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Should Schools Celebrate Christmas?

The Winter Holiday Debate
Joel LaCount
The Christmas tree in the office at WRMS.

Should Christmas be celebrated in school? While Christmas got its start as a religious holiday, in modern times it has become more of a cultural phenomenon than a religious one. 

Around 85% of Americans celebrate Christmas, while only 63% are Christian, therefore, 22%, or 73 million Americans celebrate Christmas while not Christian. Only 51% of Americans see Christmas as a religious holiday, while the other 49% see it as more cultural than religious. 94.2% of WRMS students surveyed said they celebrate Christmas, and 79.1% say that they think schools should celebrate Christmas. Think about the last time you had or attended a Christmas celebration. Most likely, the main focus was not on religion. So, with that in mind, why shouldn’t schools celebrate it? 

The Christmas tree in the library at WRMS.

According to 8th grade principal Mr. Dial “Based on the laws and regulations we must follow as an educational facility, we can not celebrate a holiday singularly and ignore the others.” Mr. Dial also pointed out that there can be legal issues with teachers pushing a religious agenda. “While personally I know Christmas can be celebrated as a holiday without the religious context, it would still not be appropriate to celebrate it in school.” While I understand that there could possibly be legal issues, I believe that the likelihood of a teacher trying to push a certain religion just because they are celebrating Christmas is very low.

Right now, you might be thinking “But what about the other holidays? Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, what about them?” While they should certainly not be ignored, shouldn’t the level of celebration be proportional to the amount of celebrators? Not for lack of respect or recognition for other holidays, but simply because it presents itself as the most logical solution. This system of proportional representation is used in many governments and other systems around the world, including our own House of Representatives. 

If a teacher wants to decorate every inch of their classroom with Christmas lights and ornaments, I think that’s just fine. And if they want to decorate their classroom with Hanukkah decorations or any other holiday, I think that’s just fine as well. I don’t think celebrating any holiday with religious ties should be prohibited, because it’s almost always possible to celebrate them without making religion the main focus, or forcing it on anyone. 

If you would like to learn more about other winter holidays such as Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and others, visit these sites:

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