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Vol 1 No. 9                       December 30, 2004 

The Shocking Truth About Christmas
an investigative report
by Hart Williams

Amidst this year’s constant drumbeat of “journalists” contending that Christmas is under siege from the dread scourge of secular humanism, the astonishing truth is that no reporter has undertaken the obvious strategem of polling the most basic expression of Christmas sentiment, based on the utterly uncoerced display of public attitudes towards the roiling Christmas controversy. This shocking fact stands in stark relief to our investigation of the Eugene/Springfield area’s expressed attitudes towards Christmas.

I am speaking, of course, about Christmas lights. There can be no doubt that the Christmas light displays seen around town give the clearest indication of the current state of “Christmas” in the regional culture -- “K-Happy” and “K-Love” and their endless menu of “mash notes to Jesus” as expressed in blandly constructed music notwithstanding.

The results are shocking, to say the least. The baby Jesus, and “JESUS” displays finished the Christmas season as a dismal, nearly last choice of displays, marginally even with Christmas “dove” displays, and lagging far behind the true titans of Yuletide -- even polling far behind the lowly candy cane -- as an expression of Christmas wishes from the masses.

Lux populi, lux Dei, to paraphrase the Latin.

The clearest emissary of the Yuletide spirit, as shown in the vast number of Christmas light displays was a string of “icicle” lights, garnering more locations and festooning more storm gutters than any other single Christmas element or symbol. Whether this is because of the reverence in which rain gutters are held by the populace in general or general slothfulness is not known.

According to sources, who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, there is a “white” element which cannot be entirely ignored, as the white-on-white icicle lights far outdistanced the far less numerous, more diverse multi-colored light displays.

According to public displays of lights, the true symbol of Christmas is the reindeer. Far and away the single most popular Christmas symbol displayed were lawn reindeer, whether in “sleigh” format or as standalones,  reindeer were adjudged, by a vast majority of the Christmas lighting populace, as the true symbol of Christmas. There were a certain number of red-nosed “Rudolph” displays, but, happily, the ubiquitous, anomalous reindeer was displayed comparatively more rarely than the generic “Dasher-Dancer-Donner-Blitzen” variety. Still -- and ominously -- even that mutant caribou was in greater evidence than Baby Jesus.

Comfortably in second place was the unsurprising ubiquity of displayed Santa Clauses. Whether as a standalone Claus, or as a subordinate Claus (filling out a sleigh/reindeer motif), the obese bringer-of-gifts-to-good-little-children was no more nor less in evidence than one would expect. Aside from the surprising showing of the reindeer, Santa Claus was as much in evidence as one would suppose in any given year. There has been little or no slippage in the Cult of Kris Kringle, at least according to the spontaneous electrical presentation of his many supporters and followers.

One of the greatest surprises of this season was a real shocker, however. I am speaking, of course, of Frosty the Snowman.

 Frosty displays were not merely up in significantly increased numbers, but the sheer size of the displays was disquieting. Several displays of the icy golem exceeded two meters in height, and in at least one case the illuminated sno-cone towered in excess of three meters. Frosty, according to one source, has always enjoyed a certain cultic status within the Christmas lighting community, but never before has the leering ice-ball been seen in such numbers.

Perhaps this Popsicle population explosion represents a reaction to global warming, but some have suggested even more sinister interpretations. (These are altogether too arcane and peculiar to elucidate further, but suffice to say that they represent the same genus of wild-eyed paranoia seen in Democrats’ claims of “stolen” elections in 2000 and 2004).

In a clime where snow is rarely seen, the sudden, partial omnipresence of Frosty is a mystery which bears further investigation.

Several minor Christmas characters were in evidence, albeit not even in the small numbers of the Baby Jesus: Toy Soldiers (some over 2 meters in height), Mickey Mouse (dressed in Dickensian togs), giant Gift Boxes, muppet characters and other various oversized representations of toys.

Christmas angels were somewhat popular, at least in relation to Baby Jesus displays, as were Christmas stars. Spirals of rope lights suspended from a central pole representing stylized Christmas trees were also seen with fair frequency. What these represent is the subject of wild controversy, although a fair number of local Sanskrit scholars attribute the displays to an arch representation of the helix of the ida and pingala channels coiling around the central sushuma pillar of the spine in tantric kundalini practice.

Given the nature of Eugene’s indigenous population of illuminati, this interpretation cannot be discounted. But the question remains: would tofu-eaters, committed as they are to sustainability, actively engage in wasteful electrical displays for a seasonal celebration to which they have little, if any, real loyalty? This contradiction cannot be readily answered by adherents of this theory.

Nonetheless, spiral rope-light trees still far out-poled (sic) electrical representations of the Infant of the Nativity.

The cable cabal seemed fixated on trees, this year as in years past, with an astonishing number of lighted trees. The odd factor in this was, again, that the vast majority of trees outlined with lights were deciduous trees which had already dropped their leaves, and not, as one would have expected, the traditional Douglas fir, spruce and other evergreens which grow in such abundance in Willamette Valley environs.

The question must be asked, again, why this odd juxtaposition? Even should we admit that evergreens or “Christmas Trees” have nothing whatsoever to do with the Viable Fetus of the Nativity, why this electrical aversion in favor of the decidedly pagan deciduous trees? Is there a secret message being sent here?

After all, given the paucity of larval Divine Offspring seen in lighting displays, a hidden agenda may be at work.

Most troubling of all, Wise Men were virtually absent this Christmas.


Hart Williams is a well-known local troublemaker.