It’s holiday tree, not Christmas tree. Well, that’s what a school district in New Hampshire told a veteran when he and his wife sent out fliers for the town’s annual tree lighting festivities. But they’re still totally cool with him dressing up like Santa. Wait, what?
John Fletcher, the commander of the American Legion in Marlborough, New Hampshire, has been helping to throw the town’s annual tree lighting for years now. But this year, when he sent out fliers advertising the “Christmas tree lighting,” he was asked by the superintendent to leave out the word “Christmas,” or he’d be barred from promoting the event to students.
Fletcher, who also raises money to buy gifts for the kids who attend the event, was told by Robert Malay that to advertise the lighting, he needed to “revise” the flier and change the word “Christmas” to “holiday.” Fletcher and his wife then proceeded to Wite-Out the word on each flier, but he refused to change any more than that.
The tree lighting is still going forth on Sunday, and Fletcher and his wife will still dress up like Mr. and Mrs. Claus, as they always do.
So let’s see here: A lit-up tree. Santa Claus. Mrs. Claus. Gifts. Sure sounds like Christmas!
While it’s completely understandable to want to ban anything religious from schools (church and state, people!), A) this isn’t a school event, but a town event, and B) this doesn’t exactly sound like a religious event.
While Christmas technically is a Christian holiday, let’s be honest here: A lot of the “religiousness” is typically left out of it. It would be understandable if a school took issue if there was a nativity scene or the flier advertised “the birth of Christ,” but Santa and a tree lighting? It’s all still happening! Only without the word “Christmas.”
Holidays and religion are always incredibly tricky subjects when a school is involved, even in the slightest way. But an instance like this — where simply a word is being removed — raises the question: Will it really make a difference?
No doubt it has to be irritating and offensive for people who don’t celebrate Christmas to be bombarded with “Everything Christmas!” each December. But being that this event is still happening — with all the Christmas traditions — taking out a word doesn’t seem like it will do much. Parents who don’t want their children attending aren’t going to let them attend. It’s doubtful any mom or dad out there saw the flier and thought, “Hey, it’s a holiday tree lighting this year. Let’s go!”
Unfortunately for people who don’t celebrate or like Christmas in America, it’s simply unavoidable this time of year. But the fact is, even if the word is banned, it’s not going to take away the trees, reindeer, Santas and everything else associated with the holiday. Even if it is just called… a holiday.