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:
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?