Just Sociology

Unwrapping the Complexities of Christmas: Religion Marxism and Black Lives Matter

Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated by many around the world each year. However, the meaning and significance of Christmas can vary greatly depending on one’s religion, culture, and beliefs.

In this article, we will examine how two different theories, religion and Marxism, provide unique perspectives on the role of Christmas in society. We will explore how religion and traditional values pervade Christmas celebrations for some, while others view it as a manifestation of commercialism and consumer culture.

Through examining survey results and critical analysis, we will gain a better understanding of how Christmas is constructed by society and how it impacts individuals.

Survey Results on Religious Importance of Christmas

The celebration of Christmas has been associated with the birth of Jesus Christ for centuries. However, in contemporary Western society, the religious significance of Christmas has been called into question.

According to a YouGov survey conducted in 2020, out of a sample of 2,161 adults in the United Kingdom, 81% of Christians believe that the birth of Jesus is an important part of the Christmas story. However, only 54% of these same respondents considered attending a religious ceremony as a part of their Christmas celebration.

These results suggest that while religious values remain integral to some people’s understanding of Christmas, a significant portion of those who identify as Christian do not place as much emphasis on the religious aspects of the holiday. Instead, they may focus on activities considered more secular, such as giving gifts or spending time with family.

The Social (Media) Construction of Christmas

The way in which Christmas is celebrated has not remained static over time, and the holiday may be understood as a social construct. One such example is the Christmas dinner, which has been a central part of Christmas celebrations since the 19th century.

The Christmas cracker, invented in the mid-1800s, is another example of how social constructions become concrete holiday rituals. The figure of Santa Claus, a key player in contemporary Christmas celebrations, has a complex and varied history that is unique to different cultures.

For some, Santa Claus embodies the spirit of the holiday and serves as the bearer of gifts. However, for others, he represents the commercialization and commodification of Christmas as corporations capitalize on his image to promote their products.

Overall, the social construction of Christmas has been strongly influenced by the media. Christmas films, advertising, and social media platforms contribute to the shaping of contemporary Christmas traditions and values.

Marxist Analysis of Christmas

Marxism views the world through the lens of economic class struggle, where those who possess wealth and power exploit and oppress those who do not. Thus, according to Marxist theory, Christmas presents a unique opportunity for corporations and advertisers to manipulate the masses into excessive spending, thereby maintaining social inequality.

The commercialization of Christmas can lead to an emphasis on consumerism, leading individuals to spend beyond their means and contribute to personal debt. In the documentary “What Would Jesus Buy?” activist Reverend Billy and his choir attempt to deter Americans from indulging in unnecessary or excessive consumption, arguing that it goes against the principles of Christianity.

Marxism also highlights the impact of the materialism and consumption on children, leading to what child psychologist Sue Palmer has called “toxic childhood”. Advertising in particular targets children, who can become increasingly anxious and unhappy if they do not receive the gift they desire.

Feminist Critique of Christmas

Feminist critiques of Christmas highlight the gendered expectations that are present during the holiday season, reinforcing gender stereotypes and maintaining patriarchal societal structures. Christmas advertising campaigns often portray women as responsible for preparing, decorating, and providing food for the family, while men are often shown as passive bystanders, with Father Christmas or Santa Claus as symbolic figures of male authority.

Women, particularly mothers, can also be burdened during the Christmas season with responsibilities such as gift-giving, meal preparation, and household tasks. Feminists argue that this burden is placed on women because of entrenched societal expectations about gender roles.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this article has explored the role of religion and Marxism in shaping the contemporary understanding of Christmas. Through examining survey data and critical analysis, we have seen that religion remains a significant aspect of Christmas for some, while others view it as a manifestation of commercialism and consumer culture.

Additionally, critical theories provide insight into how Christmas reinforces patriarchal societal structures, emphasizing gender stereotypes and placing a disproportionate burden of labor on women. Understanding these complex constructions of Christmas is crucial to gaining a better understanding of how society is shaped and maintained.

The holiday season is filled with many traditions, including Christmas shopping. While many people enjoy the excitement of holiday shopping, others view it as an opportunity to make a political statement.

