Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I Think About: Christmas at School?

Every year more and more schools are pulling Christmas out of the classroom.

No Christmas units.  No Christmas parties.  No Christmas.

Admittedly, I worked in one of these schools and I LOVED it.  I was so glad I didn't have to forgo curriculum time for sugar-coma induced parties and I didn't have to listen to kids who were upset that they got a "lame" book from "Tommy" when they wanted the "cool" book from Seth.  As a teacher, I loved not having Christmas in the classroom.

Now that my daughter is in school I'm geared up for a different environment.  Christmas parties with gift exchanges, Christmas programs, and stories of Santa abound.  Harmless, really.  Really?

Here's the thing.  My child knows Santa isn't real (if you just read that and didn't know, my apologies) and she has been instructed not to "ruin" it for other kids.  In school, however, even when she has let her teachers know that she's in on the secret, her teachers keep saying, "oh, of course Santa is real."  So now my six year old is confused.  Does she trust mom and dad or Mrs. So and So?

I was trying to think about this from another perspective--perhaps a Jewish child or Jehovah's Witness--and I bet this time of year is downright confusing and isolating.  I feel like people get so caught up in "not ruining it for our kids" that we aren't recognizing how we are ruining for other people's kids.

I'm not a crazy liberal (unless you are a hyper-conservative).  I'm not on a politically correct bandwagon.  But this year, when my little girl asks for the seventeenth time, "Are you sure Santa isn't real because my music teacher says he is?" I wonder if this "harmless" Christmas fun really is harmless.  And I wonder if Christmas should be at school.

We've taken the Christ aspect of Christmas.  I wonder if it's time for Santa Christmas to get out of classrooms, too.

What I think is that it is time to start having serious conversations about whether Santa should be in classrooms.

I still don't know which way I lean, but I'm ready to hear opinions.  So sway me.

Christmas at school? YAY or NAY?  The comment line is open!

Thank you to Shell at Things I Can't Say for supporting my random thoughts.

4 comments:

  1. I guess that is just the party line at schools- to reinforce that Santa is real. Because no one wants to be the teacher who has to deal with the parent coming in yelling at them for ruining the magic.

    Down here, the kids do have Christmas in schools(though 2 of mine are in Christian schools, so that makes sense). For the one in public, they do more for Christmas, but they also talk about the other winter celebrations.

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  2. You do bring up a good point about other kids feeling isolated if they come from other religious traditions.

    On one hand, I think it should still be fine to celebrate Christmas in public school in the same way I get frustrated with people slamming Tebow and crucifying Santa on the cross. Not because those things are surprisingly offensive per se, but because if it were any one else's faith being attacked, it would be widely accepted as bigotry, instead of an exercise of "religious freedom".

    However, I think you're right . . . they aren't even celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas, so am I really going to get uptight about my kiddos missing out on a holiday party and gift exchange? I don't need or want the public school system educating my children on Christ anyway, when I have the privilege to do so at home, where I know they will get a reverent perspective and accurate information.

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  3. Sandra and I were just talking about this last night. I fear Eli will be that kid that tells everyone Santa is no longer alive and everyone is just dressing up to pretend to be St. Nicholas. I'm a little worried about our extended family Christmas party too...where there are a lot of "believers." I've told him to just let people pretend he is real. :) We'll see how it goes. Haven't experienced the opposite yet. There have been a few people that have asked Eli what he is asking Santa to bring him or if he has been a good boy...He just kind of looks at them like they're crazy and looks at me like "Is this grown-up for real?". Makes me chuckle on the inside.

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  4. Your daughter is at that tough age when some kids her age believe in Santa, and some don't. My son is 6 almost 7 (on Friday). This is the first year that he's questioning the whole thing. he still believes, but we're definitive playing it down a little this year. As a christian mother, I also have a heard time taking away from the true meaning of the season. BUT, Santa is fun. Christmas is fun, and I say that kids should be able to be kids with magic and Christmas. Even at school. I do think teachers have it tough when they are asked the big questions. I wouldn't know what to say. I always say, "well, what do you think?" So, I'm not much help here.

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