Let’s include everyone in winter celebrations

Leading into December, often around Thanksgiving time, it’s a common belief around the nation and Cedar Falls that it is “Christmas Season.” This may be true for many people, but it is not true for all.  In fact, Christmas is not the only holiday that happens during the winter season.  

Hanukkah also occurs in December and lasts eight days. Because it is based on the Hebrew calendar, it is different dates each year. This year it started on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 2 and ends Monday, Dec. 10. During Hanukkah, Jews light a menorah to remember an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil lasted for eight nights. 

Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits” is another holiday that happens during the month of December, starting Dec. 26 and ending Jan. 1. It is based on ancient African harvest festivals and honors ideals such as unity and family.

It is normal and natural to be excited about one’s holiday and wanting to display happiness in ways of decorations, dressing up and special types of food. However, it’s also important to know that not everyone shares the same backgrounds and traditions, or even celebrates the same holidays. Because of that, it is also important to recognize the other holidays and religions that people have. 

One way we can be more aware of differences among people at schools is by changing the name of “Christmas Break.” It is often referred to as “Christmas Break” because Christmas does fall during the time we aren’t in school, but everyone might not be taking the break to celebrate Christmas. A more inclusive name for the break that allows all to feel included and recognized is “Winter Break,” since it falls during the winter time. The same could be said for “Winter parties or celebrations” instead of “Christmas parties” that take place at school. 

Spreading joy and cheer around this time of year should be encouraged and celebrated.  However, we also need to take time to recognize and be aware of the different holidays that people celebrate this time of year and respect and embrace the differences. 

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