How neutral do school holiday parties need to be?

Are hats shaped like reindeer antlers verboten at your child’s public school holiday party? Can the plastic plates and cups feature images of Santa Claus? Can the kids craft a menorah or the Star of David without a myriad of phone calls to principal’s office?

These are questions room moms across the country may be considering as they huddle together to plan festive, yet-not-too-holiday-specific parties for their public schools.

I’ve worked on five public school holiday parties for my kids so far and each year I stress tremendously about what images, games and crafts we can pull from different traditions without offending other families. I can’t decide if I’m overly cautious or if I’m right to be this sensitive when planning.

Here are some different situations to consider:

  • Is it wrong to send home an ornament the child made during the party — often done with the child’s photos? One year I looked specifically for snowflake ornaments that could be set like a picture frame and not hung in case they didn’t have a tree. Do we need to make that effort? Can we have the kids do the classic Mason jar cap with their photo in it and a ribbon glued around it? Or are ornaments too indicative of Christmas?
  • For one teacher we bought a beautiful rosemary tree from Kroger. It was about 1.5 to 2 feet tall. We made little ornament balls with head shots of each child from the class and hung it on the little rosemary tree. Then we put a gift card on the tree. It was so pretty, smelled nice and had all the children’s photos on it. It also was a pretty way to give a gift card to the teacher. It was so festive and the teacher just loved it! Later I worried that it was too Christmas based because of the shape of the rosemary tree and because of the balls we made. It turned out beautiful but could that have been offensive to families in the class? (The teacher was Christian.)
  • At another party, a mom brought in giant Santa pants and kids took turns wearing the pants and trying to shove as many small balloons as they could fit into the pants. It was a timed game. I thought that was adorable and the kids had so much fun doing it BUT it occurred to me today was that too Christmasy? Could you do big Hanukkah pants from Judah Maccabee? Pretty sure that’s disrespectful.
  • Gingerbread houses are always a good neutral craft but I’m trying to figure out how to make gingerbread trains for this year. I did see some really cute reindeer hats for kids to make online but is that too closely associated with the Santa story? Can reindeer be neutral?
  • Would the Christian parents freak if we made a menorah one year? (The stories are not mutually exclusive.)

We always say “holiday party” on the announcement and never have Santa or any Nativity-type scenes on the paper plates or napkins. We try to stick to themes like snow or Polar Express – winter-type themes.

Last year my co-room mom came up with “Snow Carnival” as the theme, and it was precious. We hung cut paper snowflakes all over the ceiling. They had carnival-type games during the party (so those were neutral.) We had snowmen cupcakes and snow cones made from Sprite to drink. So it was very winter focused and very fun for the kids.

I was surprised one year to see a lot of Santa and Christmas books on the teacher’s bookshelf. I think she must have had Hannuakah and Kwanza ones too. So should we be celebrating all of those during the party or just trying to avoid them all? Should we be avoiding Christmas that diligently or are people NOT going to freak out if there were reindeer on the paper plates?

How neutral do you think holiday parties at public schools need to be? Should we be avoiding the different traditions or embrace and celebrate three different ways at the party? Are reindeer in bound? What about the rosemary tree? What are good neutral themes you have used? What are good neutral crafts? Do they have to be neutral?

180 comments Add your comment

mom2alex&max

December 8th, 2009
7:09 am

I don’t know..even though my East Cobb school calls them Holiday Parties, they definitely have a Christmas slant..and that’s fine by me.

They do rotations. A couple of years ago, these were the activities: one table decorated cookies, another table made an ornament to hang in the class tree, another table played that dreidle (sp?) game, and another table played Xmas bingo.

I know this blog is gonna get ugly quick today. But as far as I am concerned, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Hey, mom2alex...

December 8th, 2009
7:20 am

…if you say MERRY ChHRISTMAS, why are the kids playing “Xmas” bingo?

mom2alex&max

December 8th, 2009
7:34 am

Because I’m a parent, which means I never get more than 5 hours of sleep a night, and it was 7am when I typed this, which means I typed it in the middle of preparing breakfasts, combing kid’s hair, telling them to brush their teeth, filling their water bottles, and finding 4 lost tennis shoes.

JJ

December 8th, 2009
7:52 am

I’m not going to touch this one……

lakerat

December 8th, 2009
7:55 am

Me thinks, Theresa, that thou worrieth needlessly.

