“… and call off Christmas” is one of the most memorable lines from 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The line was intended to display the sheriff of Nottingham’s mean spirited nature, but today the line evokes a very different meaning.

This is not an attack on the religious nature of Christmas. The vast majority of Americans, including Atheists like myself, are sick and tired of the leftist whiners who want to prevent us from wishing each other “Merry Christmas” because someone somewhere might be offended. There’s almost nothing you can do in this life without offending some busybody somewhere.

The drive to call off Christmas comes not from a fear of religion, but from deep concern over the economic hardships which are coming in the next few years. Frankly, we can no longer afford Christmas.

We are four years into the “great recession” and there are no signs of the long-awaited “green shoots” of economic growth. The hoped for V-shaped recovery and the promised U-shaped recovery never happened. Instead, we’re seeing an L-shaped recovery, which is no recovery at all.

This holiday season, Americans will spend somewhere around half a trillion dollars celebrating Christmas. Unfortunately, that’s half a trillion dollars that American’s just don’t have. The national debt is out of control. It is currently $16.28 trillion and rising. That’s $50,721 per citizen or $141,899 per taxpayer. Canceling Christmas entirely won’t make that problem go away, but it would be a damned good start.

This holiday season, why not set aside the rush of travel and gift buying and replace it with some actual religious observance? We Atheists can get into the act too, by pausing to remember how thankful we are for billions of years of evolution.

Replace travel to see the family with a long telephone call. Replace gifts to adult friends and family with Christmas cards or e-Cards. Replace the huge volumes of plastic toys for your kids with one new toy and a savings account at your local bank.

There is a support site to help you with this, called Buy Nothing Christmas and you can also find tips at Cheap Christmas Ideas.

Don’t despair. Your children aren’t going to stop loving you if you stop focusing on their immediate gratification and start working towards their long-term welfare. Children are almost always smarter than we give them credit for. If only we could say the same about politicians!