christmas tree in front of chalk board at school
Does Christmas belong in the classroom?

An Oregon school unwittingly unwrapped some controversy this year when they erected a Christmas tree in school halls.

Earlier this month, North Eugene High School (NEHS) in Eugene, Oregon put up a Christmas tree in the entryway to the school cafeteria. Meticulously decorated with ornaments and lights, and towering over students, the tree was unmissable.

One problem: not everyone was feeling warm and fuzzy about the choice of holiday decor.

Sprucing Up the School

After students at NEHS went home and told their parents about the festive new decorations at school, one family in particular objected and complained to administrators.

The Lesters, who are Jewish, argue that the Christmas tree does not belong in public schools. It is an overtly Christian symbol, they say, and the tree’s presence at the school excludes children of other faiths, or no faith at all. 

“This is public property and I mean it’s supposed to be an education for everybody, not just people who are Christian and not just people who are Jewish,” Parent Rick Lester told local news outlet KEZI.

He says it would be better if the school put up holiday decorations honoring other faiths, but still worries that may make secular students feel excluded.

A Holiday Tree?

One resident, Connie Betts, says that the tree should stay up, despite complaints. “I think Jesus is the reason for the season,” she stated. “If you don’t share that opinion, then just look at it as nature that’s beautiful with colorful lights and beautiful music.”

But Lester disagrees. “Christmas is supposed to be a religious holiday, not a secular holiday,” he says. “Keep it that way, don’t call it a holiday tree, call it a Christmas tree.” 

School Board member Jenny Jonak might co-sign that statement. In a school board meeting following the initial complaint, she said that “calling something a ‘holiday’ tree does not make it represent multiple religions.”

The School’s Response

The school’s principal, Nain Munoz, drafted an apologetic email to parents, explaining that the tree was part of an annual fundraiser.

“As a school, our goal is to ensure all feel welcome and can see themselves reflected in our celebrations and displays. Again, our efforts in this case missed the mark and for that I am sorry.”

At this point, no one, including Lester, wants the tree taken down. “We don’t want to be the ones to ruin everybody’s fun,” he explains. “We just want people to understand this wasn’t appropriate.”

What do you think? Is there an argument to be made that the Christmas tree has transcended its namesake and become a secular holiday decoration?

Or is it indeed an explicit symbol of Christianity that should be kept out of the classroom? 


  1. Susan Colmenares's Avatar Susan Colmenares

    The Christmas tree is not a Christian symbol but a cultural symbol of Northern European origin. This argument is silly. As long as no one is putting up a nativity set, there should be no problem.

    1. Rev. Mike Eggleston's Avatar Rev. Mike Eggleston

      Xmas is an amalgamation of Yule and other Pagan mid-winter fesivals. The xmas tree is a Pagan symbol, often topped with a Pagan pentagram or a fairy, representing the tree spirit. I'm surprised Christians are claiming it as a Christian symbol rather than objecting to the Pagan symbolism.

      1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

        Yes, German in particular if memory serves but who cares? It's a beautiful thing that is as religious or as secular as a person wishes to make it. Though it was thought of as being added to some homes around the 1820s it wasn't even part of regular American celebrations until roughly the 1940s. Before then it was sometimes used but still pretty unusual to have.

      2. Michael Steven Runk's Avatar Michael Steven Runk

        Couldn’t agree more 🙏 Blessed Be 🙏

    2. Robert Gagnon's Avatar Robert Gagnon

      My wife is Jewish and loves decorating the tree. We also have a menorah that gets lit with a little prayer each day of Hanukkah. I don't feel excluded, in fact I enjoy watching anyone taking part in the holiday season. Are they calling it holiday vacation in schools now? You think maybe people are enraged and fearful because their families cannot walk into any store without exposure to Christmas merchandise and music. It's a festive time of year that everyone can celebrate in their own way, for their own reasons, and just be nice for a few days of the year without the negativity.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    Yet another stupid complaint. A tree no more represents Jesus then do cookies. Christmas is a secular holiday, and a very commercial one at that. Let each celebrate in their own way. I've yet to hear of anyone being converted by a tree.

