The Corner

Christmas Ii

Here’s more on the Christmas survey. The red staters who said Christmas was going strong gave lots of specifics: cities and neighborhoods filled with decorations, including plenty of nativity scenes; radio stations filled with Christmas music; Christmas pageants; public caroling; and churches packed with worshipers. A reader from Houston said homeowners associations in some areas actually require you to decorate your house. According to a reader in Lincoln, Nebraska, the large numbers of folks in his area going off to serve in the National Guard and Reserves had sparked a stronger than usual longing for a real old-fashioned Christmas. Just a few red staters did mention a decline in decorations–dark patches of houses where once even a single dark house was a rarity. There seems to be a cluster effect. Neighbors keep up with neighbors, and a few folks either decorating or failing to decorate can change a whole block within a year. There was also a bit of movement toward more secular symbols (cities with snowflakes where once there were angels) and widespread complaint about “holiday” replacing “Christmas.” On the whole, though, Christmas in red America seems to be doing quite well. The same applies to mid-western cities (like Chicago, Youngstown, and St. Louis) with substantial working class Catholic populations. Apparently, the preponderance of working class Catholics in these cities helps keep even upper middle class liberals in the Christmas spirit. I got a letter from a resident of a gentrified Chicago neighborhood plastered with Howard Dean signs where many single family homes were beautifully decorated for the holiday. On the other hand, I got a number of letters from places like Boston, Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, a few universities, some Democratic suburbs and a few mid-western cities that described a shock of recognition on reading my “decline of Christmas” post. Not every message from a university town or coastal city was like this, but most were.


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