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    Is celebrating Christmas immoral?

    created by eduardh0e 353 days 3 hours 8 minutes ago

    Category: Politics

    Is celebrating Christmas immoral?

    ***Do you think celebrating Christmas through consumption is moral or immoral? Is it ethically permissible to spend money on superfluous gifts when there are people literally around you who are struggling to survive? What informs this possible ethical problem and how do we go about it?***

    Background:

    I was taking the train to work today and while on the platform waiting to transfer trains someone asked me for any money I could give. I gave them money and then they asked the person next to me who had a bag full of presumably just-purchased gifts from the Vans store who responded, "But he just gave you $5....I don't have any cash on me anyway."

    That response is dripping with ironic, violent logics ("Why do I have to give you anything if you just got $5. You're not allowed to want more.") that you likely flip back onto them about their Vans (are they or any of the gift recipients allowed to want more especially if it's the case that they already have enough?).

    I live in Chicago and I don't like walking on Michigan Ave lined with brand name and designer stores, especially around Christmas time, because the concentration of inequality is disheartening: people dropping money for overpriced retail and disgustingly overpriced designer materials and then performing like they have no money to donate for people disempowered from covering the basics.

    I personally don't celebrate Christmas for a number of ethical reasons but anti-consumption is probably my biggest reason. My cash-poor family has always gone about modest gift-giving, usually essential or needed items are exchanged.

    The twist to all this is that it's capitalism that allows such extreme inequality as some can accrue excessive wealth and others are robbed of labor, resources and wealth in the process.

    So in the short term, I don't celebrate Christmas. In the long term, we abolish capitalism.

    Re: Is celebrating Christmas immoral?

    Hi, no celebrating Christmas is not immoral and frankly neither is capitalism. Our family always enjoys Christmas as a time for everyone so busy in their lives to gather together, eat a good meal, share gift giving and catch up on news and time together. Yes, there is always disparity in life and no matter how much some people or groups want to redistribute wealth there will always be some unequal to others. You can make life seem equal, but what happens when others work harder than other people to get ahead, or come up with a great idea or invention? Should they be penalized for their hard work and fortitude? As for those fancy stores I don't shop at them, most are overrated. When it comes to money I always like Margaret Thatcher's quote "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money". America is set on a dangerous course now as we have $20 trillion in debt, eventually that will smack us in the face if we do not cut spending. Everyone is against cutting spending when it is something important to them. Quite a quandary we face.
    As for others, we can all give in our own small way. Our family give to local programs every year; but of course we wish we could do more or government solutions would be better.

    - W

    Re: Is celebrating Christmas immoral?

    Hello ,

    I do not find Christmas immoral.From a religious stand point I celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas. As a christian the season is not a reason to buy stuff. It is a time to give thanks to God and honor the birth of Christ. Gifts are just a way of showing another person you care . I think some take it to the extreme. Big business just makes Christmas only about gifts. They took the Christ out of Christmas. I defenitly think that Christmas has been molded into a consumer nightmare.

    Re: Is celebrating Christmas immoral?

    Hi eduardh0e,

    This is a pretty interesting topic. I can actually go on and on about it for quite a while. Anyways lets begin by this is a super debatable topic and a lot of different point of views can be used to view it.

    "The Gift of The Magi" is one view it can be seen from. When you love someone and you gift them everything you have. You really don't have much money to spend in the first place and mainly living from pay check to pay check, but you sacrifice something you love dearly in order to give a gift to someone you love. I feel that a lot of the time during Christmas, this is happening. This is a beautiful thing, it shows the love you have for that person. Of course, it does not have to be a materialistic thing where you buy, it can just be hours of your time you spend on making a present.

    There is also the view you are coming from, Christmas is also an excuse to give and receive gifts we normally don't splurge on. This is however also many of the cases people celebrate Christmas now.

    There is also Christmas is just a time where relatives come together. It shouldn't be a reason to spend time with family, but now that everyone is working a standard job, it is hard to get everyone together all at the same time. Since Christmas and thanksgiving, holiday breaks, the corporate companies let their employees go home to celebrate with their family, it is a great time of the year to get together.

    From what I read from your story, that person is a greedy person. At the same time, I also know that a lot of veterans of our country are homeless due to some mental illnesses that would lead them to wonder out and be lost from home. The homeless people who are fully capable of working and functioning should step up and get a job instead of begging on the streets. There is multiple different views on homeless people in our country, and not all of them is about how helpless they are. The homeless people in New York can actually beg and make upwards towards 3 or 4 grand a day in the city. There is the story of a millionaire homeless guy in Hong Kong.

    I believe your view is right, but it is not the only case and others who buy presents during Christmas is not incorrect either.

    -S

    Re: Is celebrating Christmas immoral?

    How is any man obligated in any way to give away what is rightfully his, no matter the destitution of the receiver?
    There is virtue in charity, and I respect the man who resolves to give away his excess income to causes he sees fit, but how is it immoral to keep what is rightfully ones own?
    The man on the train is not necessarily a product of his own doing; for anyone to say so would be in blind ignorance to the infinite possibilities of unfortunate events, which any individual could experience in life. But in fairness, this man is also not a product of any collection of individuals’ so called “greed;” to say that he is, is to condemn an entirely population for engaging in the allegedly immoral activity of simply keeping what one owns… And who among us has the authority to condemn this perfectly normal tendency?
    To respond to one of your last thoughts, which condemned capitalism as the creator of “such extreme inequality,” I’d love some elaboration as to just how you were able to categorize this man (and others alike) as a victim of said capitalism?
    Capitalism is just an economic system, in which the people are free from the state to create value and profit from their creation. These people inevitably should want to grow their idea, or business, and so they hire the best workers they can¸ and expand. Now how can this economic model be traced back to people like this man on the train…
    The only way I can think of is through taxes. If these enormously profitable businesses on Michigan av., who earn an incredible amount of money (in many cases more than they know what to do with), were taxed at a rate just 1% more, at the federal or local level, this man and many more, could be housed and fed… I won’t deny this, it’s true. But is this truly moral?
    I would suggest asking what is really going on in that hypothetical situation… Sure, that 1% might not even put a dent in any of the owners of those companies on Michigan av., who all undoubtedly enjoy an enormous income regardless; but what right do you have to take raise their tax rate to 39%, while yours remains at 15%? Who gave you the authority to decide who has ‘enough,’ and who has ‘too little’?
    What if every man on earth were payed according to his need, instead of his ability? I agree, it would be equal… But would it truly be fair?