    1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

      I agree with Colleen; the communistic atheistic Chinese make more money selling American Christians x-Mass junk, than anyone else. And, the worst of it is, that the Chinese are using such X-Mass profits, to build nuclear submarines with which to possibly attack the USA. The fault, there in, is in the basic flaw in capitalism; which is, profit is much more important, that the survival of the USA, as the World’s leading economy. Ditto; buying Chinese fireworks, for the 4th of July,

      1. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

        I agree with you, William. American Christians are the biggest danger to American freedom and security. They are constantly buying communist atheist Chinese X-mass junk and Easter junk which funds nuclear submarines the Chinese will use to turn America into a communist colony of China. The only solution is to deport all American Christians to China. NOW.

    2. Amy Minckler's Avatar Amy Minckler

      oh now come on are you telling me that trees had nothing to do with Hippies? My mom would like to have a word with you.

      sorry just had to. After she snorted her coffee and made the remark when I told her your response. She also said thank you as at her age she needed a good laugh :)

    3. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

      Absolutely giggling after reading your last sentence! Perfect.

  1. Gary Leu's Avatar Gary Leu

    I think that there are, for all practical purposes, two Christmases - the religious one and the secular one. That’s plainly obvious. In fact, the religious Christmas believers are all to often advocating to put the Christ back into Christmas. I think it’s naive to say that Christmas is strictly a religious holiday in this day.

    I completely understand the Lester’s point of view. My wife, a public school librarian highlights many religious celebrations as they happen throughout the year, especially if she knows of a student that might celebrate those events. I have observed that when we freely embrace cultural differences, tolerance and charity naturally increases.

    1. Rev. Rory's Avatar Rev. Rory

      Omnists don't mind what secular decorations are used in public. True Omnists (aka Omniests) also don't mind religious decorations when ALL religions are allowed to decorate, if they wish. That means that a school that does not have any Jewish, Muslim, Islamic, and other students can have decorations for holidays that their students do not follow. Children (and adults) need to understand diversity and embrace it, not fear it.

      I would like to point out a failure of Artificial Intelligence. If you use Google or Bing, the first thing it tells you about Omnism is that it is a belief in ALL religions. That is not true and AI pulls from the internet, including incorrect information. Omnism is the respect of the best commonalities of all the major religions. An Omnist may have a belief in a single religion or not have any religious beliefs at all, yet recognizes that all major religions have overlap of what most people consider "moral rules." (ex: The Golden Rule.) When you respect yourself, it's easier to respect others.

      That said, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays, Joyful Kwanzaa, Beautiful Diwali, and Happy New Year to all.

      1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

        I'm not an Omnist but I don't really care either. They are decorations. People are putting way too much effort into claiming symbolism and missing the real reason for their holiday. This is supposed to be a time of year of being more generous and loving, caring about people and spending time together regardless of belief. And the tree was not part of the holiday until this last couple hundred years. Somehow I don't think lights and baubles in a tree was all that big of a thing when trying to find shelter enough to have a child that was supposed to bring the world together. Some togetherness, fighting over who owns a freakin' decorated tree.

  1. Quinn R Amaro's Avatar Quinn R Amaro

    This is what is what causes unnecessary problems in the USA. People seem to forget that freedom applies to all. People whine because their God, God(s), devil, or whatever, does not give them to holier than thou right to tell other HOW NOT TO LIVE. Check it out people! This country is for everyone and if YOU think YOU have the right to judge and condemn other's because YOU are whining baby, you have forgotten the reason why the USA exists. So: GROW UP!!

  1. Charles Donewar's Avatar Charles Donewar

    I feel that one individual has their feeling hurt, but has to ruin the joyous occasion for others. I am so tired of the whining of people who cannot mind their own business. If they are a different religion they should be able to symbolize their important celebration. I think everyone should have this opportunity to show how they can make the world a better place.

  1. Melinda Fulk's Avatar Melinda Fulk

    I'm most offended that they seem to think the only decorated tree you can have this time of year is a Christmas tree. Personally, I have a Yule tree. And I do have secular friends who still put up a Holiday tree to celebrate the tilting of the scale and the growing return of the sunlight.

