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December 8, 2005
Will The Circle Stay Unbroken?

It's not unusual during this time of year to get nostalgic for Christmases past -- when life resembled the Norman Rockwell images of American culture and children enjoyed simpler pleasures and more innocent pastimes. It seems like so much of Christmas these days has not just disappeared under waves of commercialism, but now of politically-correct bickering that makes even the phrase "Merry Christmas" a statement pregnant with purpose, rather than just a celebration of the season. The burden gets heavy enough to tire even the most fervent optimist at times.

For instance, when my sister and I were small, we waited impatiently for the Christmas television specials as an indication that the season had truly arrived. For us, Christmas season began with "A Charlie Brown Christmas", or "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty The Snowman". Even when we got a little older and I tried to act as though I was a bit too cool for the baby stuff, "The Grinch That Stole Christmas", featuring Boris Karloff's baritone narration never failed to draw me back in.

Now, of course, we can watch these whenever we want, thanks to the advances of technology -- but in doing so, they lost a bit of their charm. That's the one quality we gave up when we grew older and demanded instant access to our touchstones of childhood. Tonight, however, the First Mate and I had the wonderful experience of watching these classics through the use of that technology with the Little Admiral, who at three understands the basic themes now of these programs. It brought back the wonder and anticipation that we used to feel as children. She loved the DVD set we bought of "Rudolph" and "Frosty" (which also included "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", which we saved for later). She also, to my surprise, really enjoyed the Peanuts Christmas special that I TiVo'd from ABC this week, especially the music -- which really surprised me.

I couldn't help but wonder whether we will be able to make this a holiday tradition for her the way our parents made it for us, and in what form she will pass it on to her kids and grandkids when the time comes. Time brings change, and not all change is bad. But having the opportunity to share that tradition with my granddaughter tonight reminded me that the important point to remember is that while circumstances change, we can continue to share the same qualities and values as we have at this time of year with our loved ones across the generations.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 8, 2005 9:49 PM

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