Grand Tidings of Comfort and Joy

American Scene

There is first that pause, just after dawn, when a child wonders why he is awake so early. Then comes the realization: it is Christmas morning, and all the visions of sugarplums and electronic video games have been miraculously transformed, he hopes, into a heap of treasures waiting beneath the family tree.

Across the land this week, millions of these marvelous trees are being bought, carted home, decorated, admired. At the White House the Carter family has three trees. A 30-foot spruce, lighted last week, graces the Ellipse and serves as the na...

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