Remember celebrating Christmas in school?
G UEST This Dec, 25, I will be experiencing my 73rd Christmas. As I look back and reflect on past Christmas celebrations during my lifetime, I am amazed as to how much our Christmas traditions have changed. We have gone from hand-cut fresh Christmas trees to boxed artificial trees with lights already on them. Our greeting to one another has changed from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.” Our shopping is done online rather than in stores owned by our friends and neighbors.
Several years ago, I volunteered in one of Eau Claire’s elementary schools. As the Christmas holiday approached, I noticed something unusual. In every part of the school where I worked, I did not see one Christmas tree or decoration. There were drawings of snowmen on the walls, but nothing to indicate that Christmas was approaching.
During my 36 years of teaching elementary and junior high school, Christmas was always one of the most enjoyable times to be teaching. Every classroom had a tree decorated with student-made ornaments. Paper chains were hanging in classrooms and hallways. There were contests to see which classroom could create the most festive door, and the sound of Christmas carols could often be heard throughout the school. And, of course, we always had a party where students would exchange gifts.
One Christmas, I emphasized to my class that it is more fun if they would keep it a secret as to whose name they had drawn. I decided to find out if they could do this. So when it came time to draw names, I put my name in the hat 25 times. After reminding everyone to keep the name they had selected a secret, the kids began to pick out a name. I wasn’t halfway through the class when I started to hear the snickering and giggling. I knew then that the jig was up, and my attempt to create another fun Christmas memory was successful. With so many schools doing away with Christmas programs and parties, I find it sad that many young children will no longer have these wonderful experiences and memories. With that, I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas.
Ken Anderson, the “Mayberry Guru,” can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.themayberryguru. com
KEN ANDERSON “THE MAYBERRY GURU”