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Americans whine...wa, wa, waaaa

Chris James

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Tis the season to be jolly...bollocks. Christmas was yesterday and already the spoiled American consumers are back to business as usual. UPS and FedEx had delivery problems, about what you would expect for this time of the year.

But for those with a faith in God who believe that consumerism is part of the religious holiday there was disappointment. Some of those overpriced Christmas presents didn't arrive in time. Let's not forget that there are millions without power sitting in the cold after massive ice storms ravaged the Northeast, unless of course you accept that God controls the weather and doesn't approve of your purchases.

No, let's blame the delivery services because your iPad didn't arrive in time. No matter that December 25th is a date on the calendar which can be seen far in advance, some folks shop at the last minute and gamble that things will work out fine...well they didn't. Blame God for the bad weather that grounded the planes.

So if the weather grounds passenger flights what do they think UPS does with their cargo planes? Think of a famous Tom Hanks film and you'll get the answer. Those packages never got delivered. UPS and FedEx are pressured to serve and don't need this ignorant whining, the delayed packages will get there eventually.

Bollocks to those who whine. Try standing in a line in Russia, four hours for a pair of shoes, if they have them. Stop being so spoiled, it's what everyone hates about us. The comments after this article pretty much say the same thing:


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The older I get the more I wonder about what we humans consider important in our various cultures.

Surely, it should be about what we can do for each other; the sharing of our love, seeing that the greatest thing we will ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.

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Indeed, it has always puzzled me in this "Christian" nation that they can't seem to follow the concept of "Love thy neighbor as thyself". It's only their second greatest commandment from the mouth of their god himself. I'm pretty certain the first one wasn't "Whine about Christmas presents you failed to plan for".

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In response to the Grinch above, it's very important for kids to get their presents on time. The excitement in a child, anticipating the great day, is enormous. If he has to hear, "Sorry, Mikey, but Santa contracted with UPS because Dasher threw a hoof and Vixen was up to her old tricks but the guy in the brown suit had engine trouble and couldn't get here on time," just won't wash.


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There is so much fuss attached to getting ready for Christmas, observing it, and talking about all aspects of it, both spiritual and secular, that I'm glad it comes only once a year. Come to think, if it were to occur only once every four years, no doubt we would have to campaign either for or against it, run endless TV commercials denouncing its proponents or opponents, and deplore with even more gusto the amount of time and money wasted on it.

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Ah, how I love to be reduced to a cultural stereotype. Chris, don't assume all Americans are whining about UPS. I got much bigger things to worry about in my life than package deliveries.

This is a big country, and the article was only about a few million people who were annoyed. I'd bet there are probably 200 million who are perfectly fine, living their lives, not complaining about consumerism.

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Taking a slightly different tack, this isn't unique to America. I, personally, was disappointed on the commercialism side with Christmas this year. Yes, our boys iPad's didn't arrive in time, even though we ordered them mid November. The supplier had problems getting them from Apple, apparently. Also, the turkey we got turned out to be pre-stuffed, something we didn't want since we have a family member with dietary constraints and that meant they couldn't have any turkey because of the risk of cross-contamination.

So, I whined for a bit... and then moved on. It was more a disappointment than anything else. The boys will still get their iPads (needed for school next year) and we were having roast beef as well as roast turkey, so the family member still had food to eat. It wasn't the end of the world.

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I like the idea of Christmas every four years. Great idea. I loved Christmas when I was younger. Now, it's simply a chore, all the decorating and baking cookies for the neighbors and paying a fortune for the tree and whatnot. But being in a negative frame of mind just makes it worse, so I try to look to the bright side. It's there if you look for it. But doing this every four years would be better. There's no doubt about that.

However, kids would mutiny, and we wouldn't want that.


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UPS and fedex delivery failures also affected non-Christmas deliveries. I'm an it guy and I need two computers from a supplier...won't be seeing those until after the new year, they show as in transit but haven't moved from Tennessee in a week and a half. A family friend was going to fly to see her mother in Costa Rica. Her passport - in transit for a week - never showed up - no trip to see mom this year.

At least this year, there's less whining about what kids didn't get - "I HATE MY LIFE MY DAD GOT ME MONEY INSTEAD OF AN IPHONE I HATE MY PARENTS" than I saw last year. Or maybe I'm just not noticing it...

Christmas is what you make it.

