The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Sojourner
Con (against)
Winning
28 Points

Christmas should be cancelled

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Sojourner
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/7/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,788 times Debate No: 13940
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (3)
Votes (5)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Public holidays relating to the Christian faith such as Christmas Day should be scrapped for the following reasons:

1 – The vast majority of people in the West do not practice Christianity: the United States has the highest number of churchgoers for a developed nation at 25%, whereas in Northern European countries church attendance ranges between 3-12 %. Why then is a celebration associated with a religious minority foisted upon the entire nation? [1]

2 – As businesses shut down for Christmas Day the lost productivity costs industry trillions of dollars: the GDP of the European Union and the United States alone is USD30,533,747 million which means that Christmas costs US and EU firms $83.65 trillion dollars every year. [2]

3 – Shopping for Christmas presents is not only enormously stressful but parents are encouraged by advertisers and through peer pressure to spend more than they can afford on gifts for their children: 52% of families with low and middle incomes turn to high interest debt to cover the cost of Christmas; money that would be better spent on their children's health and education. [3]

So come on, it's not too late to cancel Christmas this year: tell all your friends and family that you are not buying into the whole Christmas malarky; lobby your political representative to have the Christmas public holiday withdrawn and, of course, vote Pro!

Thank you.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...(nominal)
[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk...
Sojourner

Con

Thanks for your post, and allow me to wish you seasons greetings. This is my very first debate, so I apologize in advance for any procedural errors.

From your opening remarks, I am not sure whether you are advocating for the removal of Christmas Day as a public holiday, or arguing for the complete ban of Christmas celebration altogether (or both). My confusion stems from your point # 3 regarding the stress caused by shopping for Christmas, advertising, etc. I do not see what effecting removing Christmas as a public holiday would have on shopping stress or advertising. Your clarification here would be appreciated.

That said, and to be on the safe side, I will argue against canceling Christmas altogether, and hopefully address the public holiday issue in the process.

I will first make my case for not canceling Christmas, and then attempt to rebut your arguments.

C1-It is not necessarily religious.
It is true that the historical roots of Christmas stem from the religious tradition of celebrating the birth of Christ, but if one looks back at the tradition even farther, the pre-Christian origins of the winter celebration are clear. [1]

Over time, Christmas has certainly become increasingly secularized. It has evolved into more of a cultural event focused on joy and giving, rather than a strict religious observance.

This is supported by the US Courts when addressing suits brought on by those seeking to end Christmas as a public holiday due to the establishment clause of the US Constitution. The courts ruled that Christmas, "has a valid secular purpose, it does not have the effect of endorsing religion in general or Christianity in particular, and it does not impermissibly cause excessive entanglement between church and state." [2]

Christmas is at a point now where it can be comfortably celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike. I have many non-Christian friends who vigorously engage in Christmas celebrations. Why even the renown atheist Richard Dawkins celebrates the holiday. [3]

C2-Charitable giving increases during the holidays
Surveys show that charitable giving increases during the holiday season. I acknowledge that the reason for the increase might be due to many factors not necessarily associated with Christmas (last minute donations for tax purposes, needs of the poor due to cold weather, etc), but it is clear that a tradition of giving during Christmas has a significant impact in increased donations. [4]

C3-Economic Benefits
My arguments for the economic benefit of Christmas will be addressed as part of my rebuttal.

C4-It's just plain fun
People derive great joy from the traditions associated with Christmas. Here are just a few examples:
• The eager anticipation of the holiday
• Family and friends coming together
• Great food (and drink for that matter – I love eggnog)
• Singing Christmas carols
• Exchanging gifts
• Trimming the tree
• Mistletoe
• Sharing the joys of laughter and good cheer
And if you are really against the whole Christmas celebration, the good news is that participation is optional.

Rebuttal
"1 – The vast majority of people in the West do not practice Christianity: the United States has the highest number of churchgoers for a developed nation at 25%, whereas in Northern European countries church attendance ranges between 3-12 %. Why then is a celebration associated with a religious minority foisted upon the entire nation?"

Church Attendance is not a pre-requisite of Christianity. A person is a Christian if they consider themselves a follower of Christ. How they chose to manifest that personal designation is, well, personal. The bottom line is that Christians are not a minority in the US or UK. 76% of the US population [5] and 72% in the UK [6] consider themselves Christian.

"2 – As businesses shut down for Christmas Day the lost productivity costs industry trillions of dollars: the GDP of the European Union and the United States alone is USD30,533,747 million which means that Christmas costs US and EU firms $83.65 trillion dollars every year."

It is unreasonable to assume that GDP in the US and the European Union comes to a complete stand still on Christmas day. I can tell you from personal experience that I've unfortunately had to work on Christmas Day several times.
The truth is that Christmas has a huge beneficial impact to the economy as Kathleen Antriim's column outlines [7]. If we were to end Christmas, consider all of the retail, manufacturing and ancillary business that would be effected. Furthermore, if you are seriously complaining about the net GDP loss for declaring a public holiday, should we not also get rid of New Year's Day as well?

