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Dec 19, 2005



Thanks. And the same for you and Paula.


Have a wonderful holiday Shel!


Shel : a very good post. The post is entwined with a lot of sentiment.
All the best to you and yours.

Jus a qus: is it your b'day today ?

Evan Erwin

Awesome post as always Shel, seems to get better every year I read it :)

Colm Smyth

Hi Shel,

Lovely post, thanks for sharing it again. I'd like to take up the point you made about your impressions of Christmas as a child outside that culture.

While I accept that specific aspects of western culture are attractive, I hate the fact that it competes so well in terms of gloss and glitter with other cultures.

Take Halloween for example, a Celtic tradition long respected in Ireland. As kids, we played games like trying to lift an apple bobbing in water with just our teeth, and we went door-to-door as ghosts and goblins saying "any apples or nuts?". Today, all the kids say "trick or treat?". The request of old has become a threat of the new young.

I'm not pining for the old days, but I hate cultural imperialism by virtue of economic success and the powerful marketing effect of US media. "Hollywood" chews up the ideas of other cultures and reformats them in its own image (note: rarely does this happen in reverse). I'm afraid that only an economic decline in the US (or a significant new economic power) can limit the reach of this marketing machine of specific American cultures and brands.

And even though I love Woody Allen's movies, I fear he has branded jewish-ness to an extent - another example of the marketing power of media.

Final thought: to what extent does the success of the US at integrating citizens of other nations arise from the internal and external marketing of certain cultures and values, in effect defining what it means to be an american(tm)?

'nuff said for this evening, all the best,

Maryam Scoble

What a powerful post Shel! Thanks for sharing. Robert and I look forward to visiting you and Paula for Christmas :)

Mel Webster

Hey Shel -- I liked your thoughts about Christmas even more this year than last. Best to you and Paula (whom I have never met, which is probably lucky for her)



Great post - from the heart.

Happy holidays to you and your family!


It is a 'classic' Shel! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Hanukkah and all the best for 2006.

Elana Centor

Hi Shel,
Your post brought back so many memories. Growing up in the 50s in rural Virginia my family would always drive back to NYC to spend "Hannukah" with my family. We always had huge family "Hannukah" party on Christmas Day because that's when we were there-- it didn't matter when Hannukah really occured...we celebrated on December 25th. What I remember most is that radio stations played Christmas music nonstop for what seemed like the entire month of December and so our long drive to NYC (12 hours--no interstate in those days) included listening to The Little Drummer Boy so much so that whenever I hear that song I think of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Tonight I am fixing prime rib and latkes even though Hannukah doesn't start until tomorrow--my kids voted to celebrate a day early so we could observe our traditional Christmas of going to the movies and eating Chinese.


Wonderful story, Shel. For me, I remember that it seemed to take hours for it to get dark so we could light the menorahs. Today as a Mom of three... darkness now sneaks up on me!

The best tradition, however, is my family doing puzzles and playing games on Christmas when it's quiet out there. We did that again this year. Heck, I did TWO puzzles! We played Apples to Apples -- fun, fun game.

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