  1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

    A Christmas Tree is not a religious symbol. Some of us celebrate much more than the birth of the Christ Child in December while having Christmas Trees in our homes.

    Buona Saturnalia!

    1. Lyle Roy Gleason's Avatar Lyle Roy Gleason

      I agree! When some right-wing Evangelical starts spouting their 'tis the reason for the season', I take great pleasure in asking them exactly which Asia Minor messiah are they referring to. It can't be Christ, because he was born in the Spring. The X-mas carol 'The First Noel" talks of shepherds in the fields where they lay. This only occurs in the Spring, during the lambing times, when shepherds needed to be there to protect their newborn lambs from predators. I point out to them that Mithras, the OTHER Middle Eastern messiah was reportedly born on Dec.25th, (2,000 years before Christ,) and the Council of Nicea lifted His story lock, stock, and barrel, and applied it to the mythology surrounding Christ's birth and legendary life and death. Christ is nothing more than a MANUFACTURED MESSIAH.

  1. John Robert Milner's Avatar John Robert Milner

    We wouldn’t want kids to have fun at some point in their lives (sic) . Leave the kids alone

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    I agree with Susan, a Christmas tree is pagan in origen, but has become just a general decoration. I think I've even seen Christmas trees in China! It seems that the Christmas season is an opportunity for some people to justify their predisposition to being offended by virtually everything. 🎶 Oh Tannen Baum, Oh Tannen Baum 🎶

  1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

    Nope, I don’t see a problem with a Xmas tree and I’ll even capitalize the’X’. Susan C correctly points out the origin of the tree, Gary bails it with there being a secular and religious Xmas and Colleen solidifies the secular aspect by pointing out the commercialization of the entire season.

    Much ado about nothing.

  1. Alun Lloyd Palmer's Avatar Alun Lloyd Palmer

    Christmas trees originate in pagan Yule. This is the season of goodwill, co-opted by Christians for a birth that would have been in the spring. As an atheist ULC minister I am happy to celebrate the season. I may have some possible Jewish ancestry, marked only by the Hannukah Geld in my Christmas stocking as a child. By all means put up a blue and white tree next to it, but I can understand too if that seems like too much effort.

    1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      No such thing as an atheist Minister.

      Websters defines the term Minister as the following

      min·is·ter /ˈminəstər/ noun noun: minister; plural noun: ministers; noun: minister of religion; plural noun: ministers of religion

      1. a member of the clergy h Similar: clergyman

      clergywoman cleric ecclesiastic pastor vicar rector priest parson father man/woman of the cloth man/woman of God churchman churchwoman curate chaplain curé divine evangelist preacher kirkman reverend padre Holy Joe sky pilot josser

      the superior of some religious orders. noun: minister general; plural noun: minister generals

      2. (in certain countries) a head of a government department.

      So your whole statement makes no sense at the get go.

      1. Aron Mark Doherty's Avatar Aron Mark Doherty

        I seem to remember a short while ago you banging on and on about atheism being classified as a religion buy the Supreme Court. These are your very own words:

        Over and over and over again the courts have all said the same thing, that atheism IS a religion. if not then why the heck are they so hard up on demanding chaplins and churches and so on? Your tantrum does not make a lick of sense.

        So according to the definition YOU pasted from Websters it is indeed possible to be an atheist minister. Or you can just argue with yourself here if that floats your boat.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          It is and was. So if they are going to whine about this, then they also need to make sure that not one of their religious holidays are celebrated in the schools. Otherwise they need to shut up

          1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

            Please name one Atheist "religious" holiday...

            The Supreme Court ruled that atheist belief is protected like a religion is but since atheism is simply the lack of belief and not a system of beliefs it doesn't actually fit the definition of a religion.

            From Miriam-Webster: "religion

            "1: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices 2 a (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance b: the state of a religious 3: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith"

            1. Scott Thornweaver's Avatar Scott Thornweaver

              Atheist Religious Holiday: Christmas.

