Albert Lea High School Newspaper

Face to Face: Christmas

December 14, 2016

Haley DeSart and Natalie Weiland give their opinion on “the most wonderful time of the year”.

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We just didn’t talk about Christmas. My elementary school had no vendetta or “war on Christmas” just too many people going to a home over winter break that didn’t celebrate Christmas. It wasn’t like that at my preschool, I know that. I went to a church preschool, where our teacher tried to teach us French (which is irrelevant Natalie, keep it together). There was probably some talk of God there, but I really don’t remember. My family fit into this non-denominational patchwork of people perfectly. Both of my parents were raised religious, but decided there were some questions that were bigger than their faith. I was raised in a church that sometimes celebrated Hanukkah, and taught us how to fingerprint people, so really I don’t have the experience of a strict religion at all. The idea that we didn’t talk about Christmas in class or during school hours seemed like a good thing to me. I knew my best friend Abigail didn’t celebrate Christmas, and I didn’t want her to be left out of anything. My friend Malcolm’s dad taught Sunday school sometimes and I knew their family celebrated Hanukkah at home. We learned about Kwanzaa, though that’s really not a religious thing at all. Our winter music program that we put on for our parents featured a xylophone quartet, which I worked my butt off to be in, it really was my most shining moment. If I ever top that I’d be surprised.
I guess the point is to just be aware that there are other ways to live, and really it’s all of our jobs to be mindful of other people no matter their religious views. It can be easy to forget, in a place like Albert Lea, where it seems everyone and their dog celebrates Christmas with the tree and the lights and the deceiving younger cousins about Santa’s existence, but many people don’t observe Christmas at all. Never mind celebrating the same way. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but you aren’t here to tell anyone else how to live theirs either.

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I ♥ Christmas

When I was a little kid (age wise not height) the holiday parties in elementary school were the bomb, especially during Christmas.
The teachers gave us snacks that would probably be considered hazardous to your waistline, cheerful melodies of Christmas songs would be played and us little kids colored these totally awesome holiday drawing pages and made bangingly cool crafts in art class.
Ah, if it’s not obvious, I have some pretty good memories of those elementary school parties. I loved them and looked forward to those few days that were partly dedicated to schoolwork and the rest of it to enjoying good cheer and fun; a welcomed break from the normal routine of primary school work.
All of it stopped in fourth grade though. We didn’t have a Halloween or Christmas party that year. We couldn’t dress up or really do anything holiday-ish, but we did get to have a tropical party and wear a sports’ jersey day…whoopdy- doo. At the time I didn’t understand it, why couldn’t we have these holiday parties that us kids had enjoyed since we entered school? Ten-year-old me never got a definite answer to this question.
I didn’t understand and I ended up getting a talking to by two separate teachers because I fought, what I believed to be, an unfair veto on holiday parties. Now I understand why but that doesn’t refute the fact that ten-year-old me couldn’t voice my displeasure because it wasn’t the popular opinion.
Now that I’m older and taller I reminisce about those actually quite lackluster parties with a warm heart. Though I can now voice my opinion semi-openly without being offensive, I still think about those awesome coloring pages that remind me of my elementary childhood. In retrospect, I am thankful to have these memories to hold onto but disheartened by the fact they were cut short so soon.

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