"3 – Shopping for Christmas presents is not only enormously stressful but parents are encouraged by advertisers and through peer pressure to spend more than they can afford on gifts for their children: 52% of families with low and middle incomes turn to high interest debt to cover the cost of Christmas; money that would be better spent on their children's health and education"

You've obviously never met my wife, as she actually considers Christmas shopping a relaxing experience. It sounds like your gripe is with stress, advertising, peer pressure and people who spend irresponsibly. The mere fact that Christmas is involved does not warrant its removal. People get fat from eating too much food, but food is not the problem, people's behavior is the problem. Cancelling Christmas is not the solution. People taking personal responsibility is. I can absolutely guarantee you that if we end Christmas, people will still get stressed, people will still experience peer pressure, people will still spend irresponsibly, and advertisers will still advertise. It is unfortunate, but true.

Conclusion
Christmas is enjoyed by a vast majority of people, Christian and non-Christian alike. We should embrace it as a wonderful time of year. Let the kids open their presents on Christmas Morning, and let Mom & Dad have a day off so they can join their kids in the celebration.

Sources
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.becketfund.org...
[3] http://writerchick99.wordpress.com...
[4] http://www.thestreet.com...
[5] http://religions.pewforum.org...
[6] http://www.communities.gov.uk...
[7] http://dev.www.washingtonexaminer.com...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and I consider it an honour to engage him in his first debate one this site.

My overall observation from his arguments is that my opponent actually genuinely enjoys celebrating Christmas – he is one of the lucky few – like many others I dread Christmas Day as I have to spend it with my family: being nice even though I might not feel like being nice; playing ridiculous parlour games and watching inane television programmes like the Strictly Come Dancing [1] Christmas Special and - and here's what I really resent - NOT GOING TO THE PUB, not only because my family considers it bad mannered to abandon them but because also because most of the pubs are CLOSED ON CHRISTMAS DAY!

And on top of all that, I have to waste time buying my family presents – every Christmas Eve I tell them not to get me anything so that I won't have to get them anything, but they every year they play the same trick and tell me that they have already bought me gifts so I am more or less obliged to go to the 24-hour garage and buy them family-sized bags of M&M's; road atlases; brake fluid; wiper blades or whatever.

Anyway, just to clarify, I was only arguing that the public holiday on 25th December should be withdrawn, not that Christmas should be banned – people should be allowed to take annual leave to celebrate religious festivals just as Jews take time off for Chanukah and Muslims take time off for Eid al-Adha – but if it wasn't officially recognised Christmas' popularity would wane and it would no longer be considered mandatory to go shopping for presents.

Moving on to the debate, I will accept my opponent's argument that being a Christian doesn't mean you have to go to church, or pray, or believe in God and that, in any case, Christmas has become divorced from it's religious origins.

I also accept that not economic activity ceases on Christmas Day but it still costs industry a fortune and I don't agree that the New Year's Day public holiday should be cancelled because people go out and get drunk and party all night on New Year's Eve and would, therefore, be worse than useless the next day at work.

Now, I would like to specifically address my opponent's assertion that Christmas is "fun" as follows:

For "The eager anticipation of the holiday" read: "months of enduring incredibly aggravating Christmas adverts".

For "Family and friends coming together" read suffering

For "Great food" read "putting up with hour after hour of your wife / mother droning on about how long it took her to shop for it and cook it."

For " Singing Christmas carols" read "Having to tell carol singers to come back at Christmas and to clear off before you set the dogs on them."

For "Exchanging gifts" read "having to fight your way through the crowds of Christmas shoppers for the privilege of spending money on presents that people probably won't like and then have to pretend to like what they bought you."

For "Trimming the tree" read "waste valuable drinking time down the pub on Christmas Eve trying top get the damned fairy lights to work."

For "Mistletoe" read "Having to kiss the fat woman from next door."

For "Sharing the joys of laughter and good cheer" read "Arguing about cheating at charades and being shouted at for drinking too much."

For "And if you are really against the whole Christmas celebration, the good news is that participation is optional" read "no matter how much you protest, participation in the annual family get-together is never ‘optional'."

Finally, I do realise that some people are irresponsible with money and will get into debt regardless, but surely we shouldn't give them encouragement to do so?

In conclusion, I've had enough of Christmas already and it hasn't even arrived yet – next year I'm going to spend December on some remote island in the South Pacific drinking exotic cocktails served by topless Polynesian girls with names like Lei-Mi and Fuki-Fuki and forget about the "festive season" altogether.

Thank you.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Sojourner

Con

Well, I have to admit I really enjoyed your comments in the last round, and on behalf of us Christmas celebrators, please accept my deepest regrets that the holiday is a source of such misery for you. Your plan to spend next year's Christmas with the suggestively named Polynesian girls sounds like a good one. I hope you get the day off to extend your enjoyment of the experience.

Also, thanks for the clarification that the primary argument is the removal of December 25th as a public holiday. Since you have conceded the central points of my arguments (post hangover New Years not withstanding) I'll simply leave you with this.

I'm not sure if they close the pub's on Christmas in the UK, but if they do, please cross the pond and join me at the local bar (many are open) for a pint. It gets you away from family, and you receive a free beer as a result. I promise not to toast to anything but your good health and prosperity.

Thanks for a fun debate.
Debate Round No. 2
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by annhasle 3 years ago
annhasle
ROFL.

brian, you are my hero. xD
Posted by EuphoricTurtle 3 years ago
EuphoricTurtle
If it bothers you that much just don't celebrate it. Go learn how to knit or something it shouldn't bother you people are being happy and giving to charity.
Posted by zach12 3 years ago
zach12
Maybe the US economy comes to a standstill on Christmas day, but all the buying in anticipation of the holiday more than makes up for it.
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