A few days ago I mildly criticized kitschmas. One of the points I made was that kitsch doesn’t measure up to Camp because Camp tries to be serious while kitsch doesn’t even bother.
Thus, it seems, Camp can give us a strange sort of just pleasure in that we can get the point even while the producer of the Camp doesn’t, while kitsch only gives us pleasure if we are the ones missing the point. Maybe.
So I’ve been thinking a little since then about why Christmas tends toward kitsch.
Let me draw an incident from my life and see if this serves any purpose. The church I attend now celebrates communion on Christmas morning at 9:30, same time as Sunday morning.
No church I attended previously did so; at least, not so far as I recall.
So we weren’t in the habit, as a family, of going to church to celebrate the birth of Christ. We did it at home with cinammon rolls, ostentatiously wrapped gifts, a tree out of Thomas Kincade or Currier and Ives, and all the normal Christmas trappings.
What, Karen asked me, are we going to do this year?
I found myself immediately confronted with a rather ironic situation. Would we go to church to celebrate communion on Christ-Mass, or would we stay home and celebrate Christ-Mass with our family.
You might ask, is Christmas a family holiday or a Church holiday?
Suddenly I realized that all my life I had been treating Christmas as a semi-secular holiday, personalized, oriented toward the family.
What do you think? Is that appropriate? Do you think that tendency might move us toward kitsch because we want the holiday for our sake, rather than for the sake of the One who dwells in unapproachable light but veiled Himself with flesh and blood?