New guidelines emerge for holiday celebrations

It’s the most wonderful time of year—or at least it used to be. Lately, it’s more like the most controversial time of year. For many, it provokes the emergence of vivid memories of what it was like to wake up early on Christmas as a kid full of anticipation. On the morning of Dec. 25, children have tiptoed down stairways and hallways for generations, eager to explore the contents of little packages delicately wrapped beneath a tree. For others, there are no such recollections.

In the American culture, children have been exposed to and participated in a number of Christmas traditions both at home and in the classroom. Baking cookies, exchanging gifts and singing Christmas carols are some of the activities that children engage in, maximizing their holiday experience. However, many feel that these ancient traditions are being jeopardized by the movement masqueraded by the friendly term “political correctness.”

In attempt to protect and avoid offending other cultures, there is a rising fear that the American culture is being depleted by this movement. Melanie Amador, a student of criminology at California State University, Fresno thinks that restrictions shouldn’t be placed on children practicing their own traditions. “We all have our own religions and are all entitled to them,” Amador said. “If I want to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ I should be able to say it and shouldn’t be worried to offend anyone.”

In recent years, “Christmas” programs and parties have been kindly renamed “winter” festivals at public schools around the nation. These festivities forbid the use of the name Jesus, certain holiday songs and traditions such as gift exchanges. There has been an even more widespread ban on the use of Christmas traditions such as the colors red and green, Santa Claus and other characters, symbols, songs and decorations that Americans have incorporated into their festivities for ages.

While restrictions are placed to protect people of certain cultures and religions, others feel that political correctness is being imposed upon them, robbing them of their own first amendment right. “We have a diverse society and should celebrate our own traditions and cultures,” Amador points out. “I don’t think we should be politically correct for others.”

“I remember when I was in elementary school, we had Christmas plays and everyone at my school loved and enjoyed them,” Amador recalls. By restricting these practices in the school, she thinks “we are telling our children that they cannot express their opinions and beliefs to others, and are holding them back.”

Still, others support the movement. Agriculture Education student, Crystal Luera views political correctness during the season as an act of respect, “certain people do not celebrate “Christmas” I fully support saying holidays to the public because I believe to respect the others who don’t celebrate it.”

“I personally do not get offended if someone is celebrating their traditions on a public place as long as I am able to celebrate my traditions too,” Luera points out. But, “when they do celebrate their traditions they should do it reasonably because some people do not like other people’s traditions being up in their face, or someone pushing their traditions on someone else.”

In response to the ambiguity of the season, attorneys at The Rutherford Institute have compiled “The Twelve Rules of Christmas,” a list of guidelines to determine whether or not behaviors in public, educational institutions or the workplace is appropriate. The complete list can be viewed at http://www.rutherford.org/resources/legal-12rules.asp. In the words of the president of The Rutherford Institute, John W. Whitehead, “It’s time for some common sense this Christmas.”

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