Christmas, as we know it, is ostensibly centered on the birth of a Savior. A mystical being sent down from high in order to sacrifice himself for the dregs of society. This construct has and always will be illogical to me, and therefore is not relevant. However, there is one Christmas legend that espouses the tenants of my philosophy of Objectivism. It is Rudolph the Exceptionally-Nosed Reindeer.
Rudolph was born into a system of indentured servitude in the North Pole. Each Reindeer had little choice but to become a factory cog in the machine that is Santa Claus’ fascist operation. This tyrannical dictator wanted all of his pieces to fall in line because it was their duty. Elves, reindeer, even Mrs. Claus all were subjected to the myth of “duty.” They felt a moral obligation to perform certain actions for no other reason than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive desire, or interest. So it went with Rudolph.
However, Rudolph was born with an exceptional talent that the rest of his peers did not recognize. He had a shiny nose. As soon as this nose was revealed to be an asset, he was ostracized and outcast. All of the other reindeer feared that they would become obsolete with the development of his particular skill set. Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He too was probably burned at the stake. He had taught his brothers to light, but he left them a gift they had not conceived of: he lifted darkness off the earth. Rudolph was about to do the same.
Then one Christmas Eve came when the weather was decidedly inclimate. Clouds descended upon the world like the vapors of time. When Santa Claus knew that he could not make his deliveries without Rudolph skills, he approached the alienated reindeer and begged him to help. It seems to me that Rudolph could have abstained. He would be granting mercy to a man who showed him none in the past. However, Rudolph’s hatred for the man in the red suit was outweighed by his love of performing his work. He knew that he was born to lead sleigh teams on Christmas Eve.
The blinking red nose shone brightly in the fog and the presents were delivered on time, overcoming unthinkable odds. Rudolph lived happily ever after because happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.
This legend has fueled the part of Christmas which is perhaps the most beneficial, namely the commercialization. The gift-buying stimulates an enormous output of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give mankind pleasure.