It’s enough to make the baby Jesus cry

It’s enough to make the baby Jesus cry

The Ann Summers company, purveyors of fine erotica, has come out tops in a ‘badvent’ calendar poll conducted by the Ship of Fools website.

SoF started out with 30 Advents calendars:

All of them having minimal to no connection with the original Christmas story, and all of them suggested by our readers. Then we whittled it down to eight finalists –  including calendars devoted to whisky, heavy metal and dogs – and asked you to vote on the one most likely to make the Baby Jesus cry.

The Ann Summers Naughty Advent Calendar, above, scooped over 50 percent of the vote. As you can see, the model on the cover is wearing only a smouldering expression, and has lovely baubles.

The gold, frankincense and myrrh of Christmas is replaced behind each window with “24 tasty milk chocolate willies, boobs and bums”.

Said SoF:

Trust Anne Summers to remind us that reproductive organs were part of the Bethlehem story.

In second place is the Nail Varnish Advent Calendar, made by Ciate, featuring a 24 piece mini nail polish collection:

Perfect for glamming up on the back of a donkey heading for Bethlehem. And in third place, the dependably vacuous Barbie Advent Calendar, with a new fashion accessory for your Barbie every day of the festive season.

Advent calendars have been around for 100 years at least, and have always been a winning mixture of sweets, surprises and stories about the first Christmas.

But SoF thinks:

It’s a shame to see all that disappearing as big companies make as much money as they can selling cheap chocolate. Almost all the calendars on the market make no contribution to charity and do not have fairtrade chocolate.

Francis Goodwin of Christmas Starts with Christ, a church campaign that aims to tackle the disappearance of Jesus from Christmas, said this about the Ann Summers calendar:

This is a perfect example of the famous H L Mencken quote: ‘No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public’.’We wish Ms Summers and her followers a fun-filled Christmas, but hope they might spare a moment to remember whose coming we really await.

The CSWC site laments the fact that:

Just 12 per cent of adults know the nativity story, and more than one-third of children don’t know whose birthday it is. Meanwhile, 51 per cent of people now say the birth of Jesus is irrelevant to their Christmas.

It is hoping to”reverse” this trend with an array of new posters, new radio commercials and “other great resources for churches and groups to use”.

Meanwhile, SoF readers discovered just one calendar which tells the Christmas story, is filled with Fairtrade chocolate, and through which money is donated from every sale to charity. But The Meaningful Chocolate Company‘s Real Advent Calendar faces tough competition in a crowded UK market in which 10 million calendars are sold each year.

Said David Marshall, producer of the calendar:

People now have a choice when shopping at Tesco. Do they want to share the values of Ken and Barbie or Mary and Joseph? Do they want to buy the cheapest chocolate calendar or buy Fairtrade and know growers get a fair price? Is the build-up to Christmas all about profit or a time to be charitable?

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

27 responses to “It’s enough to make the baby Jesus cry”

  1. Angela_K says:

    “…more than one-third of children don’t know whose birthday it is”.

    I don’t suppose many know the 25th December is Humphrey Bogart’s birthday either.

    As we approach the time of year of excess and when the TV is flooded with ghastly advertisements and the shops full of seasonal tat, no doubt we’ll have the usual whinging christians complaining about the lack of religious cards in the shops. and that the BBC isn’t transmitting enough christian propaganda.

  2. Paul Cook says:

    Why is Andy Murray modelling for advent calendars? I know he’s crap at tennis, but……

  3. barriejohn says:

    Angela: The Winter Solstice is now a Christian festival. Once again the blinkered religiots can’t see beyond their own narrow existence.

    Did you all notice George Scarey clambering aboard yet another passing bandwagon?

    The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said: ‘The commercialisation of these calendars does sadden me because they miss something deeply important about Advent and the Christmas story.’


  4. barriejohn says:

    More bad news: Cadbury is discontinuing its Christmas chocolate coins. “We’re all doomed!”

  5. Broga says:

    Christians need not worry. Their licence fee funded broadcasting channel will provide them with all the propaganda they could want. Over Christmas the impression given, and intended, is that the entire country is Christian. In between the propaganda there will be plenty of crap programmes to dull minds not already sufficiently stunned by the propaganda.

  6. AgentCormac says:

    I can’t remember the last time I heard anybody say they were looking forward to xmas, or that they were enjoying it when it arrived.On the contrary, all you ever hear is people bemoaning the fact that it has come around again so quickly. If nobody but a minority of xtians actually wants xmas, we should do away with the bloody thing. It is nothing more than outdated superstitious claptrap, commercial overkill (our local garden centre started flogging xmas tat in September), insincere bon homie and an excuse for people to get pissed, throw up in shop doorways and try to molest the girl (or boy) from accounts. At the very most we should be asked to endure it once every five years.

  7. zombiehunter says:

    These Christians may condemn ann summers but chances are plenty of them are regular customers.

