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An sjhoward.co.uk Christmas Message


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 10 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 10 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 10 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

SnowflakeRecently, I walked through Newcastle and saw a Christmas display that had a degree wit about it – Ann Summers shows its lingerie collection on models wearing antlers with the greeting ‘Have a Horny Christmas’.

Given that it’s Ann Summers, there’s nothing particularly surprising about the message or the sentiment, but it did raise a smile – and a slightly sinking feeling that there’d undoubtedly be complaints about it within days.

The sinking feeling was right – shortly afterwards, the Dean of Newcastle condemned the slogan, saying that it showed a lack of awareness of the spiritual significance of Christmas.

This is surely true of most window displays: ‘Remember how Christmas used to feel’, ‘Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without M&S’, or ‘Try our Festive After Eight McFlurry’ – none of these has any particular regard for the spirituality of the occasion.

And is it unreasonable to assume that the Very Reverend Chris Dalliston would have been even more offended had the slogan been ‘Have a horny Winterval’? He would probably claim that Ann Summers had forgotten his god at Christmas time.

Christmas in particular brings out the worst in Christians. Many normally tolerant Christians see it as their duty to shout down those who don’t have god at the centre of their seasonal celebration, regardless of whether those people actually believe. Its something that oddly doesn’t happen at Easter – nobody sees Christians lining up to protest about the sale of chocolate eggs which bear little relation to the murderous death and subsequent ghost sitings of their messiah, despite that being the most sacred Christian festival.

And given that Chris Dalliston likely disapproves of most of what Ann Summers sells, he may not be the best person to give them advice on their marketing – though I’m sure they’re pleased that he tried, as it’s no doubt provided a great boost in their publicity.

He claims, of the ‘Horny Christmas’ slogan,

Everyone who can read is being wished this message, which they may not want.

So where is the uprising of the morally bankrupt atheists against the nativity scene down the road in Eldon Sqaure, or the organised disruption of the carol singing in the MetroCentre? I have no particular desire to seek their Christian message, yet it’s foisted upon me. Surely Ariane Shariene and Richard Dawkins should be organising competing choirs singing entirely secular songs and stealing the baby Jesus from the nativity. They are evil secularists, after all.
Yet I doubt that’s going to happen. I actually think you’d struggle to find any rational atheist who was against Christmas in all its forms.

For me, Christmas is primarily about spending time with my family. It is a time for a guaranteed get-together, with nice food, good banter, and presents for one another. So what’s so wrong about that?

My point is this: I don’t actually care what you celebrate at this time of year: Christmas, Winterval, a Festivus for the rest of us, or nothing at all. It’s really none of my business, and it’s each to their own.

But whatever you’re doing today and over the next few days, I give you my very best wishes for all the peace, joy, and happiness you could want.

All the best.

This post is based on my contribution to the Pod Delusion Winterval Special – it’s great, so listen to the whole thing at poddelusion.co.uk

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28th February 2012.

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sjhoward.co.uk » Photo-a-day 59: St Nicholas’s Anglican Cathedral

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