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I like the idea of Christmas every four years. Great idea.

I don't know if I like that -- I'm sure store owners would hate it -- but I would be in favor of them just making Christmas the last Friday in December, just as American Thanksgiving is the last Thursday in November. Having Christmas in the middle of the week (as it was this year) is just crappy.

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Pecman is on to something here. Christmas in the middle of the week is a bad idea. To at least half of the world the 25th of December is just another day of the week and creating a holiday where everything closes down is inconvenient.

We all seem to know that the Church absconded with the winter solstice by placing the birth of Jesus on the 25th. Knowledgeable folks who study history say that the birth probably took place sometime in the spring of the year. I tend to believe that. But my suggestion is that we give the solstice back to the non-Christians since it is a far older observation in cultures throughout the world.

As for Christmas, let's do this: Christians have no problem with Easter bouncing around the calendar just so the celebration can happen on a Sunday. Sunday is a good day for a religious observance and so I would like to move Christmas to the last Sunday in December.

Think of the possibilities. We could have Christmas day followed by New Year's Eve, a real Sunday/Monday punch of a holiday. Otherwise, Christmas on a Sunday is less disruptive since most Christians go to church on that day anyway. No need for a religious holiday which has become a national holiday. No messy government involvement in religion running counter to the Constitutional separation of church and state.

Just a thought. As for me: I don't celebrate Christmas, why should I? I am not a Christian and all the fuss every year is just an inconvenience to be tolerated. It does make me grouchy when I see the madness of the season in the eyes of other shoppers. But I smile when I see the neighbors festoon their houses with billions of lights and it only makes me wish I had stock in the power company.

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Perhaps we could satisfy Chris the Grinch by designating Christmas not as a religious holiday nor as a commercial fiasco, but simply as a Children's Holiday. I think most of us (STEREOTYPING AHEAD) enjoy the Christmas season because of its memories and its effect on young kids. Let's make Christmas a time for families to honor their children--not by catering to the retailers who want you to buy your way into your child's heart--but by creating a family-centered occasion with traditional decorations, small thoughtful gifts, and family activities. It should, of course, be set so that the kids get at least a few days off from school, which rules out putting it into the weekend.

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What a great idea! And it could be expanded in a really touching way. Millions of teenagers feel disenfranchised and unloved in their homes and so become disaffected, surly, misdirected, uncommunicative and unhappy. But James's idea to celebrate kids could be based on a sliding scale with more attention and more love being bestowed on the kids every Christmas they're another year older. They become kings of the castle the Christmas they're 18. Man, that could work hold families together, change teens drastically with an incentive to remain in the bowels of the family and make a huge difference in American family life.

OK, it's certainly impractical, but I love the implications. Wish there was a way to implement it.


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Um, why should kids get all the fun? Whadda they know? They're kids.

Christmas is religious. It's about the birth of our lord, the burbling, breast-sucking, nappy-filling baby Jesus. It needs rules!

Christmas should only be for those who go to a proper bone fide church x times a year (algorithm to be supplied, but probably <104 yawningly dull services).

If you don't have calluses on your knees then Christmas isn't for you.

Coca-Cola's Santa should be banned along with tree slaughtering, all advertising, and meaningless (except to the designer's portfolio and printer's bottom line) cards.

Special attention to be paid to those who have had visions of themselves and Christ chatting via skype on an ipad.

Everyone else can have a few days off ... to ponder the true meaning of life.

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As for Christmas, let's do this: Christians have no problem with Easter bouncing around the calendar just so the celebration can happen on a Sunday. Sunday is a good day for a religious observance and so I would like to move Christmas to the last Sunday in December.

Won't happen :smile:

The timing of Easter is defined by the historical events. That is, the crucifixion is documented as occuring on a Friday, and the resurrection occurs on a Sunday, so the days of the week are fixed. I'm not aware of why it's fixed as the occurring after a full moon, but I'm sure there are historical reasons for that.

For Christmas, you're talking about two distinct groups that would oppose doing what you're suggesting. The first are the Christians who will point out that a birth occurs on a single day of the year, and what day of the week that is will vary from year to year. After all, everyone else's birthday is fixed to a day of the year, why are you proposing that this particular one be different?

The other group that would be opposed are those that want the holiday. Putting Christmas on a Sunday will remove a public holiday from all those people who want that extra day off. That's a huge challenge to overcome.

