… In New York, diversity is a fact, it isn’t a formula imposed by the diversity committee. You look around and see that you are a minority, same as everyone else.

It wasn’t until Saturday I figured out what made this Christmas happier for me. I walked around the Upper West Side shopping for four Christmas stockings and it dawned on me that I did not hear a cataract of Christmas music dripping like melted plastic from every shop ceiling. Back home in Minnesota, Christmas can become toxic. I have a “Little Drummer Boy” allergy and when I hear the rum-pum-pum-pum-rum-pum-pum-pum, my face swells up and EMTs need to put the paddles on my chest. I am not fond of turkey. I think “The Nutcracker” is a dumb story. I saw “A Christmas Carol” once and once was enough. I love the evergreens, the stockings, and the late-night Christmas Eve service at church. “Messiah” is fine, with the right singers, but it needs editing.

What makes Christmas in New York so wonderful is that it’s not unanimous. There are so many Jews and Muslims and militant agnostics around to keep the holiday from being totalitarian. So we Christians can enjoy it without requiring everyone to line up and salute. The presence of heterodoxy makes my orthodoxy more beautiful to me. If, walking along Columbus Avenue, I heard “Silent Night” ninety-seven times sung by every pop star plus the Mormons, it would obliterate the miracle of Christmas Eve when a church packed with believers sings it acappella holding candles.

Garrison Keillor, A Christmas Letter from New York