Once again we’ve reached that time of year where everyone is gearing up for holiday fun. So it didn’t surprise me this week when my eager little one gravitated toward the Christmas books at the library. As I sat down, once again, to read How the Grinch Stole Christmas to this newest party to the story, my eyes were suddenly opened to my predicament.
I am in 100% agreement with the meaning of this Seussian parable. Christmas isn’t about stuff. It’s about God. Specifically, it’s about the birth of Jesus Christ, whom I believe in and choose to worship. America has gone even farther overboard in its breathless Christmas consumerism since Seuss wrote the book. As a nation we now seem to have reached an almost fanatical point. For example, are we really focused inward and upward, with gratitude for what we have on Thanksgiving Day or while preparing the turkey with trimmings are our minds elsewhere, thinking about the Black Friday sales? It’s called Thanksgiving, not Covetcatharsis. Well, in our heart of hearts, which is it? I think Ted Giesel would probably be unhappy with what has happened to his little story… especially since Jim Carrey and Ron Howard put their spin on it. It’s turned into a distracting Christmas product of the very spirit Seuss was preaching against.
In this year of economic distress for so many families in America and worldwide, I bear witness from personal experience, that a lack of stuff will not stop Christmas from coming. Christmas doesn’t come from further credit card debt. It never has, it never will. When your heart is in the right place, focused on what really matters, it can still sing… “without any presents at all”. A simple, modest Christmas will not kill anyone. What has happened since the times of Laura Ingalls, when a real orange (all for you, in the toe of your stocking, the only one this year), red mittens, homemade maple sugar candy, and a rag doll with button eyes could make a child’s cup run o’er?
However, when it comes to Halloween… I stand beside the Grinch up there on his lonely mountaintop, hating the Hallowho doings down in Hallowhoville. Halloween was originally set up as the autumnal version of Mardi Gras, and it’s the same concept: Let’s all celebrate the evil, bad, wicked and depraved before tomorrow comes. In fact, let’s wallow in it. Just like Ash Wednesday follows Fat Tuesday, All Saints Day follows Halloween. Do people love All Saints Day like they love Halloween? No. I doubt many have even heard of it. Instead of ghosts, goblins, witches and the dead is anybody even thinking to celebrate apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, martyrs, patriarchs… SAINTS? I see no products celebrating light and truth, no joyful countenances on citizens who are happy to be good, clean, righteous, humble and at peace with God and man. Realistically, would such products even sell in today’s America? I asked myself, where are the celebrants of this, the greater day of November 1st? I’m not even Catholic… but as a Latter-day Saint, shouldn’t my heroes, my focus, my efforts be toward honoring SAINTS on All-Saints Day? I’d rather do this than gazing at what I don’t want to become: the miserable and wretched dregs held up for undue honor every Halloween. I don’t want to go there! I don’t want to be that! So when I turn and see well-meaning things like Trunk-or-Treats in church parking lots, I stand aghast. To me, it’s like mixing oil and water. At any other time of the year, what would be the impression left with a sincerely seeking stranger, if he were to enter a house of professedly Christian worship and see pictures of witches/wizards, devils and the grave? We focus on the exact opposite in Christianity, yet here we are, displaying images of their cunning imitations. In my opinion, it demonstrates a disloyal inconstancy to our Father in Heaven, whom I love. I wish for the day that Trunk-or-Treats and other Halloween-themed decorations and activities would cease to be planned and carried out by members of my church. As a wise person once said, If you want to cut the tail off a dog, it’s easier not to do it in pieces. Yet there comes the Pied Piper’s call, “Tradition! Tradition!” Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are both good and bad traditions. I’ve also realized that the continued practice of traditions like these just doesn’t make sense, and I can’t in good conscience continue to observe a holiday that I think is just plain wrong. As for me and my house, we will not serve the lord of Halloween. We’ve turned off the porch light, given the candy bowl away, and started a new family tradition of our own: the celebration of All-Saints Day. A helpful start for me was the book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs.
