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Expelling Santa from school? Holiday observance in a politically correct age

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  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Dec. 13, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    Count me among those who would like to see more diversity celebrated during this time of the year. I'm not LDS, but the Jesus I pray to would probably give a thumbs up to including everyone and might just give a stern scowl to those who would seek to exclude on his birthday. If Santa is cool with everyone, I say fine. If he's into making my public school a place where those of the Jewish faith or those who celebrate Kwanza would feel anything less than welcome, he'll get a lump of coal in his stocking from me and a quick escort to the exit as I give him a hearty heave--ho ho ho, out the door!

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Dec. 13, 2013 2:13 p.m.

    Our school still sings religious hymns at our Holiday concert. And, yes, I say Holiday concert because that's what it's called because many people practice year-end celebrations. We have Christmas hymns, secular songs about Santa, and songs about Chanukah, Kwanzaa and yes, even songs about the winter solstice. That's what communities do; they celebrate each other. No one complains about our concerts because no one is excluded.

    What better time of the year to practice inclusion than now? What better gift can we give than to love our neighbor as ourselves?

    Jesus may be our "reason for the season," but if we want to share that with others we need to begin by making friends, not enemies.

  • Terrie Bittner Warminster, PA
    Dec. 13, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    When I homeschooled, we were not allowed to include anything on our timesheet that wasn't strictly educational. Disney movies, Disneyland trips, visits with Santa, pep rallies, parties...none of that could count. And yet, when my children were in public schools, all of it counted and the taxpayers paid for it. When I was in high school, the taxpayers footed the bill for a hypnotist show and a day at Disneyland.

    Children go to school to be educated. Schools keep saying they need more hours to educate. Instead of lengthening the school year and school day and increasing the homework, perhaps they should take out the Santa visits, Disney movies, and other non-educational things. You can have fun while learning, but Santa really isn't educational. I loved Santa, but I was willing to do it on my own time, not on the government's dime.

  • Don$1000 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    Schools waste too much time on holidays, recess, lunch. I figure on a given school days my kids are getting an average of about 2-3 hours of actual learning a day. Schools should rather be teaching my kids how to do advanced mathematics, computer coding, speak a foreign language, public speaking, physics, chemistry, electronics, environmental studies, history, energy, finance, government, how to write a resume, etc...you know things that will actually help them in life. Leave holidays for communities, churches, and families. I ask my kid every day, "What did you learn today?" He says, "nothing, only stuff I already know." Elementary school, high school, and college are becoming just a big waste of time, holding our kids back. Holding our nation back.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    This is about hatefulness and intolerance. The war on Christmas is just another manifestation of the war on religion by the left. Notice if you will that it is the leftists who overwhelmingly vote Democrat which in turn means we get politicians and judges who owe their allegiance to these people. The Democrats and radical leftists have taken on the anti-religion mantle.

  • dan76 san antonio, TX
    Dec. 12, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    @Teachermom6,

    "Why do you think the U.S. government put their NSA building here?" An inexpensive water rate and unquestioned acceptance of the NSA mission by most of the local populace.

    " I think that we should celebrate our differences instead of focusing only on one way of doing things. BTW, if you are implying that I should teach paganism, that is not one of the major religions on the planet...sorry. "

    Paganism is typically defined as a group of historical polytheistic religious traditions, to include any non-Ababramic, folk, or ethnic religion. With some sources estimating over 300 million followers, I would hesitate to claim it does not rate as one of the larger religious groups on the planet.

    Furthermore the much beloved Christmas tree most likely placed in your school and in various buildings around Temple Square as well as the City Creek complex originated from a Northern European pagan culture.

    Your students deserve to freed of your biases.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Dec. 10, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    Boy, what a lot of Bah Humbug goes on. We Have celebrated Jewish holidays, Chinese Holiday's and Hindu Holidays, depending on where were at the time. It was fun for us and for our kids.

    People need to loosen up and let their kids loosen up.

    Have fun celebrating a holiday like the locals do. It won't kill you and it will give you lots to talk about with your children.

  • Girl Talk Farmington, UT
    Dec. 8, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    I would like to agree with eastcoastcoug. As a child, I learned in my pulic school classroom, the beliefs of many culures and countries. Why does that have to change? That is what most call an education. When you start "picking and choosing" what to include or what not to include in a holiday, you are going to offend someone. If you are going to tell the schools they can not mention Christ as a part of CHRISTmas, then it would only be fair that Santa Claus be exempt from the celebration as well. To prevent all of the discontent, we should continue to allow our children to get a PUBLIC education, and teach the many meanings related to the Holidays, so many of us celebrate.

  • Friend to all Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    My personal opinion is that if our children are taught more about the differences we all have, they will become more tolerant of those differences. If a Christian child learns about her Muslim friends beliefs, she will understand that much more about her friend. We're boxing our children up and making them intolerant of what they don't understand. I'm all for teaching all different beliefs and activities in school. Why not? It won't hurt anyone's child to learn about other people, unless they're being taught at home that their way is the only way.

  • Northern Logan, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 11:12 p.m.

    I always thought it was " down with all the gay apperall" eh who knew.....

  • Stiching Together Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 8:39 p.m.

