Movie Mom

December is a long month for Jewish parents. From the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, America is completely saturated with Christmas and it can be very difficult to explain to small children why Santa seems to come to every house but theirs. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has a thoughtful essay on the fine distinctions drawn by some Jewish parents when it comes to cultural touchstones like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The semiotic lines parents draw between “The Grinch” (universally allowed) and “The Night Before Christmas” (not so much) are as much a reflection of the complex balance between making sure children do not feel like outcasts and preserving their cultural and religious identity as it is a reflection on the differences in the programs. Lithwick finds that the controlling principle seems to come down in favor of the programs watched by the parents when they were children, back when their own parents were faced with the same difficult choices.

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