In recent years, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought to light the ways in which systemic racism and white supremacy infiltrate all aspects of American society, including the holiday season. Boycott of ‘White Christmas’

One manifestation of the Black Lives Matter movement’s impact on Christmas shopping has been calls to boycott “white corporations” in favor of supporting black-owned businesses.

The term “white corporation” refers to companies that have primarily white leadership, ownership, and customer bases. These companies are often accused of perpetuating systemic racism through their business practices, such as underpaying their workers or exploiting natural resources.

The call to boycott “white corporations” during the holiday season involves a deliberate shift in traditional Christmas shopping habits. Instead of shopping at big-box stores and chain retailers, supporters of the boycott are encouraged to buy from smaller, local businesses owned by people of color.

This tactic is meant to support black entrepreneurs and to disrupt the systemic racism that exists within the retail industry. The Boycott White Christmas campaign, launched in 2020, encouraged consumers to boycott Amazon, Walmart, and other big-box stores, directing them towards black-owned businesses instead.

As a result, black-owned businesses saw an increase in sales, with some even struggling to keep up with demand. The Boycott White Christmas campaign serves as an example of the ways in which Black Lives Matter activists are using their economic power to both support black-owned businesses and pressure white corporations to make systemic changes.

Critics of the boycott argue that it is an ineffective tactic that ultimately does more harm than good. They claim that boycotts may hurt the workers who rely on big-box stores for their livelihoods, and that it is unrealistic to expect people to change their shopping habits overnight.

Furthermore, some argue that the boycott distracts from the bigger picture of the fight against systemic racism and that it does not address the root causes of the issues it seeks to address.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought to light the ways in which systemic racism and white supremacy operate within the holiday season, including during Christmas shopping. The call to boycott “white corporations” in favor of supporting black-owned businesses is one concrete action that supporters of Black Lives Matter are taking to disrupt systemic racism in the retail industry.

While the effectiveness of this tactic may be debatable, it serves as a reminder that our shopping habits have significant political and social implications. The Christmas season presents opportunities not only to celebrate and enjoy time with loved ones but also to advocate for social justice and equity.

In conclusion, this article has examined the role of religion, Marxism, and Black Lives Matter in shaping the contemporary understanding of Christmas. Through examining survey data and critical analysis, we have seen that religion remains important to some, while others view it as a manifestation of commercialism and consumer culture.

Marxist analysis provides insight into how corporations and advertisers manipulate the masses into excessive spending, leading to materialism and consumption that can negatively impact children. The Black Lives Matter movement has brought attention to the ways in which systemic racism infiltrates all aspects of American society, including the holiday season, and has led to calls to boycott “white corporations” in favor of supporting black-owned businesses.

Overall, this article highlights how Christmas celebrations are complex and multifaceted, shaped by a range of social, economic, and political forces. FAQs:

Q: What is the significance of religion during Christmas?

A: While the religious significance of Christmas varies depending on one’s beliefs, it remains an important part of the holiday for many people. Q: What is Marxist analysis of Christmas?

A: Marxist analysis of Christmas views it as an opportunity for corporations to manipulate individuals into excessive spending and consumer culture, thereby maintaining social inequality. Q: How does the Black Lives Matter movement intersect with Christmas shopping?

A: The Black Lives Matter movement has led to calls to boycott “white corporations” in favor of supporting black-owned businesses as a means of disrupting systemic racism in the retail industry. Q: How does this article address feminist critiques of Christmas?

A: The article discusses the gendered expectations and burden placed on women during the holiday season, which reinforce gender stereotypes and maintain patriarchal societal structures. Q: Is the Boycott White Christmas campaign an effective tactic?

A: The effectiveness of this campaign is debatable and has been criticized by some for potentially hurting workers who rely on big-box stores for their livelihoods and for not addressing the root causes of systemic racism.

Q: What is the social construction of Christmas?

A: The social construction of Christmas refers to the way in which it is celebrated and understood by society, which is shaped by a range of cultural, historical, and economic factors.

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