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A Cajun Italian German English Japanese Dutch Russian Guatemalan Jewish Christmas in America

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Yesterday, my family and I drove from our home in Virginia to my wife’s parents’ home in New Jersey, just outside of New York City.

We drove our Japanese-made car. Along the way Karol and I drank coffee brewed from Guatemalan coffee beans, and munched on bagels. Our seven-year-old, Thomas, ate pizza for lunch. We listened to Handel’s Messiah and to a recording entitled Merry Cajun Christmas [2].

One of the songs on the Cajun Christmas CD is an instrumental version – fiddles and accordions, mostly – of White Christmas.

What a world! What a beautiful, rich culture!

My name reveals that I’m part Cajun, although I’m mostly Irish and German (and, I’m told, with a few drops of Choctaw blood chucked in). Being born and raised in the city, I haven’t much genuine Cajun about me.

But regardless of how I might be classified, here was I, Boudreaux, driving with my Hungarian-Scots-Irish wife, and French-Hungarian-Scots-German-Irish-Choctaw son, over the Delaware Memorial Bridge in a Japanese automobile listening – using audio technology (compact discs) pioneered by the Dutch – to a Cajun rendition of a famous Jewish-composed Christmas song about a weather event that almost never blesses the bayous.

Tomorrow we’ll attend, at the New York State Theater, a performance by the New York City Ballet [3] of George Balanchine [4]’s version of Tchaikovsky [5]’s Nutcracker ballet – that is, a performance in Manhattan of a ballet choreographed by a Russian emigrant to America, to music composed by another Russian, based on a tale told by a German (E.T.A. Hoffman [6]).

Afterward, we’ll dine at an Italian restaurant.

….

This is American culture – a rich and delicious and exciting mix of influences from around the world.  It’s alive and thriving in our free society.

(Not incidentally, no one explains culture and commerce better than my colleague Tyler Cowen [7].)

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