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The Whiteboard Jungle: Christmas celebration should be cherished tradition

December 20, 2013|By Brian Crosby

Each December, there is an increasing amount of attention spent on the word “Christmas” and how its use has to be carefully monitored, especially in schools.

A decorated tree is permissible if you call it a holiday tree, and students performing music in December is OK as long as the songs focus on sleigh rides and snowmen. And for goodness’ sake, school is closed for winter recess, not Christmas vacation.

So we ignore the whole reason why we aren’t teaching kids at the end of the calendar year.

Like Harry Potter’s nemesis Voldemort, the word “Christmas” is the holiday that must not be named.

In June, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the “Merry Christmas” law that allows teachers to say the greeting and to celebrate Christmas without the fear of repercussions. Such a concept is gaining traction in Louisiana and Oklahoma as well.

Regarding Christmas music, Glendale Unified has a brochure titled “Religious Expression in the Schools,” which prescribes “a balance between religious and secular music” whenever a concert includes religious music.

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Still, when was the last time you attended your child’s school for a student performance in December and the word “Christmas” was used to describe the show?

What’s interesting is that many of the most beloved Christmas songs were written by Jewish composers: “Winter Wonderland,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas,” and the most famous Christmas song of all time, “White Christmas.”

If it weren’t for these immigrant songwriters, the American idea of Christmas wouldn’t exist. These artists didn’t feel excluded from society because they weren’t the majority religion; instead, they desired to be included by imagining a broader definition of the Christmas season.

Imagine how the song titles would be altered in today’s times to “Rockin’ Around the Holiday Tree” and “White Winter.”

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