Christmas, capitalism and cartels: A hidden origin story

Chris Song, Staff Writer

Christmas is a joyous occasion where people gather and cherish their time with family and friends. Essential to this holiday are a variety of traditions that have their own unique origins, all extremely innocent in their development.

1. Gift-wrapping
The tradition of Christmas presents is deeply rooted in Chinese history, as General Re-puh Kift gift-wrapped the entire Great Wall of China to serve as a “present” to the Nomadic tribes north of the territory. Little did they know, this was a trap to ambush the enticed troops by hiding in the boxes, Trojan Horse style. In the spirit of this victory, China celebrates by gift-wrapping the entire Great Wall each year. To finance this, Chinese paper manufacturers sell gift-wrapping paper to gullible foreign nations, only to collect all of it back as recycled paper for the annual ceremony. This marketing campaign was so successful that China abandoned socialism for brief periods of time when the industry was most profitable.

2. Milk and Cookies
Long gone are the days when people actually used fireplaces and reindeers to receive their Christmas presents. In those days, however, the delivery industry was heavily cartelized, artificially increasing the prices of shipping services and, more importantly, setting Christmas Eve and Day as commercial holidays while stamping out competitors—including Santa. If families were to pay for reindeer delivery in cash, the Christmas cartels would detect such activity through their cash-sensing detectors and block Santa from delivering presents. Cookies, however, were unable to be detected by the cartel, making it a proper substitute for payments. Legend has it that Rudolph’s red nose was actually a giant pimple he developed from devouring too many buttery cookies during the Christmas season.

3. Christmas Trees
During those years of Santa’s delivery by reindeer, there remained a cult of delivery company operators that was unamused by Santa’s unwillingness to cooperate in industry cartelization. Furious at his profits, they created a ploy where they would decorate the area around the fireplaces of their houses with trees to make it seem as if he landed in the woods, not the intended house, leaving him puzzled and unable to do his job. Unsurprisingly, Santa was not fooled by the trees and instead left the presents at the bottom of the tree. Amused by how the tree and the present complement each other, he released a statement for the next Christmas saying that he would only provide services to houses with Christmas trees.

4. Stockings
It is evident that Christmas stockings were not meant to be worn by people, but reindeer. Santa’s reindeer constantly burnt through their stockings as they were zipping all around the world, causing a lot of pain in the hooves. Generous people started to provide stockings to Santa when he visited their home in case one of his reindeer was in need of one. With no knowledge of which reindeer needs which size, a general system of allocation was created in which every member of the family had their own stocking size to fulfill. The children would provide the smaller stockings for smaller hooved reindeer, while mothers and fathers would provide medium and large stocking sizes, respectively.