              The one with Santa Claus, the reindeer including Rudolph, presents purchased from mass retailers that wouldn't be in business if it weren't for the Christmas season's profits, huge light and inflatable displays of the Grinch and characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

              I know quite a few Atheists who celebrate a secular Christmas that it would practically take the threat of death to get them to stop because they love having a yearly celebration where they can exchange gifts and just have fun. That looks to me such a devotion to a celebration would classify as 3: a cause, principle, or system of (in this case non-religious) beliefs held to with ardor and faith or even (2): commitment or devotion to observance.

            2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

              Ok then get ready to be embarrassed. The National Day of Reason is a secular celebration for humanists, atheists, secularists, and freethinkers. The day is celebrated annually on the first Thursday in May. There is your holiday you asked for

              1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

                That's a secular humanist holiday, not an atheist holiday. It was created by secular humanists under their traditions, not by atheists. Atheists celebrate holidays, sure, but there's no holidays coming from the "atheist religion."

                If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.

              2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                Nope sorry thats a religious holiday as even the ACLU is saying the same thing and suing to get this recognized by the US Government as a holiday.

      2. Michael Howard Schrader's Avatar Michael Howard Schrader

        I am also an atheist minister. I preach a humanist ministry, and by your own definition, I would be a preacher, evangelist, etc.

        1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

          No YOU are delusional. How exactly can you be a minister of a religion that does not believe in a higher power? thats what religions are based on. Its not rocket science

          1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

            Buddhism is a religion and it was not founded with a belief in a higher power. Some Buddhists believe in a higher power but it's not a requirement of that religion.

            1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

              Do you ever get tired of being proved wrong? Buddhist teachings state that there are divine beings called devas (sometimes translated as 'gods') and other Buddhist deities, heavens, and rebirths in its doctrine of saṃsāra, or cyclical rebirth.

  1. James Richard Munro's Avatar James Richard Munro

    Sounds like some people have too much free time on their hands. When someone says, Happy Hanukkah, I don't feel offended, it's called respect for someone else's religion. Can we have the same respect?

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      I just say happy holidays to accommodate all the holidays of the season. Its' time Christians understand sharing holiday times doesn't mean an attack on them or theirs and frankly makes them look short sighted and ignorant of even their own religion.

  1. Danny D. Maynard's Avatar Danny D. Maynard

    I prefer to celebrate the Winter Solstice (~December 21-23), the real reason for the season! The shortest day of the year is the perfect time to celebrate the "Festival of Lights"! No mythology is needed. It is all science-based.

    1. Joy's Avatar Joy

      I'm with you!! I have been so tired of the hijacking of festivals by Christians for decades, even when I was one, I saw through the brainwashing. I love Yule now. My husband loves this time of year and I normally put up the tree. We have an "Aloha Tree" full of ornaments from when we lived in Hawaii. I think I need to keep buying an ornament from Hawaii throughout the year so I have more for the Aloha Tree!!

  1. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

    Too bad the objection-raising family has never heard of Hanukkah bushes. Many of my Jewish friends had them 55 years ago and I'm pretty sure the trees and their popularity haven't completely folded since then.

    Besides, Xmas trees aren't Christian. We have our ancient Northern European ancestors to thank for them, along with Yule logs, mistletoe (the Celts), etc. Additionally, Xmas wasn't much celebrated until the mid 1800s when Queen Victoria, a scion of the House of Hanover (German) and raised by a German governess, professed a fondness for the customs of her ancestors. The idea of a celebration/big fuss grew with the desire by well-off people to mimic Her Majesty. Or ape their betters. Of course merchants rose to the occasion, so now we have the mad dash to buy gifts for everyone and their siblings.

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    The Lester said they don't want the tree taken down and they don't want to ruin anybody's fun. LOL.

    Well, at this point that's like when somebody says, "With all due respect...", just when they're about to say something to the person that's not respectful.

    So, the point is, if they don't want it taken down and they don't want to ruin anybody's fun, WHY say anything NOW in the first place?

    After the first of the year you can write a letter to the school principal and the school board citing your concerns and maybe going forward next year they won't have it.

    But then I don't want to see any decoration celebrating Ramadan or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa either. And I particularly don't want to see the kids forced to March through the school carrying Rainbow Flags when they have no idea what they're even celebrating there.

    All such celebrations or social education should be kept at home and a school only concerned with passing on academic skills to the students.

