While most adults are eager to indulge their children and grandchildren at Christmas, my ethnographic research on Easter (described in my book Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith) suggests that many parents are more laid back about Easter’s secular celebration than they are about Christmas. Moms are eager initiators of Christmas activities such as visiting the mall to see Santa Claus or writing letters to Santa. But at Easter many parents are more involved in the religious rituals of Advent and church-going, sometimes overlooking how much kids enjoy secular Easter rituals. Read more
In my recent talking with kids, Scrooge of London seems to have lost a lot of ground as the definitive morality tale about Christmas self-redemption. Instead it’s another miserable misanthrope, the green Grinch of Whoville, who seems to have captured children’s imaginations lately. Perhaps the farfetched hairy Grinch (first depicted by Seuss in 1956) is better able to appeal across cultural boundaries in today’s multicultural America than the strictly British characters Dickens invented in 1843.
Americans in 2016 do not much resemble Londoners from Dickens’ story. Last year I did a study in southern New Jersey (in households that were facing economic struggle and had kids age 6 to 8). Read more