Dec 26th - Charlotte, NC
Christmas 2010 is behind us. As a family this was our first Christmas in the US since 1999. It was also our first white Christmas since Ellicottville in 1990.
Although much of the Christmas tradition in the US seems the same, many things are different. America's pursuit of political correctness seems an inexorable tide gradually washing away any Christmas or Christ reference in favor of the generic "happy holidays". Company Christmas parties seem no more replaced by "holiday" gatherings. I found it ironic that my Japanese and Chinese friends now seem to be the only group that without execption wishes our family a "Merry Christmas".
We were in China the last five Christmas seasons and each year were struck by all the references to Christmas on the streets of Shanghai and traditional religious Christmas songs emanating from stores. In 2004, I was running on Christmas morning in an almost exclusively Muslim Island in Malaysia. My run was stopped several times as locals recognized my western face and wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas with more gusto than I was used to hearing. Our five years in Japan amazed us - although Christmas is almost universally a secular rather than a religious event in Japan (colonel Sanders is dressed as Santa in front of KFCs), we still found the impact Christmas has on non "Christian" countries interesting.
I would never suggest that America should force Christian customs on those who are not interested but it seems we have lost much of our tradition over the years as we allow political correctness to weaken the traditions that have made America what it is and what people overseas see as truly American.
It was great to be in the US for Christmas but it seems sad that having been gone over a decade it was clear that there are so many forces in the country trying to weaken a great tradition.