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Hillsdale stu­dents have had various reac­tions to the Christmas season throughout the years, some taking a more Grinch-like view than I would like to see in this aca­demic insti­tution. 

In the Dec. 19, 1933 edition of The Col­legian, a con­cerned student wrote, “In this enchanting world of ours — enchanting because it is such a dear higgedly-piggedly mass of con­tra­dic­tions — nothing is so silly as to deride Christmas.” 

If I’m being honest, I don’t know what that quote means. I don’t think I under­stand more than three words of that sen­tence.

The student clar­ified, “To deride Christmas is to commit an unfor­givable social sin — the sin of humorless, unimag­i­native solemnity.”

After this def­i­n­ition, the author finally pointed out his real enemy: people who refuse to find Christ is Christmas. 

He wrote, “They grieve our very souls, these literal-minded, con­tentious little persons who gravely draw us aside to say: ‘Christmas is not the birthday of Jesus. We have no legal proof that he even existed. Christmas is a trademan’s holiday, devised to unload upon us all the worthless mer­chandise that they couldn’t get rid of by legit­imate means.’” 

How does this con­cerned student ame­liorate the trans­gres­sions of the “con­tentious, little persons?” Of course only by writing a full article cor­recting their mis­takes. 

He writes, “There are times when a delib­erate absurdity — an intel­lectual mon­keyshine, as it were — becomes the only fitting conduct to civ­i­lized and gentle people. These mon­keyshines are cer­tainly in place at Christmas — not to speak of the Fourth of July, Labor Day, New Year’s and Thanks­giving.” 

When’s the last time you’ve heard someone use the word ‘mon­keyshine?’ It’s been a minute for me I must admit. 

The author jus­tifies the ‘mon­keyshine’ with this logic: “Christmas mer­chan­dising has a certain grace and joy that everyday barter usually lacks.” 

As far as I know, ‘everyday barter’ lacks a lot more than grace and joy. 

The author con­tinues, “Christmas trading is for profit, we grant you. It is hard, however, to imagine any­thing we do that is not for profit. If you are in the habit of reducing things to their lowest common denom­i­nator, it is easy enough to see that the loftiest, most dis­in­ter­ested and char­i­table action is really for profit — profit to your immortal soul.” 

It is at this point that for the sake of saving the Christmas spirit, I stopped reading the article. 

In order to lighten my mood, I turned to the Dec. 16, 1920 issue of The Col­legian, where the paper pub­lished an article entitled “Christmas in Old Russia”. 

Yes, this was an entire article describing Christmas cel­e­bra­tions in Russia prior to World War I. 

Without a single source cited or a point made about its con­nection to Hillsdale, the author of this article began, “Before the war, Russian customs at Yule-tide were many and varied.” 

The author described these tra­di­tions: “One was the singing of their ancient Kolyada songs, com­posed cen­turies ago by writers whose names have not come down with their songs.” 

He con­tinued, “On Christmas Eve the people fasted until the first service in church. Then they always has­tened home and got to bed early in order that they might have the pleasant Christmas Eve dream, which was sure to come true.” 

It’s not that this infor­mation is not inter­esting; I am just con­fused why it was pub­lished in The Col­legian. On the list of issues rel­evant to Hillsdale stu­dents, this has to be close to the bottom. 

The downward spiral of a Col­legian Christmas con­tinued with an article printed on Dec. 25, 1913. 

And before I con­tinue with the content, I am going to pause to say that I am thor­oughly impressed with the ded­i­cation of early 1900s Col­legian jour­nalists. Not only did they work through the holiday break, they even pub­lished on Christmas Day.  

However, the article entitled ‘The Twen­tieth Century Christmas’ was not quite as joyous.

The article begins, “Since the first Christmas Day, when the spirit of Christmas was born, through the long line of ages there has come down to society of today, that soul of Christmas which is the essence of the joy that floods the world at the holiday season.” 

What an elo­quent way of saying “It’s the most won­derful time of the year.” 

The author took a dark turn as he con­tinued, “But how dim and flick­ering may this spirit grow when clouded by a veil of super­fi­cial­ities.” 

I asked for snow this Christmas, not a dark rain cloud. 

The article reads, “The soul of beauty, and joy and love which for cen­turies has lent a glow to the season is smothered into shadow by the hurry and bustle of formal pro­cedure.”

The author con­cludes with this warning: “Let us not tarnish the beauty of Christmas by a coating of the rush and bustle of the live-long year.” 

I hate to point out the obvious, but this author needs to learn to lead by example: if you want to slow down during Christmas, why are you pub­lishing the student news­paper on Dec. 25th? 

Despite this, I must rec­ommend to follow the author’s warning and advise that all Hillsdale stu­dents focus on the Christmas spirit instead of studying for finals in the upcoming week.