    When my mother-in-law taught school she taught about holidays around the world. My children's 1st grade teacher did the same. They had so much fun. Not only did they have a great history lesson but they also were reminded that there is more to the world than just what is around them. Sometimes I think we forget how small this world really is. I am thankful for my children's teachers who have taken the time to expand my children's view of the wonderful world that we live in.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    @GZE Salt Lake City is the International Headquarters of the LDS church. With that being said, a vast majority....majority meaning most of the people,(majority rules is another important concept to teach children.) in Utah like to explore culture and languages. Why do you think the U.S. government put their NSA building here? I think that we should celebrate our differences instead of focusing only on one way of doing things. BTW, if you are implying that I should teach paganism, that is not one of the major religions on the planet...sorry.

    The article was discussing how to navigate the month of December.....it has never been a problem for me, and I have had quite a few students outside of the major religion in this state. As a mom, I don't focus on Santa at my house, but am happy to talk about him with my students because they love him. If I had a Jewish student I would be interested in talking to them about their celebration of Hanukah. I believe if we are gracious and acknowledge the beauty of all culture we become more tolerant and understanding of others.

  • Just one more opinion Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    Thanks to a friend of mine I was introduced to some of the entertainment media from Japan, and through that I was surprised to find out that there are a number of Christmas traditions have been adopted, including gift and gift card giving, Christmas trees, and sponge cake with decorations including Santa on top. Plus it seems that chicken is very popular since Turkeys are harder to come by. Japan is like 1% Christian in faith, but far more than just Christians engage in holiday activities there.

    I don't wish to make it sound like I'm saying the Japanese are more tolerant than Americans and so forth, but I do find it interesting that so many people in Japan who aren't Christian have managed to make use aspects of Christmas and still enjoy them and engage and enjoy many of the meanings therein: of giving, of showing love toward one another, enjoying each others company and yet not worrying about where the traditions came from, yet finding good in these traditions.

    I think I'll mark on the calendar and do a little Tanabata celebration this next July 7th.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 6, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    @ bindependent: So, you are offended that others are offended by and don't enjoy things that you enjoy. Do you not see the irony of that?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 12:57 p.m.

    Joy to the world and Peace on earth with good will to every one. Give the 3 gifts all year. The gifts you keep. Your smile, your heart and your word.

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    Teachermom, Do you also teach about those who celebrate the Solstice and the return of the sun?

    You state, "THose of the LDS faith who have traveled out of the country appreciate the beauty of all people." Guess what, those not of the the LDS faith can also appreciate the beauty of all people. And some LDS people who have travelled out of the country come home dismayed about those "who are unwilling to listen to the truth."

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    As a teacher, I like to spend this time working on maps, and discussing the celebrations of countries around the world. Whether we like to admit it or not, the world is becoming much smaller due to our technology. Why not teach children to respect others, their holidays, music and culture? I believe that all cultures have something worth merit to study! I like to visit every continent, and discuss holidays celebrated around the world. We discuss Christmas, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Diwali, as well as games played and land features of each continent. I also add celebrations and countries in depending upon my student make-up. Those of the LDS faith who have traveled out of the country appreciate the beauty of all people, and in Utah I have never faced this type of problem with parents. As a teacher, I also have parents come in to present either places they have visited, countries they have lived in, or family traditions they would like to share. December is a delightful time for everyone, if we would be gracious, make people feel important and remember the beauty of all cultures!

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    bindependent: That would be "don we now our gay apparel"... which has nothing to do with religion or gays, so probably preludes it from the list of possible banned Christmas songs.

  • bindependent Trabuco Canyon, CA
    Dec. 6, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    Simply embarrassing. political correctness garbage is killing me. We, as Americans, are turning into a bunch of wimps. Everyone seems to searching on a daily basis to find something for which they can be offended.
    Can someone please tell me which religion Santa Clause represents? If this keeps up, the next thing we will see, is that a certain Christmas song will be outlawed because it contains the phrase,
    " down we dawn our "gay apparel" Give Me A Break!

  • Miles Encampment, WY
    Dec. 6, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    Can someone remind me what Santa Claus has to do with Christmas anyways?

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    @eastcostcoug

    it is not often I get to agree with you, I do think people are to quick to take up arms during this time of year. I would love to see children taught about the many festivals and celebrations of the many different traditions that take place during this time of year. The one concern I have is the teachers ability to suspend their own prejudices and teach about these various traditions in an unbiased and way that shows respect for all.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2013 7:09 a.m.

    "No one has the right to coerce religious activity. On the other hand, there is no legal right that protects you from feeling offended or excluded."

    Wow. What a concept.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Dec. 6, 2013 4:55 a.m.

    I think people overreact on both sides to this issue. Rather than ban everything, let's teach our kids about many traditions and help them understand how people celebrate them. We seem to go overboard on what the minority is focused on without being able to appreciate both sides.

    Our kids went for years to international schools in Europe. They have full-blown Christmas traditions with decorations and concerts and where we had lots of Scandinavians (not in Scandinavia) they dedicated a whole day to Santa Lucia with food, processionals, music, etc. In other words, everyone celebrated what this small but significant group was celebrating. Europe is more secular than the US but they have a Christmas tree and Christmas markets in many town squares. I think people and kids benefit from celebrating local and other customs. They don't learn anything about anyone when they shut it all down and say that no one gets anything. And I see this as more of a phenomenon in the Western US than here on the East Coast.