"Christmas" is not the December shopping season in advance of Christmas Day ... During most of December, Christians observe Advent, a four-week season of reflection, preparation and waiting that precedes the yearly celebration of Jesus' birth ... If you wander into a local Lutheran, Episcopal or Roman Catholic parish ... There are no poinsettias, no Christmas pageants, no trees or holly, and no red and green altar linens ... There are no twinkling lights or over-the-top Christmas displays. Just four candles in a simple wreath, two partially burned, two yet to be lit. The mood is somber ... It is Advent. During these weeks, churches are not merry ... The ministers preach from stark biblical texts about the poor and oppressed being lifted up while the rich and powerful are cast down, about society being leveled and oppression ceasing ... -- from Fox News' War on Advent by Diana Butler Bass. Author, "Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening"
Reading this article about Advent, I realize how my Vedanta, Lutheran and Quaker religious education leaves me appalled at the way the 2012 edition of “Christmas” is being celebrated as basically a product marketing holiday.
The conspicuous consumption starts on the oddly named Black Friday, one day after the American Bacchanalia euphemistically known as Thanksgiving. Rampant consumerism continues through Dec. 24 with people frantically buying everything from Mortal Combat video games to Mercedes Benz motor cars as “Christmas gifts” to celebrate the birth of "The Prince of Peace."
So I think from now on instead of saying I’m being a Scrooge or Grinch about Christmas, I’ll just say I’m making a conscious choice not to participate in the December marketing holiday and I don’t care if they call it Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Saturnalia.