My disagreement with the holiday insanity goes even further than Halloween. It extends to how seriously our diets are affected. We wear our childrens’ ears out with warnings like, “Don’t take candy from strangers!“. Yet, from trick-or-treating beggary to treats extended at the bank, the school, the stores, the church….. parents say Yes! and Yes! and Yes! Guiltily not wanting to offend those well-meaning souls or disappoint our kids’ hopes, we agree to what we know is bad for our children. I assert that in this acquiescence, we are doing more harm than good. We teach our kids to ignore wise council. We demonstrate by our actions that we believe the lie that just once won’ t hurt. No outward expression of inward joy – no scriptural account of any feast, celebration or jubilee that I know of – ever involved the ingestion of harmful foods. The Lord does not request evil of us or give us anything to our harm.
Do you not remember the cautionary tale of Hansel and Gretel? Well-intentioned or not, there is a symbolism behind the kindly woman standing in front of the house of treats, holding out and beckoning with alleged sweets. I say alleged because rather than resulting in love, joy and health, her incitements are poison in disguise. Behind the frosted walls there await only captivity and death. Was this woman not, in fact, a deceitful, self-seeking witch who had anything BUT the childrens’ best interests at heart? Does she sound familiar to anyone else? Do you not recognize in her the echo of another woman known as Babylon? The desires of her followers are sweet to the appetite, but deadly to the man (1 Nephi 13:5-9).
In desiring to do a kindness and blessing to the children, have we ever stopped to examine our paradigms, born of both true and false traditions? Do we stop to consider the genuine nature of the “treats” we’ve connected to our paradigms? When we’re feeding our dear ones sweetened poison, are we really demonstrating love for them? Everyone knows candy isn’t good for you, so why do we keep going back to it, purchasing it, offering it? Do we stop to contemplate whom we might really be serving, whose interests we might be advancing when we purchase the candies and make the sweets? Can’t a card, an email, a balloon, a pencil or some such small trinket also say I love you just as sweetly? Does it always have to be candies, cookies, pastries, pies, puddings and cakes? I’m not misconstruing the good motives of good folks who sincerely love the children. I love the grandmas, sweet old neighbor ladies, Sunday School teachers, adopted aunties, schoolteachers kindly widows and good neighbors as much as anyone else. What I am saying, though, is that we all may unwittingly be following a pattern laid down for us by individuals who have latched themselves onto our better natures. When establishing that candy canes MUST be a part of Christmas, whose interests are really served? The gift-givers’ or the candymakers’?
Certainly not the children’s. Ever read up on the history of the Mars family or the origins of Coca Cola? How about Nestle’s campaign against breastfeeding in Third World countries? What about the the intimidation of American mothers by the distribution of gift packages in hospitals to new mothers whose desire to breastfeed? Every one of these “gifts” contain bottles of formula… just in case you want to give up. It’s discouragement disguised as encouragement, that’s what it is. In this case, the word, gift doesn’t mean poison in German for nothing. Did you know that all commonly available chocolate products are now all GMO?
I’m reading Dr. Weston Price’s classic tome at the moment, Nutritional and Physical Degeneration. First published in 1939, dentists knew even then that the main cause of tooth decay was the civilized, industrialized diet – with sugar and white flour cast in the starring roles. The higher road of a healthy, wholesome diet was the road not taken, and it has made all the difference to medical and dental practitioners and their wallets. America chose fluoride as the band-aid over the cut to their nutritional jugular, and even now keeps hacking away at themselves with sugar-crusted hands. Such graphic imagery is not my own… I got it from the 2010 PBS production of Macbeth. It’s the most horrid imagery I’ve ever seen in a Shakespeare production. Patrick Stewart or no Patrick Stewart, I couldn’t finish watching it.
