The Corner

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Last Christmas


A few other things come out of the Christmas “survey” and the various responses to my “decline of Christmas” post. Many readers agreed that very little in the way of new Christmas television or film is being produced. “Bad Santa,” is cited as proof that Christmas is in decline. Yet others point to “Elf” and to “Sponge Bob’s Christmas Special” as evidence that good Christmas stuff is still coming out. One reader said the availability of Christmas movies on video is making up for the relative dearth of new material. Several readers complained about Christmas coming too early–with decorations and Christmas music now beginning well before November. They take this as commercialization, not respect. Halloween came up as well. Evangelicals cherish Christmas, but dislike Halloween. On the other hand, secular Manhattan seems increasingly to be turning Halloween dress up into a major adult holiday. Lots of people wrote to complain about my calling Lord of the Rings “pagan.” LOTR is a Catholic allegory, they say. That may be, and I said something not far from that in my original post. I have nothing against LOTR. But I do think LOTR’s pagan veneer makes it a safer choice in today’s increasingly Christmas-wary culture. I’ll end with an upbeat “blue state” story. A reader in Boston lives in a suburb with virtually no Christmas decorations at all. A week ago, this fellow boarded a bus in Harvard Square. The driver promptly announced that he would be leading the bus in Christmas Carols. Sure enough, the entire bus began to sing “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Emboldened by his success with these more secular songs, the driver delivered a sermon to his passengers on the real meaning of Christmas–the celebration of the birth of “our savior, Jesus.” No doubt, this public bus driver was going too far. He could easily have lost his job for what he did. I myself couldn’t recommend what he did as “policy.” But who would have the heart to complain about such a beautiful gesture? Increasingly, I suppose, quite a few.


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