I understand the desire to “not hurt anyone’s feelings”, but really, stressing over what you did LAST YEAR is way too much ado about nothing. Just enjoy the kids and the time, and let the chips fall where they may – you mean well, and that is what REALLY matters.

Wayne

December 8th, 2009
8:10 am

At my sons school, they don’t have Halloween, they have Crazy Hat and Hair Day.

The whole thing is crazy. You have to be careful to say Happy Holidays rather than , well, any other celebration that goes on this time of year… Sheesh. It’s bad, methinks. If I say Merry Christmas to someone, why can’t they just accept it and move on? Accept it in the spirit to which it is meant? Have a great time during your holiday! That’s all it is.

[sigh]

We had fun on our Polar Express ride – we even had snow! Woo hoo!

Producer

December 8th, 2009
8:15 am

For over 80% of us, it’s a Christian based nation. So, I think you all are fine calling it a Christmas Party. It’s time to insist on the same tolerances that we extend to other religions be extended back in our direction. Merry Christmas!

MomsRule

December 8th, 2009
8:16 am

Does your school have guidelines? Our schools have party guidelines distributed by the PTA and approved by the principal. The guidelines are given to all room parents.

At our elementary schools we were/are allowed “holiday parties or winter parties”. No “Merry Christmas” and no “Santa” were supposedly allowed. I think just about everything else was fair game. I thought it was funny though when the principal stood after a “holiday concert” and announced Merry Christmas to the entire audience after she and many of the teachers completed a 12-Days of Christmas skit. She also spends the day in a Santa hat. As do many teachers.

So the classes couldn’t have “Christmas” parties but the administration could put on a Christmas themed event. Interesting.

They are elementary school class parties. It should not be such a cause of stress and worry for you. Plan a fun event for the children and stop worrying about all of the parents.

If they wanted to control all of the events they should have stepped up to host the parties.

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2009
8:18 am

This is one topic that tends to give me a bee in my bonnet….so to speak. I tried to post one time yesterday and it did not come through, so I let it go as that topic is not on my hot list…so to speak.

We are in America…and if your children attend public schools…they are public. I know many small towns where the public schools CAN have a nativity and such as the majority of the taxpayers there are good with it. I can see a where a specific religious approach could offend a diverse population and do not have a big issue with it BUT if you cannot even have a reindeer, tree or candy cane…then ( to me) this is like not celebrating Thanksgiving, also an American holiday…same as Valentine’s Day.

Kathy and I talked about this last week, as there are some public schools who will not hire me to share my Halloween program: Pumpkin Time and some will not select Here Comes Christmas ( secular for public schools and religious for private) . I never know why there is a such a variation and she told me it tends to be up to the principal.

As a Christian, I love nativity scenes, I also enjoy seeing houses that have a Menorah. If my child had a teacher who was able to introduce several customs appropriately during this time of year, that would be fine with me. I wrote a Hanukkah song for my friends who are Jewish and they loved it. I think we are losing a level of respect for others when we eliminate everything.

To me, if you put your child in a PUBLIC school then you do not have the right to think that EVERYTHING has to merge in with your personal beliefs. As long as children are safe, learning and comfortable in the environment. This is why you can choose a private school. This is why I go nuts when the Jehovah’s Witnesses get all over teachers who are allowing kids to celebrate their BIRTHDAY. I have said this before and I will repeat: has anyone here ever seen a Jehovah’s Witness private school…I am thinking they may have some but I have never seen one, has anyone? They do not even celebrate MOTHER’S DAY! If they have such a rigid belief system, then they need to provide their children with such an education in a private setting.

FYI…my daughter and I LOVED the Marietta Diner on Saturday, before our trip to see the Nutcracker at the Cobb CC. The food was awesome, the portions HUGE and the desserts to die for! We also swung by to see the Life College lights, as this is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. A fun night for us!

Patrick

December 8th, 2009
8:18 am

You would think that as long as you don’t include any references to the religious side of Christmas you’d be fine, but omit Santa Claus? Unless you don’t want to offend those who either don’t believe in him, or else don’t celebrate Christmas, I’d see nothing wrong with including him, or reindeer, or anything else that doesn’t have any major religious overtones (candy canes, trees, snow, ornaments, etc.).

