Written by Devon Mitchell
It’s the Christmas season and soon enough grades K-12 will be celebrating in the classroom. Christmas parties will be held, Christmas movies will be viewed, and fun festive crafts will be made. It sounds like a great time for kids, but could these traditions be unconstitutional?
The constitution states that as citizens we have the freedom to religion. Considering that, it is considered unconstitutional for a public school to observe religious holidays as well as teaching religion. So, the question at hand is, is Christmas a religious holiday? Historically speaking, Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus, thus making it in the most traditional sense a Christian holiday. However, most recently Christmas has lost a large amount of the religious background. Instead of a focus on the Christian aspects, Christmas has become a holiday which isn’t celebrated in the pews anymore. Christmas has turned commercial as we all know. Kids can’t wait for Christmas day to see what Santa brought them, and parents in the weeks leading up spend hours in shopping malls and stores.
So many people celebrate Christmas, even those who aren’t Christians celebrate Christmas now. All in all, in the 21st century Christmas has lost its religious meanings. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Christmas offers an opportunity for unity to all people, no matter their religious or ethnic background. It’s not even really about the presents. I’d argue that today Christmas is about family, friends and goodwill. All Christmas movies have similar themes, the protagonist always learns a lesson in spending time with loved ones and giving back to their community. All of this is not to say that Christmas is completely removed from religion. I grew up going to church every Christmas Eve and setting up manger scenes in our living room.
Yes, there is still reason to say Christmas is a religious holiday. However, I think that is far enough removed from the church that it isn’t absurd to celebrate in schools. If people can celebrate Christmas and not be a Christian, then as a public can we consider is a religious holiday? I think that Christmas is a person to person holiday, and anyone can choose to celebrate or not to celebrate. Due to this I don’t believe the celebration of Christmas in schools is considered unconstitutional; if that were true, then we shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day or Halloween in public schools, because they too have religious backgrounds. What all these holidays have in common though is that they are far enough removed from their religious roots.
No matter who you are and what you believe in, Christmas time can be an amazing time for communities and humankind. People are happier, more giving, kinder and if that’s the case why not spread the cheer to kids and let them celebrate in school.