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    Yes, another example of religious zealots ruining the holidays. I am sure the students were not thinking of controversy when the tree went up. I am sorry that you zealots are bitter, but can't you for once not spoil everything for everyone else?

  1. Gwendolyn Lord's Avatar Gwendolyn Lord

    Christmas trees are actually pagan, or neo-pagan. Utter nonsense, as the world devours itself.

  1. Angel's Avatar Angel

    Actually, the tree is Pagan..I wish people would look up their religious history before acting acting like they know what they are talking about...

  1. David Lee Gibson's Avatar David Lee Gibson

    I think ( of course this is my opinion) that if it's going to cause that much controversy, then it's more than appropriate to remove all the decorations from the school, only because you cannot please everyone, and just as well leave school to learning, and celebrating at home.

  1. Val Jester's Avatar Val Jester

    This idiot parent needs to get a life.

  1. Steven Ferrell's Avatar Steven Ferrell

    Some people would complain if hung with a new rope. They complained, but don’t think it should be take down, then why even bring it up?
    I have seen trees that also had the Star of David on top. Should Christians complain about that?
    I personally thought it was a wonder idea.

  1. Frances Salamone's Avatar Frances Salamone

    One family was offended and it prompts a public apology? I want to know, what's wrong with being offended??

    A Christmas Tree lol pretty sure it's not depicted in any nativity scene or mentioned in the Bible!

  1. Shane Michael Westerbur's Avatar Shane Michael Westerbur

    Yet another example of why it would suck to live in Oregon. These people aren't happy unless they are complaining about someone else's beliefs.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Unfortunately every state has its pockets of this. The deep south states seem to have more than any state.

  1. Dennis Ray Prince's Avatar Dennis Ray Prince

    I think sports like football, baseball and basketball are not agreed as representing all children and their parents' opinions. Football, for example, is almost exclusively played by males. And many students have been hurt (and some, unfortunately, have died) playing, or even just practicing for the game. Do all students participate in the game or even attend the game? Do all parents agree that their tax dollars should be used on this? Isn't it played on public property funded by tax dollars? Perhaps it should be discontinued since not 100% of all students are football players, cheerleaders or band members? Maybe it should be stopped because not all parents agree that their tax dollars should be sent. Do 100% of all parents and students have to agree with and participate in something for the school to recognize it and use tax dollars for it? Having a Christmas tree on display in the school is not forcing all students to be Christians any more than having a football (or baseball, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc.) team forces students to participate in sports (or even to attend the games). By the way, I am from Georgia and football is an important school activity. I am not suggesting that the schools discontinue the program. I am just using it as example to show that recognition of something in the school (be it a sport or a Christian religious symbol) does not have to be accepted by all students and parents and is not forcing someone else's beliefs on them. Now, let's start building that chess club stadium...

    1. Roger Sigtermans's Avatar Roger Sigtermans

      Yeah, keep the football program. But tell the coach to keep his prayers off the field and to himself.

      1. Roger Sigtermans's Avatar Roger Sigtermans

        That's assuming it's a public school. If not - do whatever you want.

  1. Carol M. Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Carol M. Anaski-Figurski

    interesting topic. although the root is pagan It became a symbol of Christianity in the 16th century. I think its a great idea! The school needs to teach faiths & this is one of them. Someone should bring in a menorrha & the gifts of kwanzza etc. The christian symbols of christmas that celebrate onto us our savior is born Titus 1:2 evergreen tree is a symbol of eternal life. matthew 2:9-10 the star & lights told of jesus birth. luke 2:8-9 & john 10:11the candy cane the staff of shepherds who visited jesus & jesus is the good sheperd. ltitus 1-2 & luke 22:44 holly & berries are green for eternal life & red for the blood of christ. matthew 2: 1:11 & john 3:16 gifts the wise men gave baby jesus & God's greatest gift to you & me is Jesus. Have ablessed christmas everyone. Keep on growing in the faiths.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      This would be ideal but we would have to make sure religious acceptance was part of the training for everyone involved in the schools, from teachers to the administrators. Even the boards should require an oath of religious acceptance or be removed as part of the process. Nobody has to believe them but they do have to accommodate them. No negative talk about other religions.

