Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Happy ChristYuleKwanzUkkah...

This morning is my kids' Christmas show at school. Both of them have been practicing songs for the last few weeks, and I'm excited to see them perform.

There's one thing that stays in the back of my head with this program, though.

Back in October, the kids' school had a Fall Festival. It was October 30th, held at the school, and involved kids dressing up and going classroom door to classroom door trick-or-treating for candy. Sounds like Halloween, huh?

Good gracious, no. Don't say that. It was not Halloween, it was the Fall Festival. When I casually asked at the PTO meeting why we just didn't call it a Halloween festival, I was told that some parents took offense because they didn't celebrate Halloween (it's against their religion, so I was told), so to refrain from excluding or offending anyone, they decided to call it a Fall Festival.

One of the stupidest things I've ever heard, considering Halloween is NOT a religious holiday, but whatever. I'm a pretty flexible mom who rolls with the punches and can put up with ignorance.

So why, pray tell, are my children having a Christmas Program today?

Now hold on, stop right there. I don't give a rat's ass what the school wants to call the program this morning. I'm not offended by the words Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa  or any other religious holiday of this season. It's all the same, anyway. The ideas of togetherness, thankfulness and giving are found in every single one of them, so you can call it whatever in the hell you want to, based on your particular religious beliefs.

So why in the hell do people take it so damn personally? And why, out of principle, did my children have to have a Fall Festival but they can have a Christmas Program? In my opinion, if you are going to de-personalize one holiday then all holidays need to be de-personalized. My kids should be having a Winter Program today.

Again, let me stress here that I don't care that my kids are having a Christmas program this morning. I'm one to argue on principles alone, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. That's just the debater in me (I like to call myself a master-debater... hahahaha!). So yes, part of me wants to take the principal aside tomorrow and bring this point up to him, not from the standpoint of being offended, but by the standpoint that what's good for the goose (Halloween) should be good for the gander (Christmas), too.

I won't, of course, bring this up to the principal. Why? Because it doesn't offend me, and for some reason, the greater population can not argue things based on principles anymore. If I were to bring this subject up to the principal in a very logical, questioning manner, when word got out, I'd be pegged the Satan Worshiping Mom Who Hated Christmas, y'all know I would be.

Do I worship Satan? Of course not.
Do I hate Christmas? Of course not.

But goodness forbid I decided to start an intellectual debate about why Halloween has been omitted from the
school's calendar in fear of stepping on someone's religious toes (when it isn't even a religious holiday), but we can go ahead and have a Christmas program and sing Christmas songs and not worry about the Jewish kids or pagan kids or Kwanzaa-celebrating children in the audience. The logical side of my brain is dying with this one, folks.

I've never understood why people get so offended over things. You can't wish people a Merry Christmas for fear that they aren't Christian. But you can't wish anyone Happy Holidays for fear that they are Christian and are wondering why you didn't wish them a Merry Christmas. That's what this all boils down to...


Fear of offending someone, fear of stepping on someone's toes, fear of excluding someone.

I say bullshit to this fear. This prancing around everyone else's beliefs and wishes only creates tolerance for ignorance, closed-mindedness and the inability to accept people as they are. When we start to focus so much on possibly not offending someone, we miss an opportunity to learn about them, to see what makes them different than us, and to embrace that difference.
Instead of concentrating on what greeting to use, be it Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, why not just shout out, It's a great time of year, isn't it? and make a person smile. If someone wishes you a Merry Christmas and you don't actually celebrate Christmas, instead of giving the person a piece of your mind about assuming you are Christian, understand the meaning of what they are saying, and simply wish them a Happy Holidays back. If someone wishes you Happy Holidays and you are proud to be Christian, then smile, say Merry Christmas back to them, and go on about your business. If you want to know more about a person, then respectfully ask. This is the time of year that warm fuzzy feelings run rampant, so use them for the greater good.

And for crying out loud, quit being so damn sensitive. If someone comes out and blatantly disrespects your religious beliefs, then yes, get offended and say something. Otherwise, understand that everyone is different, many people don't share your particular beliefs, and some people are just assholes and move on.

