In 1875 Louis Prang became the first printer to offer Christmas cards in America thereby beginning a tradition that would test the mettle of fundamentalists everywhere: The Yearly Quest For A Fundy-Approved Christmas Card.
This Quest For the Card is no job for the faint of heart since the perfect card must meet a stringent list of fundamentalist qualifications. Not only must it contain text from the Authorized King James Version but that text must also be matched to the theme of the enclosed gospel tract. It would be unthinkable to spend the postage to send a card and not enclose a copy of Humbug.
What’s more, the picture on the front of the card must be reflective of fundamentalist values. Stars are good. Bibles on a bed of pine branches are good. Nativities, however, are only good if nobody in the scene is sporting a Catholic halo and the wise men are absent. (If no wise-men-free cards are available a disclaimer note may be place on the reverse side.)
If the hours spent scouring every store in town for a suitable card proves fruitless, don’t despair. You can order a pre-approved selection from Sword of the Lord for the low, low price of $6 per dozen.
It’s is widely accepted dogma in fundamentalism that Santa is an evil creature invented to subvert the hearts of men from the true meaning of Christmas: a time to celebrate Christ’s birth by giving the pastor a new suit and his yearly bonus.
Such is the hatred for all things related to Mr. Claus that every bit of Christmas decorating, cards, postage stamps, and gift-giving must be scrutinized for traces of that scurrilous saint. These traces may include depictions of reindeer, the North Pole, cookies, milk, beards, chimneys, sleighs, and Will Ferrell. Even songs with references to children listening for sleigh bells in the snow may be accused of venerating the jolly old elf.
Wrapping paper must be scrutinized. Decorations must be carefully examined. Christmas cards received from relatives or friends bearing traces of Santa must be hidden away or disposed of all together. No whiff or trace of the man in the red suit shall be allowed to sully this most holy of seasons.
Now hurry up and write the pastor his check.
For most folks ’tis the season to be jolly but fundamentalists don’t do anything quite the way everyone else in “the world” does it and Christmas is no exception. For the next several days, SFL will be featuring posts about Christmas experiences in Fundyland.
So hang up your stocking, put on your Burl Ives Christmas LP, and prepare to get in the fundy Christmas mood…