Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Today is December 2nd, so I thought I'd better get this out in the open right now. I am a Christian and I celebrate Christmas. I have a sparkly, pretty Christmas tree in my living room. There is a nativity set sitting on my entrance table. My family and I are spending the month reading accounts of Jesus Christ's birth from the scriptures. I will give my children Christmas presents on the morning of the 25th. I will wish various people throughout the month a Merry Christmas. If you happen to be one of those people, but you don't celebrate Christmas, I won't hold that against you. I won't apologize for it either, but please don't hold it against me because I celebrate it. I am simply giving you greeting of warmth, love, and general good cheer.

If a Jewish friend wants to wish me a Happy Hannukah, that's fine with me. I promise not to be offended. I will be glad for the kindness. That goes for anybody else who celebrates anything at this time of year. What a nice way of sharing a little bit of yourself with me!

I write about this today because a co-worker of mine was recently berated by a parent whose daughter came home with a paper turkey. He yelled at my friend, telling her in no uncertain terms that he did not want his daughter involved in any type of activity that had anything to do with any holidays. Period. This teacher never received so much as a note on a napkin informing her of this request. We've already celebrated Halloween and the parent never said "Boo." When this parent came in with his tongue lashing, he didn't cite any type of religious reasons or any other reason, for that matter. Thanksgiving is an American holiday, by the way; not a religious one. His child attends an American public school. What does he expect?

Let me give you non-teachers a bit of advice: when an irrational parent comes in and yells at and berates a teacher, all it gets you is disrespected and talked about behind your back amongst all the other teachers. And then, as your child moves up through the grades, nobody wants her because they don't want to deal with YOU.

Of course we teachers are happy to accommodate and will respect requests for students to not participate in certain activities for whatever reason. Many years ago I had a student whose family practiced a religion that did not allow for the celebration of parties, including holidays and birthdays. They spoke to me about it in a calm and kind manner on the first day of school; and you know what? We parted at the end of the year with genuine feelings of kindness and mutual respect. That student has to be in his early twenties now and I can imagine that he is a very successful and well-rounded young man.

I realize I live in a part of the country (Utah) where most people predominantly belong to one religion. But I have a grandmother who is a Muslim. She sends me Christmas cards. I have relatives who don't believe in any type of higher power at all. They send me Christmas cards. I have relatives who are gay, who are living with HIV, who are black, white, Indonesian, Dutch, American, Catholic... you name it. They've all got a branch on my family tree. And the fruit is beautiful.

So this December, let me share a little bit of myself with you.

Merry Christmas, people!


  1. Well said. I feel for the student. How embarrassing and sad for him/her. And MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  2. Cindy, you've captured the meaning of the holidays so beautifully! This time of year should be about celebrating our love for our Creator (in whatever form it manifests for us) and our love for mankind, in renewal of faith and hope for the world we live in. These messages get lost in commercialism and bright lights, thanks for reminding us!