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Christmas as ReligionRethinking Santa, the Secular, and the Sacred$
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Christopher Deacy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754565

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754565.001.0001

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What is Christmas?

What is Christmas?

(p.17) 1 What is Christmas?
Christmas as Religion

Christopher Deacy

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with a discussion of the special, even extraordinary, way in which Christmas has such a monopoly on our lives, irrespective of geographical location and how its observance is inescapable and mandatory, yet at the same time it is a festival replete with paradox. Might Christmas be construed as a site of transformation and an oasis of the transcendent within a festival itself characterized by a surfeit of consumption? Like the biblical notion of the New Jerusalem, could it even refashion the relationship between the past, present, and future and function eschatologically, encompassing the quest for perfection and fulfilment? Rather than dismiss so many of the accoutrements of Christmas, such as magical and supernatural worlds as evoked in Christmas films, as trite and diversionary, this chapter draws on the analogy of escapism to address the transformative possibility engendered by the fantasy–realism dichotomy.

Keywords:   paradox, sacred time, New Jerusalem, eschatology, escapism, communitas

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