Remain neutral…


It’s weeks away.  Christmas.  Otherwise known as the holidays, complete with Santa, Reindeer, Elves, decorated trees and that one petrified mass of dried fruit, nuts and rum, called Fruitcake, which continues to be sent around the world from person to person.

Along with everything red and green, the season brings Hanukkah, the festival of light and beautiful traditions and Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture.  Those with different religious backgrounds reach out and acknowledge these joyful festivities, possibly the one time of year when most of us make attempts to set aside our differences.

But not all.  Many communities already deal with those who object to Christmas tree and Nativity displays, even to the placement of Menorahs.  Now, such disapproval continues to rear its ugly head in the direction of schools, the retail market and various private organizations who engage in any specific Christmas oriented activities.

I had a recent discussion with a young person who was upset and shared a story about a holiday event they had been looking forward to until someone in the respective organization levied a complaint about keeping the overall theme…neutral.  Neutral?  Is this what our children are to learn as they head into adulthood?  Remain neutral, refusing to accept or respect the long-standing religious traditions of others and declaring a would-be war on Christmas and all other devotional observances? Set aside the cheerful celebrations, the sometimes-overdone decorations and the important sense of sharing and giving to others?  Always remain politically correct and keep your religious observances to yourself?

The New York City public school system banned Nativity displays in 2002 yet allowed what they felt were less overtly religious symbols as menorahs, Muslim star and crescent and Christmas trees.   I felt this was an insult to Christians, Jews and Muslims to have their religious beliefs categorized under an almost innocuous, borderline neutral, heading.

Where is the harm in allowing our children to participate in all of the seasonal activities, regardless of any religious affiliations?  Why can’t youngsters learn to respect and celebrate all religious practices?  Why are we focusing on mandating that every observance be conducted in a secular manner because acknowledging all holiday traditions with the collective pomp and circumstance involved makes certain segments of our society… uncomfortable?

How is this explained to any youngster who asks why?


workshop-button-1  From Mama Kat’s….Talk about something you learned from your child this week. 

What I learned was from someone else’s child and it upset me, a great deal.  This young person was looking forward to being part of a holiday event until an outside source registered a complaint, demanding that the function be kept “neutral”. 

In my own life, I enjoy a family with different religious backgrounds and have raised my own children to always acknowledge the religious celebrations of others.  Why so many choose to hide behind walls of indifference and downright ignorance is exhausting, especially where the holiday season is concerned.  There is not one of us who is better than the other based on who or what we worship or what seasonal event we choose to celebrate. 

The idea is to embrace each other as human beings. 



  1. I totally agree. All traditions should be honored and let people celebrate as they like. When I was a kid in grade school (60’s) each class teacher would pick a Christmas carol (any), then we’d practice as a class singing it, then on the last day of school in December, there would be a public performance. All the ground floor rooms had an upright piano back then and the teachers knew how to play. (older ladies raised in the 40’s) I have fond memories of singing “Little Drummer Boy” in 5th grade.

    • Patty says:

      You made me think back to my own grade school (which was parochial) and how our daily prayers were always for the conversion of others to Catholicism. In some way, all those years ago, the nuns imprinted their point-of-view on students and we were not taught to understand the diversity of other religions. I consider myself fortunate in finishing my education in a public school environment where all religious holidays were respected. Unlike today.

      Thank you, Bev!

  2. Kim says:

    I was born and raised in the South and as such, celebrating Christmas was really all there was, except for maybe and extremely small minority of other religions. But today’s world is entirely different. Not everyone is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. I think it best, in the public sector at least, to include ALL beliefs (and non-beliefs, for those who mainly celebrate the season with gifts and such, but without any religious beliefs).

    But I’m like you….why bother keeping things “neutral”? Why not include all?

    • Patty says:

      The amazing issue with what I related had nothing to do with a religious observance, not really. It involved someone’s complaint about having “Santa” in a scheduled performance. I’m guessing that the fat jolly man in a red suit represented Christianity while Rudolph, Frosty and any assorted Elves were acceptable.

      I agree with you as well…lighten up and just enjoy any fleeting moment of celebration.

      Thanks, Kim!

  3. Kat says:

    Wow, it really is sad that instead of celebrating every religion and culture, we’d rather scrub it out altogether. It’s not the answer. 🙁

    • Patty says:

      I so agree, Kat. Wish I knew what the answer might be, perhaps there isn\’t one in today\’s society. Everything has become such a personal political preference and traditions are being cast aside. Definitely not the way to teach our children and help them become well-rounded and accepting adults.

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