I remember watching that show on HBO Family, “Kindergarten”, and the class learned about all three major holidays, with the teacher having the students do an activity regarding this holiday or that, and for Hanukkah she had invited a student’s mother to talk to the class. She read the Hanukkah story to the class, taught them how to play with the dreidel, and showed them how to light the menorah. Another student that also celebrated Hanukkah sang the prayer while the menorah was lit. When the class learned about Kwanzaa, the teacher had them make necklaces using colored macaroni in the three colors that represented Kwanzaa, red, black, and green. The episode also showed the school doing other things, including the kindergarten class performing a song using the rhythm sticks (”Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”), among other things.

deidre_NC

December 8th, 2009
8:27 am

i think everyone should call it what they want to….i also think people who get all tore up over what a kids christmas party has are ridiculous…i am puzzled tho-i knew its a huge NO NO to have anything pertaining to jesus (again ridiculous) but when did they outlaw santa? as far as i know every religion does the santa clause thing…dont they? i personally think santa is ridiculous too. actually i think the whole holiday season should be outlawed…what else causes so much distress and arguments? and no im not a bah humbug person. i just get tired of seeing people get mad and depressed and all kinds of things over a holiday that is nothing but most people spending too much money and…..nevermind…i just really have started hating the holidays…..i love thanksgiving..a time to be with loved ones and eat good food and hopefully be very thankful for what we have….christmas is just too…i dont even know the word im looking for here….im sleepy maybe ill come back later when i think of an appropriate and printable word….good day to all..

Michelle

December 8th, 2009
8:30 am

I would like my child to be well rounded. I have NO problem with him learning about all the different beliefs at school. At home though, Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth!

Last year at his school, they had Santa come to their class room! They also had a large, decorated Christmas tree in the room! However they also learned how to play the dreidle game and made menorah’s and talked about Kwanza!

I agree with the person who posted earlier, a majority of our nation is Christian, so it is not unreasonable to celebrate this holiday!

deidre_NC

December 8th, 2009
8:32 am

ok once again i posted a post that isnt here…grrrr….in a nutshell-i do not do christmas if i can get aways with it. it has become nothing but a time of year for people to argue about the most ridiculous thing when it should be a time of year when people are happy…all the money spending and the arguing over religous aspects have made it a holiday i try to ignore!

jct

December 8th, 2009
8:33 am

I think most people over think this non-issue. If you are in a public school you are going to learn about all kinds of things that you may or may not agree with. If you don’t want your child at the event, either keep them out of school that day or ask that the child be dismissed to the library.

As I have stated on this blog before, I grew up in a Jehovah Witness household. My mother never complained about what was happening in the class. The only thing that she insisted upon was that if there was a birthday party or holiday party that my siblings and I were sent to the library. If it was an entire school event, we had to sit in the principal’s office or we would be dismissed early.

I turned out fine. It’s the parents who over think this. Trying to appease everyone does not make you diverse. Including different elements as Patrick has outlined is really what diversity is about.

@MJG JW’s don’t have their own schools for primary (k-12) education.

deidre_NC

December 8th, 2009
8:34 am

neither of my posts are showing…i give up….

deidre_NC

December 8th, 2009
8:34 am

well dang…that one did…wonder what happened to the other 2…

Producer

December 8th, 2009
8:35 am

This is also a perfect example of how important it is, if you can afford it, to get your kids out of the public schools and into a private one. No more worries about who’s delicate little feelings will be bruised at the “atrocious” mentioning of anything Christian based. But let’s go ahead and mention Kwanza, Islam and let’s thrown in an honorable mention to some tree-hugging Druids while we’re at it, and all is warm and fuzzy. We, as a nation, are so screwed.

HB

December 8th, 2009
8:43 am

I would keep it a mostly winter themed party, but I think it’s probably fine (but really, it’s hard to know) to have some secular Christmas things here and there — Santa, reindeer, trees. I wouldn’t have them make an ornnament to take home, though, since that needs a tree in the house. Love the gingerbread train (or house) idea.

