As Christmas fast approaches, and I sit at my desk listening to my Christmas CDs, I’m reminded of how I got to like Christmas Carols. I’m not a religious person. I grew up in a house, where we went to church only as long as my Great Aunt still lived in the same city. When she moved down to San Clemente, our church-going stopped. But that never stopped my love of many of the symbols of Christmas.
Growing up in the seventies, at school we were still traditional schedule. Year-round school was unheard of. Our school had a Christmas assembly, and we would sing Christmas carols. I learned the only Hanukkah song I know at school. We would have a Christmas party on the last Friday before Christmas Vacation, with cookies shaped like Christmas Trees, Santas, stockings and reindeer, and Christmas carols playing in the background. Even if I didn’t believe in the religious parts of Christmas, it was a time to enjoy and be with friends. Even into High School, in the band, we played for Christmas assembly, and even had a woodwind quartet to go caroling with.
Today, my kids will never know any of these things. Schools don’t do Christmas assemblies. It’s not even Christmas break anymore. It’s winter break. My kids aren’t even AT school during December, since their school is year-round, and they just happen to be on the track that’s off in December. They don’t get to do any of the Christmas activities I remember doing and having fun. So, I don’t know if there are Christmas parties at the end, but I doubt it. Schools used to help shape a cultural consciousness, and give children experiences that they wouldn’t normally get. Listening to carols at home just isn’t the same as practicing with friends and singing for your parents.
I know things change and time moves on, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.