    Personally I am looking forward to xmas and always do it’s never been about religion with my family and it’s always been more about getting the family together and reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the year to come and my wee niece and nephew have made xmas way more fun again too 🙂

  8. AgentCormac says:

    There goes my theory – thanks, zombiehunter!

  9. Angela_K says:

    AgentCormac, I agree. My partner and I try as much as possible to avoid the xmas bollocks. Bah Humbug!

  10. Broga says:

    I’m waiting for the first Christian complaint that displaying the crib has been banned somewhere or other. On investigation, the statement is always revealed as a lie.

  11. barriejohn says:

    Broga: So predictable that it even has its own Wikipedia entry!

  12. Matt Westwood says:

    Isaac Newton’s birthday, of course. Oh, and it’s the day after Lemmy and Carol Vorderman celebrate their birthdays.

  13. Broga says:

    @barriejohn; Thanks for the Wikipedia entry. That led me to explore some of the pagan origins of what is usually associated with a Christian Christmas e.g. “some condemn the Christmas tree because they believe that the custom of cutting down a tree, erecting it in the home and decorating it is a Pagan custom.”

    We can find pagan origins in the custom of hanging up holly. And much else around Christmas which is a pagan festival purloined by Christianity. Interesting associations with Scandanavia also which interest me as I think I might have a “dash of Viking blood” (to adapt from Tony Hancock) as a result of a female relative being raped by a Viking on the Isle of Lewis a very long time ago. (That is my theory based on somewhat flimsy evidence.)

    I enjoy Christmas as a pagan festival and we have holly and berries (plenty in the garden) to hang up; a Christmas tree; presents (good chance to stock up on books) and getting the family (or some of it) together. I also like many Christmas Carols and I can’t help that as they are ingrained into me from childhood. I also think that it is a time when it is better, or at least more satisfying, to give than to receive.

    Religion or church attendance doesn’t feature in our Christmas which, to support AgentCormac, seems to me to be a festival of tat.

  14. Stephen Turner says:

    Has Lemmy out of Motorhead married Carol Vorderman then?

  15. barriejohn says:

    Broga: I agree with everything that you say, and having Irish ancestry I may well share your Viking blood as well! I am much happier celebrating Yuletide now than I was when a Christian. Christians realize that it’s all pagan customs dressed up as a Christian festival, and the old guilt that they seem to love so much is nagging away at them and preventing them from enjoying themselves (as per usual). That’s why they can’t just get on with their own seasonal celebrations, but have to agitate to make sure that they are using the season as an “opportunity” to “witness for Christ”, etc, etc, etc. The more screwed up they are the more zealously they will endeavour to squeeze some spiritual advantage from what they see as a “materialistic” celebration. They are sad and pathetic, and much to be pitied.

  16. tonye says:

    I always knew that picture, taken in my youth, would come back to haunt me…………………………………………….

  17. Broga says:

    @tonye: Funny. Love your sense of humour.

  18. Matt Westwood says:

    @tonye: Funny, pictures like that do.

    I was in my mid 20s when my gf and I bought a Polaroid camera (at the time the only practical way to take photographs that didn’t need a 3rd party or a photographic laboratory), took some pics of each other in the nuddy and flogged them to a wank mag. The money we got for them paid for the camera.

    Upwards of a decade later, well after we had gone our amicable separate ways, *both* of our prospective partners recognised us from our photos in that magazine, dug out the offending mag from their collections, and gleefully pinned those pictures up on their metaphorical kitchen cork-boards.

    (Okay, I confess I was actually delighted, I thought it was really funny.)

  19. Some years ago, I wrote a short piece for my work Facebook page (yes, we actually have one!) on the subject of Christmas. As a museum service, I thought that it might interest people. It’s only had three “likes”, so obviously, it didn’t.

    Never mind. The gist of what I wrote was that present-day Christians who get their knickers in a twist over the “secularisation” of Christmas have got the story exactly the wrong way round. The early church placed more emphasis on Easter and the resurrection of Jesus, and there is no record of the date of his birth (not even the year!) in the Gospels. Some have found that suspicious; it does look as if early Christians had no idea when their godman had lived and died, if he had ever been on earth in the first place.

    Around AD 200, the early Christian writer Clement of Alexandria recorded that the birth of Jesus was celebrated on the Egyptian date of 20 Pachon (the ninth month), which would be around 15 May. Shortly afterwards, the writer Sextus Julianus Africanus suggested in 221 that as the Annunciation was celebrated on the spring equinox, the birth of Jesus must have occurred nine months later, at the winter solstice (21 December). A work of 243 known as De Pascha Computus (‘On the Calculation of Easter’) placed his birth on 28 March. Obviously, in the third century, nobody had a clue.