Honestly, I don’t think most people are as easily offended as many people seem to think. Most people of non-Christian faiths who I know appreciate a Happy Holidays greeting but don’t get all worked up if someone wishes them a Merry Christmas. My friends who are atheist or agnostic put up trees and celebrate a secular Christmas focusing on peace and love and all that stuff in the TV specials. Actually, in my experience, complaints usually have been from very religious Christians. When I was young, our church had Halloween parties until a few fundamentalist members complained. In schools I’ve attended and worked in, a few fundamentalist parents were offended by Santa and reindeer in school — they made a point to limit celebration at home to strictly the Biblical Christmas story and didn’t like the school exalting Santa.

cld

December 8th, 2009
8:45 am

I am with Patrick. The true meaning of Christmas is religious. However, it has become so commercialized that most people in the U.S. celebrate it even if they aren’t Christian. My company had a santa celebration last Saturday, and I saw a known Jewish family there.

I don’t have to be a father to have a happy Father’s Day. It’s like saying “have a good December 8″. It may be just another day to me, but it still can be a happy one. Why is Christmas different? A non-Christian can have a merry Christmas, even if it’s just another day to him or her. I guess that’s a bit of a tangent, though.

I do think we should respect others’ views, but not ignore them entirely. So what if my Christian son comes home with a menorah? I see that as a perfect learning opportunity. A Hanukkah party? Sure, I would have NO problem with it. I think children should be exposed to and educated about what other people believe. I think that’s how we gain acceptance of others and how we learn the fundamentals of tolerance, non-discrimination, etc.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 8th, 2009
8:51 am

deidre I’ll look for it in a minute — I have to help the baby — it zaps them if they’re long

deidre_NC

December 8th, 2009
8:55 am

thanks theresa…i didnt think they were that long….just venting lol…this is a subject that gets me riled!!

YUKI

December 8th, 2009
8:56 am

This all seems a bit ridiculous to me. Worrying about who is going to be offended here and there…it really makes me agree with Producer about putting your children in a private school if you can. I went to a private school for several years, then a public school and the celebration was the same. Now, I must say that where I’m from is almost entirely Catholic, so that could be why it was never an issue. I had not even met anyone Jewish until I moved to Atlanta. But in our house, Christmas is all about the birth of Christ. If my son does end up going to public school and one day he came home with a menorah or was involved in another type of celebration, I would use it to teach him about the different types of religion and not freak out about it. You cannot please everyone.

Jesse's Girl

December 8th, 2009
9:01 am

I am for honoring everyone’s belief systems…but don’t be a**holes about it. Last year…the Jehova’s Witnesses were going bonkers about EVERYTHING. There was one kid in my son’s class that had to sit out of something weekly due to his parents viewing it as as celebration. He was afraid to eat a dern cookie. He wasn’t allowed to go to other teacher’s rooms to make crafts for the holidays….I was heart broken for this kid…everytime I saw him he was crying! I got fed up and gave hima HUGE plate of desserts. I told him this has nothing to do with a celebration…..its just dessert after eating lunch.

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2009
9:09 am

@michelle, I like your first paragraph. If parents would share their own beliefs with their children, at home and/or in their place of worship, then we may not have such a fuss in our schools. If families have no faith, then simply say, “we do not believe in any of that.”

There are things about Christianity, that I look at differently now that I am an adult and have learned things along the way. I am more tolerant than my parents and perhaps my kids will be more tolerant than me!

@cld…I also agree with your last paragraph! While I hope my children will take the faith of our family with them as they move out into the world, I want them to be aware of what is out there and make choices based on what they learn.

Andrea

December 8th, 2009
9:10 am

In a public school you should expect to be exposed to cultural traditions that may be different from yours. At my kids’ school, they celebrated all of the holidays with one mega holiday event in December. The kids enjoyed learning about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, etc.

I agree that it is dictated by the principal. Our rural school had a live nativity at the schools and the teachers participated in it! I am sure that would not fly in Atlanta, but they still do it there.

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2009
9:13 am

@ Jesse’s Girl…that is such a burden to put on a child and methinks it would turn him away from the faith that his parents are cramming down his throat.

Respectfully and just curious @ jct…are you practicing your faith ( Jehovah;s Witness) as an adult.
If you do not care to answer, I understand…I am not trying to pry.

Becky

December 8th, 2009
9:14 am

@Hey, mom2alex..She probably said Xmas because this wasy of spelling Christmas has been used for many, many years..It’s a Greek abbreviation(sp) for Christ..