  1. Tom Herman's Avatar Tom Herman

    The lack of tolerance and acceptance of all views is a reason we see hate crimes and an increase in friction in the world on the rise. We should look at all symbols of celebration as an extension of our own. My best wishes for a happy holiday season to all.

  1. Steven Alan Circeo's Avatar Steven Alan Circeo

    It's just a tree with decorations. As an atheist, I don't see it as anything other than a celebration of the season. Of course, I have my own reality, and I assume others do, too. What I see as merely a tree can be seen by others as a celebration of their god and to others as an affront to their beliefs. I wish everyone would chill and accept all beings and things for the perfection they are.

  1. Eileen Mary Flores's Avatar Eileen Mary Flores

    . the season is more than a tree or a symbol it is an act of love, forgiveness, togetherness and symbol of hope for all Christians and non-Christians Christmas belongs to everyone .... don't make it into a 3-ring circus.

  1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

    Are we really there? Christmas trees are a German Pagan thing and were not even considered part of a celebration until the 1940s in the US. Why is everyone getting their nose out of joint over a freaking tree... during a season that is supposed to be about love and the giving nature?? Do these "Christians" really think it's all about a three?? No wonder people are leaving the churches these days.

    1. Lester Stanley Petrie's Avatar Lester Stanley Petrie

      Sorry about your not knowing the timing. As I grew up, starting in 1925, Christmas was celebrated every year, BEFORE 1940.. Even though people didn't understand that the tree was a pagan phallic symbol, hoping for a bountiful harvest in the next year. Look it up!

      1. Lester Stanley Petrie's Avatar Lester Stanley Petrie

        No one has my permission to delete my comment!

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    I would be perfectly fine with the cancellation of the holiday season. The stupid bickering back and forth that I witness here has shown me that the human species is doomed to fail. You are free to enjoy the holidays as you wish. But instead, you just want to argue over the most ridiculous things. Why? Why can't you just give it a frekin' rest already? Pause your bitterness just once and enjoy what you have. Try spreading friendship instead of the vile nonsense that keeps flowing out of you.

  1. Donald Frank Cowan's Avatar Donald Frank Cowan

    Tree decorations existed a long time before xtianity.

  1. Judith A Lebeck's Avatar Judith A Lebeck

    The 'Christmas Tree' is originally Pagan and was adopted by the Christians to incorporate and sideline pagan symbolism. The tradition of decorating trees was made popular by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

  1. Lynne Killenbeck's Avatar Lynne Killenbeck

    As it is just a tree why not call it a holiday tree put lights on it and then include the children to put a decoration representing their faith or something that they want to see on it this way you’re including everybody and every religion and if they don’t wanna participate sorry for them

  1. Ellie_Loves's Avatar Ellie_Loves

    Considering everything that is going on across the globe, getting upset over a tree is bloody ridiculous. Sometimes a tree is just a tree and what that tree represents to you may not represent the same for others. Oh sure we can decorate it anyway we see fit in our homes but put a tree in a rotunda with lights and pretty colored balls people lose their mind. Get over it, move on, and maybe concern yourselves with something that truly matters; like children going hungry, the homeless crisis and a majority of other issues that need our attention.

  1. Takaya Kovani Sweeney's Avatar Takaya Kovani Sweeney

    FFS, just let everyone participate and decorate.

    It’s all beautiful in its own way.

    We celebrate nothing but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the beauty in others things.

    1. David Bobb's Avatar David Bobb

      probably the best comment on this thread

  1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

    Christmas trees and decorations are only another unnecessary consumer item.

    Christmas tree nurserys could instead be used for re-foresting, though that's unlikely because people are willing to pay stupid amounts of money to have a tree cut down. So consumerism trumps common sense and practicality.

    How many dozens of ways to people celebrate holidays? Why is cutting down a tree so necessary? Instead of many small trees for countless individual homes, why not a community tree?