    A lot of early Christians often seemed to be hostile to the whole idea of fixing a date for the birth of Jesus. In 245, the Church Father Origen railed against the celebration of birthdays, as this was something that “only sinners, like Pharaoh and Herod” did. Arnobius, writing in 303, mocked the idea that immortal gods – including Jesus – could have birthdays. It is not until the production of a work known as Chronographia in 354 that we have evidence that 25 December was celebrated as the birthday of Jesus (as well as of Sol Invictus). Some modern writers – especially those who like to promote fringe ideas about history and conspiracy theories – state confidently that Constantine I (306-337) ‘fixed’ the date of Christmas as 25 December, but there is no evidence for this whatsoever.

    By the end of the fourth century, many Christians believed that the date of 25 December had been chosen because it was the birthday of Sol Invictus, the god of the “unconquered sun”. His worship was introduced by the Emperor Elagablaus (AD 218-222) and his birthday soon became a popular public holiday. Those writers who put the blame or credit on Constantine I for choosing the date also often say that the same day was regarded as the birthday of Mithras, with no evidence: we do not know when the birth of Mithras was celebrated, if at all.

    It is possible, if unproven, that fourth-century Christians adopted a popular mid-winter holiday as the birthday of Jesus because it coincided neatly with nine months after the established date for the Annunciation. Whatever their reasons might have been, we can be sure that no-one in the ancient world really knew when Jesus was born but that they eventually settled on a date that would become very popular.

    So, next time a Christian complains that the True Meaning of Christmas has been lost, remind them that the True Meaning is that there never was a True Meaning of Christmas!

  20. barriejohn says:

    Keith F-M: No wonder you didn’t get many “likes” – that’s not what they want to hear! Fascinating stuff, though. Easter was the primary church festival until quite recently. Many of the stricter evangelicals refuse to celebrate birthdays, holding that life begins at conception. The only birthdays recorded in the Bible ended in tragedy, so they take their cue from that fact.

    I’m still chuckling over that little quote from Goodwin:

    We wish Ms Summers and her followers a fun-filled Christmas, but hope they might spare a moment to remember whose coming we really await.

    Maybe he’s not as innocent as he pretends to be!

  21. Robster says:

    That’s a strange word that “advent”. Got no idea what it means if anything. We get packs of weird people coming to the front door from a mob called the Seven Day Adventists trying to sell us their god/jesus nonsense along with a pack of Weet Bix. Perhaps advent is a word for people that can’t spell event. Sounds like a pro advertising campaign of some sort. The regular god/jesus nonsense is confusing enough without adding further weird to the collection.

  22. Matt Westwood says:

    “Advent” just means “coming” as in “approaching”. That is, an “adventist” is someone who takes great note of the fact that they are awaiting really hard for something. And the season of “advent” is nothing more than a pretentious way of celebrating the fact that xmas is coming.

  23. Newspaniard says:

    I always thought that dancing naked in the snow around a blazing Yule log sounded quite fun. Or did I make that up? I still have handkerchiefs, still in their boxes, from 3 decades ago (and I don’t use tissues). That was when I said “NO more”. I do love the social get-togethers and the overeating. Have you tried to find funny greetings cards which do not include farting and are actually funny. I used to like Far Side but you can’t find them these days. The Winter Solstice is a good time to check whether friends and relations are still alive.

  24. barriejohn says:

    And they are Seventh Day Adventists because not only do they believe in the “imminent” return of Jesus, but they still keep the seventh day of the week “holy”, as the Bible says. The descendants of the Bounty mutineers, on the Pitcairn Islands, are Adventists, as is that judge who was featured here recently flogging her books in court. There was extensive sexual abuse of young girls on the Pitcairn Islands , where little law prevailed, over a great many years, and trials were held in 2004, where all but one of the defendants were found guilty. As they keep saying: how can you have morality without religion?

  25. barriejohn says:

    Newspaniard: In pre-telephone days (the only person that we knew with one was married to a GPO engineer who drove one of those little green vans with a ladder on the top) my dear old nan used to send everyone in the family a thankyou letter immediately after Christmas. No one ever knew what to give her, so she was inundated with chocolates and handkerchiefs year upon year. She used to list all her presents, which invariably included “hanks”, and when she died she left cupboards full of them!

    The funniest Christmas cards in my experience are the Private Eye ones, though most people have already read them before they receive them, and they ARE a bit on the expensive side.

  26. Broga says:

    @Keith F-M: Thanks for your informative post on Christmas which fascinated me. I agree with barriejohn that this is information that Christians don’t want to hear. They would pay money to avoid it.

  27. barriejohn says:

    Broga: They actually know all this. The argument runs that the reason why so many aspects of the Christian story appear to have been “borrowed” from pagan religions is that “God” implanted the knowledge of himself and his “way of salvation” in mankind from earliest times (ie Adam and Eve), and that that is why the same themes crop up over and over again. Read this and weep: