On Random Weirdness

I’m milling about Barnes & Noble after work, two paperbacks in one hand, a Caffe Mocha in the other. I don’t have anywhere I need to be, I’m in no rush to go home, so I’ve been wandering aimlessly through the store. Up at the front there’s a display of Christmas cards, a whole table full, and I realize with some weariness that Christmas is only around the corner, two months, but still. I don’t really need more Christmas cards; I have some left from last year that I can use this coming Christmas, but I go and take a look anyway.

“Do you have any Lord of the Rings Christmas cards?”

I look around. The only person in the vicinity is a woman, middle-aged, slightly frumpy, glasses. “Excuse me?” I reply.

Lord of the Rings Christmas cards. Do you have any?”

Let’s consider the fact that I don’t work for Barnes & Noble for a moment. People must think I work in every retail establishment–I must have that “presence” or somesuch.

My eyes narrow. I blink rapidly, several times. Confusion abounds. My voice hardens. “Lord of the Rings Christmas cards. You’re looking for Lord of the Rings Christmas cards.”

She bobs her head excitedly, oblivious to the incredulity in my voice. “Yes, yes, absolutely. Something with Hobbits around a Christmas tree.”

I breathe deeply. “Are you out of your mind? Lord of the Rings Christmas cards? Do you realize how stupid a question that is?” I’m practically shrill.

“What do you mean?” How she wasn’t insulted I can’t fathom.

“They don’t celebrate Christmas in Middle-Earth. They don’t even have religion in Middle-Earth. And you want Christmas cards? Don’t you realize how tacky that is? For frell’s sake, I hope the Tolkien estate never endorses something so patently insipid.”

That insulted her, and she stormed off elsewhere in the store, doubtless to tell someone on duty what a terrible staffer I was.

Hobbits and Christmas trees. Some ideas are just too stupid to think about.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

8 thoughts on “On Random Weirdness

  1. Although nothing is ever explicitly stated, the "good guy" societies of "The Lord of the Rings" are quite Christian. Wasn’t Tolkien something of a religious scholar, contemporary to and a friend of C.S. Lewis?

    The Lord of the Rings is as blatant a Christian allegory as the Narnia series, but parallels do exist. This website explores some of them, and this website explores some others. They’re interesting reads.

  2. Do you suppose most people actually realise WHAT Christmas really is? It has now become just a time to eat,drink and be merry and spend too much money. I wish the shops would wait until December before putting up decorations and selling cards.

    How do you feel about Dr Who Christmas cards 🙂

    Gillian (who is not herself a Christian, but does buy cards and presents)

  3. Wow, allyn..you’re like all grinchy and everything, and it’s not even Halloween yet.

    There isn’t christmas in Star Wars, yet R2-D2 sings christmas carols..

  4. I really don’t like how much commercial Christmas has gotten.

    -A store where I needed to get yard stuff (grass junk. this is the time of year to do it), was packed away so Christmas (cheap stuff) could be displayed.

    -Retail stores have silly shopping hours. I used to work retail (department stores). You really want to know how many people were shopping at 10:30 at night? Not many (We used to make jokes about rolling a bowling ball and not hitting a single customer). Besides, as a employee, do you want to work till 10, 11 or midnight so that 1 customer can mill around and shoplift? (sorry, bad experiences)

    So yes, Hobbits would be over the top.

  5. One musn’t forget that Christmas is a profoundly pagan tradition dating all the way back to ancient Babylon, when the "Feast of the Son of Isis" was celebrated at the Winter solstice. The giving of gifts was part of this tradition. The Romans later adopted the holiday as "Saturnalia," in honor of Saturn, and began the custom of going door-to-door singing songs. Meanwhile, in Scandanavia they practiced the "Yule" in honor of the sun god, Mithras. They would bring evergreen trees indoors and decorate them as affirmation that crops and plants would indeed grow once again come springtime.

    Jesus wasn’t born in winter. He was born during a census, which would never be conducted in wintertime. And the shepherds were out tending their flocks at night, which was a summertime practice (’cause it was too damn hot in the desert during the day). In 350 CE, Pope Julius I pronounced that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25, for no other reason except convenience–it was ALREADY the universally accepted holiday season.

    So in light of all that, would hobbits decorate trees in their cozy hobbit-holes in wintertime? Ehh, who knows? Doubtful that they’d worship a guy nailed to a tree, but I’m sure they could find something to celebrate with gifts, food and song… if for no other reason except to have gifts, food and song.

  6. You people should get a life and let people buy what they like. Don’t give me that crap about how Christmas has become "too commercial". When was the last time you said I don’t want any gifts this year, please give the money you were going to spend on me to someone who really needs.

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