It seems that in this generation we often have to ask ourselves if we should stick to tradition, or make changes to make it equal for everyone?
This is the dilemma of current Durham councilmen. After concerns that last year’s Christmas celebrate and tree lighting was discriminatory against people that don’t celebrate Christmas. The real concern came after they denied the option of putting a menorah beside the tree when lighting it.
Because of this, they have changed their annual Christmas celebration to a “Frost Fest” to refrain from discriminating against members of the community. I asked a Jewish source who has chosen to remain anonymous about his thoughts on Durham’s alternative celebration and the Christmas season in general. He said, “Christmas is a beloved holiday for others… I think people are so concerned with themselves and seeming like some righteous martyr that they try to take away other people’s fun by calling it ‘offensive,’” and I totally agree.
The town councilmen are not allowing the annual Christmas tree lighting happen and Santa is not making his appearance. They were about to replace the wreaths on light posts with snowflakes but community lash back has caused them to leave it and reconsider that decision. In response to these changes the town has been comparing the councilmen to The Grinch, insinuating that they have taken the Christmas spirit away.
To me, it seems that the councilmen are trying to cover up the fact that they did discriminate last year by going overboard on political correctness this year. The Christmas tradition is something that many people, religious or not, are excited for. Kids await Santa Claus, parents enjoy the decorations, it is a wonderful thing for many people.
This is how Hanukkah is for other people too, a time of family and joy. Celebrating something that makes you happy and excited is not a crime against humanity. Many people agree with this, including this anonymous source that says, “What if someone held a celebration for Hanukkah, would that be discriminatory against Christmas? People should just have their celebrations.” Why not just let people enjoy their holiday season without making it a big social justice movement?
Yes, denying the placement of a menorah beside the Christmas tree was wrong and discriminatory. However, taking away a town’s traditional Christmas celebration because of this is not the right move.
The councilmen feel as if they are doing a big and just thing, but really the “Frost Fest” means that nobody can have what they want. Maybe they could have simply chosen to place a menorah beside the tree this year?
I think sometimes we all need to take a break from trying to save things that do not really need to be saved, and just enjoy where we are. The town tradition was very much more loved than hated, and the situation that occurred last year could have been handled in a different way than simply changing everything. The holiday season is wonderful for many people,regardless of religious affiliation, and Durham’s new “Frost Fest” is removing the wonder that was once present in nearly everyone’s holiday season.
– Drusilla Szatko