Holidays Are Not the Same as They Used to Be; They Don’t Even Have the Same Names
By Don Potter,
Editor-In-Chief of NewSeniors.com
For lots of us pre-boomers, this politically correct stuff seems contrived at best and plain stupid at worst. It has only been the past decade or so that those wanting to control what we think — by changing what we’re allowed to say and do on a daily basis — have edged their way into the mainstream of American life.
Back when we pre-boomers were kids (those born between 1930 and 1945) everyone enjoyed the Christmas season. We had a Christmas play at school attended by parents. Throughout the several weeks leading up to Christmas we sang carols every day. There was always a pageant put on by the kids in the higher grades, and we were read “The Christmas Story” from the Bible at assembly in the auditorium. Each classroom had a tree and a party. Plus Santa made a visit to each room and every child received a small gift provided by the local merchants’ association. No one complained in those days.
We celebrated Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12, followed less than two weeks later by Washington’s birthday on the 22nd. We learned about both these great presidents in the classroom and always were entertained by a little performance attended by the entire school. It made the short month go even faster. This was good because it would be another six weeks or so before we had any more time off from school.
Easter vacation was a welcome break. The school activities were secular in nature with bunnies and egg decorating and usually a play about Peter Rabbit or the like. In the fall, we studied about Columbus but there was no show unless we did a portrayal in our classes. Thanksgiving was always celebrated with the “Story of the First Thanksgiving” with the participants playing the role of Pilgrims or Indians (there was no Native-American lobby in the ‘40s and ‘50s), and the kids wore those goofy black hats and bonnets or colorful head-dresses. It was fun as well as a learning opportunity.
Along the way the PC crowd decided our traditions are inappropriate. So the Christmas holidays are now “Winter Vacation,” and the only entertainment kids are exposed to in school are symbols and songs that don’t offend anyone. Carols are out because they allude to the religious aspects of Christmas, even though this is the reason behind this federal holiday. Santa, trees, and decorations are banned from many schools as well.
“Spring Break” is the new name for Easter vacation. And there’s talk of changing Columbus Day to “Fall Day,” because the man who discovered America was harsh in the way he treated the Indians — remember, he set out to find a new trade route to India. Unfortunately, most explorers were not gentle with the inhabitants of the places they claimed for their countries, and the natives weren’t always happy to see them, but it is part of history. The PCs haven’t attack Thanksgiving yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
So, the only way our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to learn about the traditions that were such a rich part of our lives is for us to tell them the stories from our childhood. They’ll love it, and so will you.