Coppell Student Media

Pro: the holiday season vs. Christmas

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By Kara Hallam

Staff Writer

I remember in elementary school when the holidays came around we always got Christmas coloring packets. I would eagerly color in Santa’s hat and and ornaments on Christmas trees while singing along to the Christmas music my teacher had put on.

Graphic by Josh Martin

Graphic by Josh Martin

As much fun as I had coloring those packets when I was younger, I now look back on the time with an air of uncertainty.

I wonder how it must have felt for those kids who did not celebrate Christmas and the ones who celebrated Hanukkah as well. I wonder if they ever thought it was weird that they had to color unfamiliar traditions and  why not the others their families also eagerly celebrated.

Ninety percent of Americans celebrate Christmas according to a Gallup poll in 2010. And, the Christian celebration serves as the spotlight of the holiday season. In the excitement of the season we often forget that there are still 31 million people in America who do not celebrate Christmas, some of which feel an air of awkward exclusion from school celebrations and holiday greetings. Even people who celebrate Christmas along with other winter holidays can feel uneasy by Christmas’s overshadowing presence.

The ignorant assumption that the person you are wishing merry Christmas celebrates Christmas  is an awkward mistake to make. Instead wish people a happy holiday because Christmas is not the only reason for the season.

The holiday season encompasses Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, culturally specific Christian holidays (such as Las Posadas,Yule and Advent), winter solstice festivals and Ramadan depending on how the lunar calendar falls that given year. Several of these holidays share the same religious base and for the most part families celebrate more than just one of these holidays.

Often times the phrase “happy holidays” is considered a direct attack against Christmas and Christianity, taking away from Christmas spirit by removing it from our vocabulary in order to be politically correct.

But if Christians really want to “keep Christ in Christmas” they should start spreading Christ’s spirit and maybe even just read the Bible about Jesus accepting and respecting everyone, including people who would not celebrate Christmas. People can argue that a mere change in words can ruin their religious holidays, but in reality it is them killing the holiday spirit with their intolerance.

The phrase “happy holidays” is not an attack on Christmas. I find this claim selfish as if the accusers think Christmas is superior to other holidays. Christmas is one of the holidays included in  the phrase “happy holidays” I do not see how it is excluded at all. All “happy holidays” does is include more holidays and cultures with Christmas.

Are we really that close minded that we cannot acknowledge that other cultural holidays are just as important as Christmas? Instead people dwell in this hypersensitive attitude that Christmas is the holiday and anyone who thinks otherwise is completely wrong. This strangely reminds me of the attitude of many Christians who are quick to start a fight the second they think their only could be right views are lightly infringed upon for the sake of others who do not share their beliefs.

In relation to Coppell Schools, Coppell Independent School District’s Title IX Compliance states that public schools cannot discriminate or exclude students based off religion or national origin  by any program sponsored by the school. Christmas parties and other non-educational religiously themed activities violate this rule. Public schools are open to people of all religions and I would at least hope I could trust the administration to protect everyone’s rights by only sponsoring all religion encompassing or secular activities, rather than championing only one religion.

By all means go ahead sing your favorites Christmas songs, talk about your plans for Hanukkah, and get in the spirit of the holidays. You have the absolute right to express your joy about Christmas. Just remember that when it comes to other people they might not celebrate Christmas or celebrate other holidays along with Christmas.

The decisions and actions we make represent the attitude we have about people who are different than us. You have to decide if you want to get all riled up over a matter of simple changes to include everyone or get in the true spirit of the holiday spirit by respecting and showing compassion to all kinds of people.

On that note, I wish you happy holidays.

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