I was struck recently when I walked into a WalMart store and saw a group of trees aligned in a neat little row. It wasn’t the trees themselves that grabbed me, but what the trees represented: Christmas. All of the sparkling lights wrapped around their limbs; the shelves of baroque ornaments beside them; the glowing, backyard reindeer and the blow-up Santa Claus â€“ they all represented one religion and one religion only.
As a celebrator myself, I really haven’t questioned Christmas decorations before. They have been a permanent part of December shelves my entire life. The weighted preference for Christmas shows up essentially everywhere in my life: at school, signs for â€œMerry Christmasâ€ are hung rather than â€œHappy Holidaysâ€; kids are asked what they want from Santa for the daycare I volunteer at; nearly every commercialized product â€“ movies, TV commercials, even TV networks â€“ show Christmas bias. And with nearly everything catered to the holiday I celebrate, why should I have any reason to balk at an ordinary line of Christmas trees?
The balking started when I placed myself in the shoes of a Hanukah or Kwanza celebrator. Continue reading