Like jct said, if yo are in a public school, you are going to learn about all types of celebrations..I don’t have any problems with that. My boss is Jewish and he gives us a Christmas bonus, we have a Christmas tree in our office and we have a Christmas dinner..We also have people that celebrate Kwanza, so we are a very diverse group..

@jct, I had a former coworker that was/is a Jehovahs Witness, I have a question that I hope you can answer.. I have been with this company for 23 years and as long as I have been here, in Dec. we are given what we are told is a Christmas bonus..This girl worked here for 4 years and each year, she would accept this check as a Christmas bonus, but would not eat with us even though we offered to call our dinner, a celebration dinner..Why would she do this? Just wondering…

Jesse's Girl

December 8th, 2009
9:16 am

Cool…@JCT…can you enlighten me as to why the no-celebration rule is so stern?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 8th, 2009
9:16 am

jct – I think people are curious — I don’t think they are trying to attack you — I don’t want you to feel attacked –

deidre_NC

December 8th, 2009
9:28 am

theresa honey please relax…i cant see anything in any post to jct that could be construed as an attack..people are curious…you gotta stop worrying so much!!!!! i work with a young man (19 yo) who is a JW…he is very serious about his religion and practices it a lot more faithfully than i do mine..even tho i try hard to be a christian to the core…i also have a friend who is a very fundamentalist christian who doesnt celebrate christmas…each to his own…i personally (as i stated in earlier posts that arent here) am sick to death of the way christmas is…im not even gonna get on a rant about how its not even jesus bd or whatever….it shoudl be treated as it has become…an excuse to have parties in a dreary winter month and a time for retail to make lots of money…..and for people to get lots of presents…and a reason for people to go deeper into debt beause god forbid they dont get everyone a better gift than anyone else. i know that everyone isnt like this but you have to admit that a lot are. it has become such a commercial thing i think kids have gotten to worship santa more than jesus…and when did it become a no no for santa stuff to be at a christmas party. see!?!?! its just gotten way to ridiculous imo…

and JW dont celebrate birthdays and stuff because all honor goes to god not to anyone else ie: mothers day or fathers day or birthday..that honors the people not god..at least thats the idea i get from my young friend at work….jct correct me if im wrong…

deidre_NC

December 8th, 2009
9:29 am

theresa help!! another post lost in cyber land…grrrr..ive never had this problem so often in one day!!…one MORNING!!! lol..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 8th, 2009
9:34 am

why are they zapping you??? i didn’t think it was either but I didn’t want her to interpret that way –

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2009
9:41 am

@ jct …I did not intend to attack you …I hope you are not offended.

Other posters attack me all the time Theresa….guess that is o.k.????

Jesse's Girl

December 8th, 2009
9:47 am

I like it when they attack me MJG….no one gets to me unless I let them;) Not to mention the fact that no one has bested me yet. But I do so love a challenge. I would imagine the reason JW’s stay in public schools is because the vast majority of private schools in th south are Christian based. And after having a child in a private Christian school…lemme tell ya…they “tho” down at Christmas!

Kris

December 8th, 2009
9:51 am

@cld – you are so right! There is nothing wrong with wishing a person a good day regardless of their beliefs. One Mother’s Day, someone asked my fiancee (not my child’s father) if he had wished me a happy MD. He said, “No. She’s not MY mother!” Well, so what!! I wish a happy MD to my mother, my sister, my aunts, my co-workers, anyone who is a mother. Same with Father’s Day. I thought his response was rather juvenile and thoughtless.

If I wish the cashier at my local store a “Merry Christmas” and that is not his/her belief, then all one has to do is respond “Happy Kwanzaa”, or “Happy Hanukka”, or “Have a great day” or “thank you” and
I’m not going to get all bent about it!

...

December 8th, 2009
10:00 am

Happy Hanaramakwamas!

Elizabeth

December 8th, 2009
10:02 am

@ Producer: I 100% agree with you!!!! I couldn’t have said it any better. I shake my head at the state of our nation.

JJ

December 8th, 2009
10:16 am

MJG Other posters attack you for a number of reasons.

1) Your posts are VERY long and difficult to read,
2) You brag about yourself frequently,
3) You take EVERYTHING personally.

RJ

December 8th, 2009
10:16 am

@Producer, Kwanzaa is NOT a Muslim holiday. It is a non-religious African American holiday founded in 1969 that celebrates our community, culture and family. Also, your opinion of Muslims is limited to what the media shows us Muslims on one country. I know many Muslims and I can assure you they are nothing like they are portrayed by the media.