Minor groups that would be opposed would be those that make movies and books regarding Christmas, with all of those becoming out-dated if the event no longer occurred on Dec 25th. Not a big deal, but every opinion counts....

Now, there are still possibilities here. For example, here in Victoria, we celebrate the Queen's birthday on the second Monday in June, regardless of the actual date of her birthday. If you did similar for Christmas -- that is, make it a celebration of the event, rather than a celebration of the day, and put it on a Monday or Friday -- you might have a chance of swinging it. It probably still wouldn't happen, but it's a better chance than if you try to make it a Sunday.

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I guess my point, Graeme, is that Christmas would be a little more accurate if it was moved off of the winter solstice. I'm sure the pagans among us would like to have their observance back. I know the Christians have never been bothered by historical accuracy before but this is the modern age where we hope knowledge counts.

The timing of Easter and the resurrection is also suspicious. Jesus may have been crucified on a Friday, but all that would have had to take place before sundown and the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath which we know is Saturday. The Romans involved could have cared less what day of the week it was, but crucifixions did not occur on the Sabbath.

We have come to accept that Jesus had four brothers during his lifetime which lays doubt over Mary's virgin status. Ah the silliness those monks thought up all those centuries ago...must have been the strong wine. It's hard to understand why the early Church did so much to suppress Jesus's Jewish roots and the traditions they held. The public gospels reveal little about Jesus's family and I would love for the Church to release all the secret documents gathering dust in the Vatican archives which might enlighten us on so many things.

But as for Christmas, it might fit better right after the Fourth of July:


(Goodness gracious...talk about sidetracking a story on UPS and FedEx)

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(Goodness gracious...talk about sidetracking a story on UPS and FedEx)

I think it is relevant as it would appear that along with many other organisations, the UPS and FedEx and the religious, have no idea what day of the week Mankind will be delivered.

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Thank goodness someone finally brought up the point of the Christ Child's true birthdate. I certainly was not the middle of winter. The only reason for the Christmas holidays being around the winter solstice is that the early church fathers needed something they could supplant the pagan holiday with. I guess it just proves that most christians are very insecure and feel threatened by anything that doesn't come from that book that is not the inspired word of God.

As it happens, I AM a pagan, and my particular pantheon of Gods and Goddesses teach tollerance and acceptance. So go ahead, Mr. and Mrs. Christian, enjoy your holiday. I usually celebrate a few days earlier on the occasion of the Winter Solstice in the manner Pagans have done so for long before the Christian movement began. I do purchase gifts for my grandchildren during this holiday season, but I don't agonize over the process. Fortunately, my grandkids are young enough that there is no need for electronics for school, so I can be more practical and I can buy them helmets to wear when they are out on their new bicycles and motorized scooters.

And now to come to the defense of my good friend Chris. I think the reference of Chris the Grinch is a little harsh. He did, after all, begin this thread by commenting on the complaints of consumers that didn't have the forethought to buy early enough to ensure sufficient time for shipping and are now up in arms because mother nature grounded many UPS and FEDEX flights. Personally, I have to laugh at those individuals who're complaining, exercising their right as a human being to blame anyone but themselves for their own inneptitude.

And finally, allow me to show my support for the idea of making this a children's holiday. I know I've always enjoyed the holiday most when there were children present. Watching their young faces made all the frustration of shopping and decorating well worth it.

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The public gospels reveal little about Jesus's family and I would love for the Church to release all the secret documents gathering dust in the Vatican archives which might enlighten us on so many things.

No need to wait for the Vatican, just read the Nag Hammadi Library:


Of course it is totally heretical and the documents are all banned if you are a member of the Catholic Church or any other for that matter.

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I found a problem with the URL of the site Nigel suggested.

This is about the find at Nag Hammadi: http://www.nag-hammadi.com/

This is the content: http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html

The book of Thomas is here: http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl_thomas.htm

Thank you, Camy,

I've wanted to have a look at the finds from Nag-Hammadi after hearing about them in a documentary on the History Channel recently. My personal view is that anything the 'church fathers' were so rabid about keeping out of our hands is definitely worth having a look at. Besides, it's just the sort of research material I need for the third book in my Haywood's Journey series.

So, thanks again, Camy, I've already saved the link into my favorites library. LOL.

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