Celebrating Holidays in School Can Be a Cultural Lesson

Sophomore Victoria Koenig themed her Spanish class extra credit piñata after winter movie ‘Frozen’. Photo courtesy of Nicole Jones.

Sophomore Victoria Koenig themed her Spanish class extra credit piñata after winter movie ‘Frozen’. Photo courtesy of Nicole Jones.

Annabelle Farrell

Nicole Jones

Staff Writers

        During the month of December, many people enjoy getting into the holiday spirit — yet sometimes, a school can interrupt the excitement due to different religious and cultural beliefs. Public schools used to be able to celebrate the winter holidays and now many don’t celebrate in the same way. 

       In elementary school, the day before the break would be the holiday party, and at some schools, Santa would come in and talk to the kids. The ways holidays are celebrated have changed due to recognizing other cultures and beliefs. Now, many elementary schools do holiday book readings, Grinch Day or learn about other traditions rather than the traditional Santa visit. 

        This change has made many students upset and wishing they could go back to when they were younger. and celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year”.

         Junior, Noelle Joobeur stated, “When we were younger we could have parties.” There have been new policies put in place by the Board of Education that have restricted the use of sharing food for entertainment purposes due to the potentially life-threatening food allergies among children.

        Students realize that this is not realistic anymore, and are grateful for the winter pep rally, which is a full day with a half-day schedule with the end time used to have a pep rally. This opportunity allows students to get their work done and still celebrate.

         Celebrating holidays through school also allows students to learn about their peers’ lives.  Now that schools have changed the way holidays are celebrated in school it creates the concern that students are becoming ignorant or uneducated about the holidays they don’t celebrate. 

        Freshman, Lauren Roth states, “I think celebrating holidays in school is important because it allows students to get a better understanding of their classmates and different cultures”.

        Since there are many holidays that should be addressed, there are many suggestions on how they should be implemented in the school in order to acknowledge different cultures while also teaching the curriculum. 

        Junior, Joey Wydan states, “considering we are in high school, it’s pretty tricky to find a place to squeeze in a holiday activity but maybe there would be an activity that ties into what’s being taught in class to the holidays.” 

        Learning in class is very important, but there are ways to bring in the holidays without a major distraction. One way is through the school’s National Honors Society which has the giving tree. 

        Some teachers decorate their classroom doors and donate to the popular program Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which gives toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. 

        History teacher, Ms. Sarah DiGiacomo suggests “part of student government should have a holiday committee so they can figure out the best way.” Having a school committee put something together can add the holiday spirit but still have it be educational. 

        Principal, Max Berkowitz states, “The more secular aspects of the holiday season are more than appropriate to recognize and celebrate. It’s a joyous season for many and that absolutely can be acknowledged in public schools.”