As a Christian I certainly don’t object to students celebrating Christmas at school, but I am sensitive to the fact that some kids don’t celebrate any winter holiday. I deal with this often as a choral director. One year my principal had a fit because we said the word “Jesus” in a song. It was a Christmas spiritual and a disclaimer was printed on the program. We also sang a Hannukah and Kwanzaa song. I choose to be diverse because many of my students aren’t familiar with any other holiday than Christmas. Amazingly most of them don’t even know why they celebrate Christmas, they just can’t wait to get their “stuff”.

oneofeach4me

December 8th, 2009
10:25 am

Theresa you are worring to much. I agree with Lakerat & Patrick. I don’t see a problem with gingerbread men, or santa pants, or reindeer or snowmen, or candy canes.. or… well you get the point. It may be because we mostly celebrate Christmas in our home but we are not die hard Christians. Actually our house is kind of mixed. I am more of a spiritual person but my other half and daughter are Christian and my son.. well he’s four.. he just likes the lights and candy canes. Now we also celebrate Kwanza. I want my children to be exposed to ALL walks of this life, and wouldn’t care if they brought home something from Hannakah.. it’s no big deal. What IS a big deal to me.. don’t make my kid’s suffer or miss out on having fun, being a kid, and enjoying the magic of Christmas. And that’s all I have to say ’bout that.

@Wayne.. glad you enjoyed your Polar Express Ride! and Snow.. what’s that? lol

jct

December 8th, 2009
10:35 am

Where is all this attack stuff coming from? You all asked questions that I hope I can answer. I am really not that sensitive.

@MJG – Heck no, I am not a JW. I was kicked out at the age of 14. Story too long for this blog. The simple explanation is that I sinned and the elders did not think I was repenpent enough.

@deidre_NC that is a good explanation of why JWs don’t celebrate holidays.

@Becky – My mother and I have this argument all the time about JWs accepting the bonus but not participating in the meal. That drives me crazy. I find it hypocritically but who am I to judge.

However, just like any other religious person it depends on how orthodox you are. My family is pretty orthodox. My brother is an elder. There pretty by the book. My immediate family speaks to me but I have relatives that have not spoken to me since 1984 when I was kicked out.

Again, I think we get too sensitive. I was not allowed to participate in anything as a child. However, I was able to move out 2 weeks after graduating HS; I went to college; have been a very productive member of society and still have a good relationship with God. Childhood adversity will not kill you.

Cammi317

December 8th, 2009
10:37 am

It’s all much to do about nothing. Pure ignorance and intolerance. People fearing that somehow their little one is going to be converted to another religion if they are exposed to other religious activities and/or traditions. I was born and raised Muslim, but my parents allowed myself and my siblings to participate in the Christmas parties and activities (back in the 70’s and 80’s they were still called Christmas activities), Hanukkah activities or whatever else was going on. When we visited relatives out of town who were Christian, we went to church with them. My parents did not have this crazy fear that we were going to all of a sudden denounce our religion and run to another. In fact, we were encouraged to learn all about other religions and to discover in which ways our beliefs were similar and in which ways they differed. Back then, I never realized that all little children were not actively learning about the religions of others. It was not until I was an adult that I realized that very few people were raised that way. I raise my daughter the way that my parents raised me.

FCM

December 8th, 2009
10:41 am

The government (which includes public schools) can have any SECULAR symbols. The courts have deemed the following “Christmas” symbols as secular: Santa, candy canes, Christmas Trees, Snowmen, and Raindeer.
Channukka is harder todo since the Menorah is a religious symbol. You could do Driedle’s as they are considered secular by the court. Kwanzaa does not have any secular symbols that I have ever heard.

Holidays is actually Holy Days so using that term is just as bad as singling out Christmas or Channukka.

motherjanegoose

December 8th, 2009
10:42 am

@ JJ It’s good to know who your friends are….glad I have just a few!

@oneforeach, did you like the Nutcracker in Cobb…we did!

jct

December 8th, 2009
10:45 am

Ohh, I forgot to answer JG’s question. Why is the no celebration thing so stern?

I want to bring us all back to when Obama was going to address the school children. Remember when there were many parents on this blog stating that there was no way, no how their kids would hear that speech? Remember how many parents stated that they would not send their kids to school on that day?