With a Vladimir Lenin-ish Macbeth, we were “treated” to unscripted portrayals of political assassinations and “yummy” blood soup. In the self-disrespectful tradition of piss art, the vulgar guard “treated” us to his performance of urinating in the sink, among other things. An angular, cold and sterile Lady Macbeth was weirdly over-sexed in her wardrobe and behavior. Worst of all, there was the deliberate omission of original lines from Shakespeare which referred to God and the addition of taking his name in vain. PBS was hopeful in its sophistries. To say that this production overshot the mark would be an understatement. Blinded by a pride of what it must have felt was it’s own cosmopolitan sophistication, this “modern” interpretation only earns that label by it’s likeness to the 20th century feats of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao… and American traitors as yet unnamed, hiding with gore-stained money in their hands. Is this why our newest version – the American Public Broadcasting System version – funded by taxpayers, reflects so much blood and horror? To have fallen so far in media for the masses… !!! What kind of fiendish programming is this? It, apparently wasn’t enough for PBS to offend our sensibilities by televising the rape of Tess of the d’Urbanvilles. What? Wasn’t there enough sewage in the public’s cultural sundae? Oh no, PBS had to keep going and add more. I truly fear the individuals on both sides of this curtain: those who could create with such impunity, those who could approve it, fund it, broadcast it… and those who not only stomached the bloody mess, but wiped their mouths and applauded.
The most disturbing imagery for me was the alarming transformation of three medical nurses. White clad in the robes which bespeak First Do No Harm… wearing the old-fashioned nunlike veil of the Lady of the Lamp… everything suddenly went awry. This was no accidental stumble of symbolism, but the deliberate twisting of medicine into utter hematolagnia… or worse!. Rather than being the women of mercy their uniform promises – based on the virtue and honor of millions of nurses – these characters instead assume the most horrific, demonic, cadaver–worshiping behavior I’ve ever seen portrayed in film or stage. There is nothing virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy or of good report in these nurses. Why is this abominable portrayal on stage? I am positive William Shakespeare would join Theodor Seuss Giesel in decrying what today’s artists have done with his message! If you read my blog, you already know something of how I feel about the mainstream medical profession. If you knew my heart, books like Voices From Vietnam, Yellow Star and None Dare Call It Conspiracy would be burned into your civil and moral conscience with a irremovable brand.
Hear the witches in white scream: Trick-or-treat, my pretties! Eat some sugar, little darlings! Corn syrup is made from mercury, no further need for doctor’s calomel! EAT UP, my dears! Pleasure Island, my precious ones! Sugar Blues, they go away! Corrupt Your Fortune To Give Me Mine! Change Your Blood Into MY Profit! Then DIE, DIE, DIE! It is an incantation as old and evil as Cain. I couldn’t keep watching the broadcast when they came to the scene with Lady Macduff and the children. Not only the persecution of the widows and fatherless, but the creation and murder thereof! The slaughter of the defenseless and innocent! With Banquo, I yell, Run, Fleance, run, run, run!
As a mother, I am tired of running the gauntlet where they win or I lose. I refuse to be blind to the responsibilities of my stewardship any longer. Even I can see the connection, when I’m willing to. Glorify this, Scientist. Publish this, Scholar. Kid eats Halloween candy, and within a week, he’s sick. Kid has a steady trickling diet of sweets between Halloween and Thanksgiving from all the unconscious actions of those who think they’re doing well. Kid gets sick. Old Santa Claus and all the rest shower down the candy fest. Kid stays sick. Then comes New Year’s and no sooner has child recovered from his third ear infection and fourth cold, then he catches strep throat just after Valentine’s Day. Are we stupid or blind or both? Garbage in, garbage out. We know that with our computers and safeguard them. Why can’t we seem to apply that idea to ourselves and watchcare our own lives? For we are of more value than many computers.
So I will stand on that mountaintop and be that old Grinch. I’ll deny my children Macbeth’s Halloween and all the Baba Yagas – good or bad. If they’re standing in front of a gingerbread house of cards, my children will be instructed that they may not approach, and I’ll do nothing to assist a child in any disobedience to my beliefs. When Thanksgiving comes, I will think of my grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and of stories related by great men like James E Faust regarding the lessons of those times. At December’s advent, I’ll teach my children to keep Santa in his place and focus, instead, on giving and serving as Christ gave and served. With my sleigh full of orange-and-black contraband, you might call me a Grinch for going farther than the original did. For my Halloween sleigh WILL be tossed completely off the cliff and away from my children. With my finger on the controls of their consumption, you might call me a witch for depriving them of the “goodies”. Yet it is I who am set as the guardian of my inheritance and the shepherdess over the lambs of my fold. I know what is best for my munchkins… and if I am a witch, I am one who is Good.
“Control myself?’ yelled Fern. ‘This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself?!!” – from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White