“‘Tis the season to be jolly,” yet politically correct. Do you remember a time, long, long ago, circa 1989, when you could actually say “Merry Christmas” in school? Do you remember when classrooms were decorated with Menorahs and images of St. Nicholas? If you went to school in the South, some campuses even displayed nativity scenes.
I chuckle to myself. I was even in the school chorus and we sang “Silent Night” to close out the annual holiday show. I was a mean soprano back then. Fast forward 20 some odd years later and there is hardly a trace of holiday spirit in schools. It’s a touchy subject. The First Amendment has risen from the ashes.
In my household, we didn’t celebrate Christmas like most of my friends or neighbors. We didn’t have a tree. Santa showed up maybe once or twice (I think my dad got a promotion one of those years). Each year, we celebrated the holiday by going to midnight mass as a family. Not a whole lot of fun for a 9 year old.
If my school didn’t take the time to provide gifts, most years I wouldn’t have received any material gifts. I am thankful for my health, family and friends. Though when I was 9 years old, I wish my parents could afford that Tyco electronic train set, along with every He-Man, Thunder Cat and G.I. Joe action figure ever created. Like most children in America, I didn’t ask for much.
When Santa didn’t deliver, I assumed he discriminated against Haitian people. That was how I coped with his unexplainable absence in my life.
Today, when I think about the holidays, I think about the people, the memories, the laughter and fellowship. Those gifts are priceless. But when you are in middle school and even many adults think that’s a crock of you know what. “You’re just being cheap!” So maybe I will spoil my kids with presents and expensive toys during the holidays, or maybe I’ll take them to midnight mass.