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Most actual tree farms do replant these days. They have to or they know they would strip their business and the land, and replanting is the best way to manage that. Evergreens grow fast enough that they can work larger plots of land in sort of a rotational way, each plot having so many years of growth before it becomes the plot they cut and sell from. The cost is for the buying and replanting of those trees. If you are going to get a live one that's actually a better place to get them from. Few people bother going back out into the wild to replant what they take.

      1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

        I should have specified 'permanet reforestation'. The point I didn't make clear is a christmas tree nursery only serves commercialism. And christmas trees and all kinds of symbols represent different things to different people. Decades ago, I lived where the only people who could cut a tree for Christmas those who owned the land the tree was on. Or if they had a friend with land. So an underlying symptom is people living on top of each other, without their own land. Different discussion, though.

  1. arawngraalrd's Avatar arawngraalrd

    "Teach your children the Law, and do not forget the poor or the fatherless," in this way, the Law becomes more understandable and conversant, which is why the Jews keep winning on Cleverness.

  1. Richard Vincent Gallagher's Avatar Richard Vincent Gallagher

    Any and all that claim it has naught to do with Christianity or that it is wedded to yule logs or pagan solstice celebrations - that is amusing. Those who utter such pithy commments deeming disagreement as 'whining' live in a cartoon world.

    I live in Japan - a country of atheists - and spare your insight into the kulchur that is contrariwise. Christmas is devoid of any religious connotation - it is purely about gift exchange and basely a consumer holiday, but tinged with joy. That's not an attitude that can be 'cultivated' in the states - thought it is a consumer holiday - but in the USA it's a celebration has to do with baby Jesus and angels all that fabled nonsense. It isn't a pagan holiday any more than there is an actual Santa Claus - other than a Coca Cola, Sundblom painted fatso Santa.

    Most accurate description is the posted 'drowned babies' remark.

    If the tree is offensive: take it out. No one is going to suffer any trauma from the removal or absence of a X-mas tree. Let alone will children actually care unless impressed to do so by their parents.

    1. Lester Stanley Petrie's Avatar Lester Stanley Petrie

      You are dead right, Richard.

  1. Lisa Miller's Avatar Lisa Miller

    Jesus was actually born in the summer not the winter. If you take clues from the Bible you can find that they were on their way to Joseph's (actually Yosef or יוסף depending on what you're reading) was on his way to be counted and pay taxes, because they needed to go to his hometown in order to be taxed. (Which was why there was no space anywhere. Everyone was there that was born there.) So, Christmas is just another Hallmark holiday. It was actually stolen from the Pagans and changed. Yule is a pagan holiday. And thus Christmas was created so they could try to get the Pagans to stop being Pagan. It's one of those things that happens. But so many are here just to complain. Does it bring you some type of joy to be this way?

  1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

    Publicly funded schools should not display, represent or celebrate ANY seasonal religious related iconography or customs. Belief systems should only be exhibited and discussed during planned curriculum. 1st Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Yes, meaning they can't really take sides or prosecute someone for having a different religion.There is nothing wrong with someone displaying their religious beliefs as long as they are willing to allow others to display there's too.The issue is trying to fit everyone's beliefs in so they tend not to bother in order to keep from promoting too much of one and shunning anything else. It's just too difficult to accommodate everyone and people start bickering over who's holiday is legit and who isn't so not having any is the easier thing to do. Now if the community could get together and just be accepting, sharing and giving as the season is generally accepted in being then it wouldn't be a problem. Make room for all or leave all out. That's pretty much it.

    2. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      And as far as I know it isn't the school paying for it. It's usually the staff putting up their own money and time to buy or make decorations and pitch in to buy a tree... or at least it was when I was in school and when my son went through school. Different districts might do it differently but that was it. I think I took more offence at the slant towards just the Christian specific portions and a hard stop on other religions.

  1. Suzanne Thackston's Avatar Suzanne Thackston

    As a Pagan priestess, I have lots to say about appropriated religious content (don't worry, I'll spare y'all my rants about THAT.) I get why the Jewish family complained. Christmas trees have been associated with the Christian festival for a long time. Did holiday trees start off Christian? Of course not. Are they specifically Christian now? Only in the sense that American Christmas, the month-long orgy of capitalist frenzy is specifically Christian- even though 99% of it is entirely secular. If this were a nativity scene, I'd be mad. But a tree? Nah. That being said, I also get the school's position. There's really no way public schools can honor 'all' religions, so poor old endlessly persecuted over-sensitive Christians have to bite the bullet. If they don't want Baphomet in the schools, they can't have Jesus. Leaving the tree up this year but finding something else next year is a sensible response.

