Candy Cane Shivs and Other Holiday Rants

So, I ran across this article yesterday. I haven’t quite picked my jaw up off the floor yet, honestly, particularly at this part:

Mother Kathleen Flannery said a administrator called her and explained that, “not everyone wants Christmas cheer. That suicide rates are up over Christmas, and that they should keep their cheer to themselves, perhaps.”

Wow. So, exactly what *is* it we’re celebrating during this season, anyway? Seems a far cry from “Peace on earth, goodwill to man,” that I was always brought up with.  And sure, I suppose you *COULD* make a weapon from a sharpened candy cane…but what about pencils? Those metal parts on rulers? Sporks? Hell, why not just run up to the chemistry lab, snag some acid and THROW it?? (Obviously I don’t advocate any of the above. But those little candy canes that break when you look at them hardly constitute as weapons.)

My son’s Holiday concert was last night as well…we had songs about Kwanzaa. And Hannukkah. And about celebrating what you celebrate with joy (done with sign language too.) I really liked that one – because it’s sort of the point. On the other hand? Not a single song about Christmas itself.

Now, I will admit I’m not overly religious – I’ve always found that aspect of my life to be a private journey and nothing I’m going to get into now. I do find it sad that our efforts to include everyone during this time often involve pushing some traditions down.

Christmas falls into a rough place – on one hand it is a religious holiday – a Christian one, birth of Jesus, angels, heavenly hosts and all that – but on the other, it’s pretty secular – trees, Santa, reindeer, mistletoe. But it seems like people have hard time rectifying the two – either it’s solely religious or it’s materialistic tripe geared toward making people spend as much as possible on crap they don’t need. (And that’s not even getting into the deeper pagan roots of why Christmas was put where it is on the calendar – but needless to say the reason for the season is very, very old indeed.)

I’m not interested in arguing about it, honestly. People have the right to be offended. People also have the right to NOT be offended. (And I have to say I’m really not appreciative of the knee-jerk retroactive reactionaries who stop people from doing “x” on the off chance that someone *might* be offended. Guess what? It’s called LIFE. Get over it and get over yourself.)

In the larger scheme of things does it really matter if your kid sees a candy cane in school? Or talks about reindeer? Or Jesus Christ? Or spins a dreidel? Or prays to the moon on winter Solstice? Or doesn’t celebrate anything at all? Do one’s religious beliefs or non-belief truly hinge upon such things?

True tolerance is not paying lip service – it’s acceptance that people are different and accepting that *all* celebratory acts are equally valid and equally respected. Such equality comes from raising other traditions up into the spotlight…not by dragging others out of it.

Just my two cents.

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