There has always been debate about Christmas celebrations in a multicultural society. Will Christmas experiences offend those who do not believe in or celebrate Christmas? Some educational settings going as far as Christmas being ignored. Here are some thoughts…
If the families of the children in your care celebrate Christmas, it can’t be ignored, it is a major life event for many children, it’s all around us, however, find out how families celebrate Christmas. Is it a religious celebration or a family celebration? Remember don’t assume how people celebrate…ask. Being over religious may offend some families and totally disregarding why Christmas is celebrated is not telling the truth about the history of Christmas. Understand that some families may not celebrate at all or may celebrate different religious beliefs. I was always very clear with families, asking their wishes and the majority were very happy for the religious aspects to be shared.
Educators need to keep their personal beliefs removed from the situation. Even with my own children, I discuss what different people think Christmas is about and that many people in the world don’t celebrate Christmas because they believe different things. Even though our family does celebrate Christmas, I believe it is a wonderful time to discuss different beliefs and cultures, so children can begin to understand the many differences and similarities between us all…that we all have our special celebrations. If you do have many families who do not believe in Christmas, celebrations can always revolve around the end of the year together…I always had such a wonderful time with the children and families in my care at this time of year.
I believe living, caring and being together in a larger community more than “tolerance” of each other. Understanding, acceptance, celebration and joy, these are wonderful messages as the year ends…whether families celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Al-Hijara or their own unique celebration…we can celebrate together!