Christmas Program today or Winter Program today, both are fine with me. Part of me thinks if they really wanted to educate our children, they would have had a Winter Program and had the kids learn a traditional Christmas song, Yule song, Hanukkah song and Kwanzaa song, but I'm sure that would blow other parents' heads clear off their necks. Not me. My family celebrates Yule and Christmas, but if my kids ever asked about the other holidays, we'd learn about them, too.

My problem with the program today isn't in the songs my children will be singing (hell, I still remember how to do 'Little Town of Bethlehem' in sign language from learning it in my 4th grade music class for our Christmas Program- in a public school, nonetheless), or even in the fact that they are calling it a Christmas Program. It's the ignorance in principle that lies behind generalizing Halloween into a Fall Festival but leaving the Christmas Program as-is, and the confusing message it's sending my kids- Halloween is supposedly offensive to some religions, even though it's not a religious holiday, but Christmas, which is a religious holiday, supposedly doesn't offend anyone, or it would be called a Winter Program today. I think I confused myself right there.

Man, I didn't even go into how most holidays this time of year are lacking of religion and spiritual beliefs all together and are just the retail industry's way of brainwashing us into thinking that buying things for people shows them that we care. I must be slipping today...

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  1. Oh can I get an Amen! I am actually offended that they can't celebrate the holidays the way I could when I was a kid. I had Jewish friends, a friend whose mother was Wiccan, Mormon Friends, several hindu and buddhist friends, and probably even a few friends whose parents were atheist. Did they cry that their kids were exposed to Santa Claus??? NOOO! Did they whine that the Nativity might scar them for life? NOOOO! And we had cool Halloween parties, WITH musical chairs where kids "lost"when they didn't get a chair. I LOVE this post!

    1. Thank you so much! I was shocked that they did have the kids sing a Hanukkah song today at the Christmas program. It made me smile! =)

  2. It's past the point of being a bit ridiculous, isn't it? It's so ridiculous that all I can do is laugh that so many people have jumped on the bandwagon. I find myself feeling hesitant to even say Merry Christmas anymore, lest I offend. Crazy stuff, that.

    1. I completely agree. I wish people Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays- whatever I feel like rolling off my tongue at that moment, lol.

  3. I love you rant and I share you outraged about "prancing around everyone else's beliefs and wishes only creates tolerance for ignorance, closed-mindedness and the inability to accept people as they are..."

    ---that you confused yourself;) how do you think our kids feel ???

    1. Pretty confused, I'm sure, lol.

      Thanks for your comment! =)

  4. I've officially fallen in love with you and super bummed I didn't find you when I became pregnant back in June. You write (and think) like I do! Keep up the good work mom after my own heart.

  5. Unfortunately political correctness has gotten out of hand. It's funny cause I posted a question on my forum about this very thing. Great post!

    1. Thanks! I'll have to check out your forum. If you are posting questions like this, I definitely want to chime in, lol.

  6. YES! I have very close-minded, holier-than-though Christian relatives. My aunt's facebook status the other day illustrated that Christmas MUST be about the birth of Christ because of the Latin origins of the word.
    Funny, because most religious scholars agree that Jesus wasn't born in December. Funny, because the Feast of the Son of Isis was celebrated on December 25th thousands of years before the birth of Christ, with feasting, drinking, and gift-giving. Funny, because in ancient Rome Mummers would traveled house to house singing songs (caroling) during the winter season.
    It's not common knowledge, but it isn't hard to find out that in the year 350 the Pope *decided* to celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25th.
    So, please, tell me again how much Christmas has to do with Christianity?

    Oh, thank you, for giving me a place to get this off my chest!!

    1. Bravo, Nicole. Because I gave the history of Halloween a few months ago, and the topic of Christmas offends so many, I chose not to go into the (correct) origins of Christmas this year, but I am SO GLAD you did. This is why my family celebrates Yule- a time where a baby God is born and people celebrate. We only celebrate the commercial Santa side of actual 'Christmas'.

      Yay!! And vent here anytime! =)