Fairly Spiritual: Declaring a war on fruitcake

It appears the “War on Christmas” has reached a stalemate. With all sides thoroughly entrenched, I would like to plead for a temporary truce.

After much thought (this is what I do during the commercial breaks), I’ve come up with a plan to help the zealous Christians and

atheists of our nation move forward. Instead of focusing on what divides us, let’s find an activity that unites us. Instead of waring against each other, let’s join forces and war against a shared threat.

This year, let’s declare a war on fruitcake.

The war against fruitcake can be won. However, it is important for us to know our enemy. I’ve included a quick refresher on the fruitcake’s sordid history from my short story “The Fruitcake Chronicles.”

The history of fruitcake reaches back as far as Cain and Abel. The Bible says Cain brought God an offering consisting of the “fruit of the ground.” This displeased God, which has led some theologians to suspect Cain’s offering came in the form of a fruitcake. This also might shed light on the weapon Cain might have used to kill his brother.

Evidence suggests fruitcakes were placed in the burial chambers of the Pharaohs. Some archeologists believe this was done to provide sustenance for the afterlife, while others believe fruitcakes were used as part of the mummification process. Either way, grave robbers left these treats untouched.

During the Middle Ages, crusaders traveled with fruitcake to ward off hunger and to throw at the infidels. In the modern era, fruitcake seems to have entered Christmas lore in the late 1700s. The English would pass out slices of fruitcake to poor Christmas caroling women. This did little to dissuade the practice of caroling.

The fruitcake made its way to the Americas as immigrant families tried to recapture the misery of their homeland. As of yet, no migrant group has been willing to accept full responsibility for the fruit loaf’s migration. Oddly enough, it is difficult to find reliable numbers concerning modern fruitcake production. This is primarily due to the perpetual recycling of old loaves and to the unregulated prolific productivity of independent fruitcake producers. However, it remains clear that production has always exceeded consumption.

There is no logic to the fruitcake’s staying power. Like a Tolkien ring, the fruitcake exists almost in perpetuity. Its origins are within the realm of prehistorical folklore. Fruitcake is given because it must be given. Fruitcake is received because resistance is simply not an option. However, I am convinced a concerted effort of almost mythical proportions could possibly liberate us from the precious … I mean the loaf.

The cost will be great, but a collective effort is our only hope. Sure we might not be able to solve the war on Christmas this year and we might even need to build another capitol building to house all our competing yuletide displays. But ridding the world of fruitcake just seems more important. Why not lay down our differences and engage in a battle worth fighting?

Unless you think a “War on Fruitcake” is a ridiculous waste of time. God forbid we waste our time on a war more absurd than “The War on Christmas.”


Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or doug@fairlyspiritual.org.