep Christmas in our hearts the entire year and not just on Christmas Day. It becomes a wearisome task if we allow ourselves to be caught up in the commercialization and the consumerism that now marks “the holidays.”

Remember why we have Christmas. Even if you’re not a practicing Christian, the spirit of the holiday should move you beyond the material world of gift buying to real giving and caring about your fellow man.

If we allow ourselves to experience the true Christmas spirit, then carrying Christmas in our hearts the entire year will be a help and not a burden.

It also justifies my wife and I leaving up the Christmas lights all year.

* * *

Sick of polls? Does Christmas already have you saying, “Bah, humbug?” Then you won’t be fans of Public Policy Polling, the Democratic polling firm. They gave in to the temptation to politicize everything and asked if Santa Claus is a Republican or a Democrat.

Public Policy Polling said 48 percent of Americans believe Santa Claus is a Democrat. Only 28 percent believe Santa Claus is a Republican.

I’m surprised the 28 percent number is that high. Santa Claus is a fantasy of someone else giving stuff away while the rest of us pay for it. It’s the perfect metaphor explaining the Democratic Party today.

Perhaps even more depressing, 52 percent of the respondents claim to believe in Santa Claus, approximately the same number as those who voted for President Barack Obama’s re-election. It is one thing to say, “I believe in Santa Claus,” when talking to a small child. It’s a complete lack of maturity when saying it to another adult, even if it is a pollster asking childish questions.

I’m less concerned about the 47 percent of the society that receives government benefits than this growing sense of entitlement fueled by a societal unceasing adolescence.

Speaking of childish self-indulgence, 80 percent of those polled believe they are on the “nice” list. While I believe Abraham would have an easier time finding 10 decent men in our times, there is no way 80 percent belong on the “nice” list. Clearly more than a few think they belong there just because they want lots of presents, and not from an actual self-assessment.

* * *

Of those polled, 47 percent also believe there is a “war on Christmas.” If there is a war on Christmas, we’re doing better locally.

Governor Scott Walker has a Christmas tree in Madison and now Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has a Christmas tree. I’m still waiting for the more leftwing members of the Milwaukee County Board and the American Civil Liberties Union to notice.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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