(This article first appeared on Drinkuary.)
A few days back, a friend of mine linked me to an article on “Christian anger over booze filled advent calendars. Now, the person in question isn’t normally in the habit of reading the Daily Mail, so not quite sure how it caught their attention, but they thought it would be nice for me to have “some real Puritans to get [my] teeth into”. So with such a challenge I of course had to take a look at the article. In a completely unsurprising turn of events, the article is almost completely manufactured puff piece. Mr. Schofield talked about buying some boozy advent calendars, The Mail then lists many people you can buy such things from, and then phones up some Christian groups to get their response. These groups are what my friend obviously considered to be “real Puritans”. Sadly for anyone expecting them to be either angry or puritanical – their response could universally be summed up as;
“Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas not feasting and these calendars are a bit silly and a distraction from the religious meaning of the season. ”
No calls for the calendars to be banned. No demands for them to be subject to punitive tax. No demands for legislation to make sure people don’t have too many advent calendars. No demands that Mr. Schofield recant his heresy and wear sackcloth and ashes. Not even dire warnings of hellfire and damnation for those that partake of boozy frivolity. Really just
“Boozey advent calendars are missing the point and not really in the spirit of Advent.”
On the other hand; the likes of Alcohol Concern, Cancer research and the other usual suspects, do demand higher taxes to punish everyone on the grounds of a few problem drinkers. Do demand that alcohol be restricted via additional legislation. Do call for alcohol to be available in ever weaker amounts and from increasingly restricted outlets. Do demand that they be given ever more or our money to chastise us for daring to enjoy a drink and do try to sell us indulgences if we want to enjoy a drink with friends.
So, when it comes to identifying who the real Puritans are I’m quite comfortable that I know who we need to get our teeth into.