Well that is how JWs feel about celebrations. That is the only illustration that I think most of you can understand.

As a child I was prepared that we would not be part of the celebrations. My mother made sure we had books to read if it was a middle of the day program. Also, at my school there were many JWs so we all got to sit together.

I also think the teachers made a big difference. When the activities were to begin they never made a big deal. I was given the hall pass to go to the library or principals office. The teachers handled it with dignity so I did as well. None of my elementary school teachers (in my remembrance) ever made a big deal about not participating.

DB

December 8th, 2009
10:50 am

At this point in my life, I am fed up to here (pointing to a space about a foot above my head) with “political correctness.” My Jewish friends think it’s hilarious how their Christian friends fall all over themselves trying to be “inclusive.” Last I heard, making an ornament — or a wall decoration, if you will — or anything “red and white” during the Christmas season never killed anyone. NOBODY’S “religion” revolves around ornaments or candy canes. If someone wants to be offended — let ‘em. No one is out to deliberately offend anyone, and to think that you have a God-given right to shape the world to suit your narrow beliefs is fairly . . . um, narrow. As long as you aren’t making creches and sending home pamphlets trying to convert everyone, you’re good to go. I find it hilarious that everyone tip toes around singing Christmas carols, and yet see nothing wrong with asking kids to sing dreidle songs — or whatever.

My kids went to a private Christian school, and I have to admit — I loved the fact that they were allowed to have “Christmas” parties. I loved that the “Christmas Concert” sang carols — and even included a few songs from other faiths, just because they were beautiful. I loved the numerous Christmas trees all over campus. Each child brought a Christmas ornament each year for the trees, and their senior year, their ornaments were returned to them after Christmas as a keepsake of their school years.

I send out Christmas cards, not “holiday cards”. I go to a Christmas service, not a “winter celebration” on December 24th. I light an advent wreath each week — not a “winter decoration.” If someone is offended — oh, well. Frankly, I don’t give a flip. I bet if I sent JJ a Christmas card, she’d simply smile and think, “Oh, nice!”, and not get all offended because I dared to send her a card. Christmas is what *I* celebrate. Making an ornament in school does not force *anyone* into Christianity. I mean, am I supposed to get twisted and think that my kids are going to convert to Judaism simply because they played with a darn dreidle? Hopefully, one’s faith is more profound than the window dressing it occasionally engages in.

(Personally, I think the rosemary tree with the gift card and the photos was an inspired idea.)

Martha

December 8th, 2009
10:54 am

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Jesse's Girl

December 8th, 2009
11:04 am

Hee hee….thanks JCT, I guess I get that. I didn’t really care about Obama…still don’t;) But the JW’s kids at our school seem blatantly miserable. They cry…even the older ones. Its just pitiful. There are a couple Muslim kids there too and even they look at them like…”dude that sucks for you”…and obvioulsy the Mulsim kids aren’t celebrating either! Maybe my area just has a small contingent of a**hole JW’s. Certainly wouldn’t be the 1st a**hole religious contingent:)

I too am flat-out sick of all the PC crap. I don’t set out to insult anyone…but I certainly do not make a habit out of walkng on egg shells either. My husband was raised Jewish…and although his family likes to think of our love affair with Jesus as a Messianic faith (and i suppose technically it is)…our blood runs Methodist. We worship at a progressive Methodist church that we ADORE!!! I do not make separate cards up for the Jewish side. I send out 150 Christmas cards…complete with the cross. If you don’t like it…toss it. My feelings will not be hurt in any way.

Try to stay on top of things, Martha

December 8th, 2009
11:05 am

…as this was given out to everyone LAST week!

Producer

December 8th, 2009
11:06 am

Hey RJ, read my post again. I didn’t say the made up holiday of Kwanza was Muslim at all. (Thank God, (can I say that?!) that someone had an epiphany in 1969 and realized we needed Kwanza.) I am truly grateful. I simply listed it as a holiday that others may pay tribute to without fear of getting somebody’s panties in a wad. And you have no idea my beliefs on Muslims because I didn’t list any. I have visited many Muslim countries in my life and have interacted with hundred and I can say that most are very gracious. It’s the 10% who have radicalized the religion that I and everyone else has the problem with.