  1. Eileen Mary Flores's Avatar Eileen Mary Flores

    the tree is a American tradition. we should nt have to cave every time someone doesn't like it , chances are they they're the one missing out on all the fun, not us.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Though it wasn't really used until the 1820s (yes, eighteen hundreds) and not really a regular thing until the 1940s (yes, nineteen hundreds) in the states?? No, it was a german pagan tradition that became American only in the last couple hundred years, and only formally for roughly less than a hundred years. America has always been a mish mash of other countries cultural things. Quite a number of our squables would be solved if people actually took the time to learn how we got many of the practices and beliefs we have.

  1. Omope Carter Daboiku's Avatar Omope Carter Daboiku

    Yes, Christmas Trees are an artifact of Old Europe celestial alignment celebrations (the equinoxes and solstice, and the halfway points called "cross-quarters") and were popularized in England by Prince Albert, Victoria's husband; both families were of German descent.

    For those who want to rant about Christmas for Christians, please study up on the early Church in America (the so-called Pilgrims) where Christmas was a sober, somber event of sitting on hard wooden benches all day. Any tree decorated then would have been considered immoral and a flash-back to pre-Christianity European tradition.

    It's important to study the past so we don't forget how human society changes over time.

    May this season bring more love and deeper enlightenment as we reflect over the energy of 2023 and prepare to engage 2024.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      All of this. Thank you.

  1. Wendy Irene Copeland's Avatar Wendy Irene Copeland

    The season of "Christmas" has been so commercialized that a case can be made that a "Christmas" tree is a secular symbol of the gift giving season, as long as that tree has only secular symbols on it (santas, reindeer, plain round balls, etc.). If the tree is decorated with stars and Christian symbols, then that tree would be a religious symbol. In which case, unless it is a solely Christian school, any religion with holidays at the same time should be represented. I think complaints come from the years and years of exclusion of any other religion than Christianity in the public sphere. Christian religious holidays have been celebrated in schools and government for decades, maybe centuries. Where have the Jewish celebrations been or any other religion? If a "Christmas" tree is an American tradition ,could it be that because every other religion was excluded? It is just recently that there has been an inclusion of the many religions that gives everyone a seat at the table. As a Christian, I like Christmas trees and all the trappings of the season, but in this multi-cultural, multi-religion country, respect for and consideration of all religions should be a given.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      If it was a private school then this whole thing is kind of mote. Private religious schools shouldn't be tax funded anyway. That's supposed to come from donors and tuitions. If that's changing then we have a rproblem.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        Supreme Court has ruled that you are wrong as usual since they stated that Religious school CAN use taxpayer funds and if a student goes from a public school to a religious school then the money that was given for that student follows them to the new school.

    2. Judith A Lebeck's Avatar Judith A Lebeck

      Well said. I fell that those who are putting up a fuss are ignoring the teachings of Jesus that instruct Christians to LOVE ONE ANOTHER and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. it never limits that to only like minded neighbors

    3. David Bobb's Avatar David Bobb

      have you read the school charter? they observe all religious holidays, not just those labeled as Christian. this is one parent being offended for no reason, and unfortunately ruining a seasonal holiday for everyone that does enjoy it

  1. Father Flanagan's Avatar Father Flanagan

    Christmas was stolen from the Pagans when christians stole parts of their rituals and forced them to convert or die which is no different than the ideology of hate and death disguised as a religion called islam! It was illegal to bring a tree in your home or even decorate one in this country once upon a time. The correct holiday is YULE with Krampus not this fake “christ’s birthday” crap they are trying to pass off on the brainwashed masses! Yep, once upon a time in America it was legal to slit the throat of an innocent animal in the name of religion but illegal to practice a pagan one, apparently “religious freedom” only meant the ones they approve of!

  1. Devon Atkins's Avatar Devon Atkins

    The origin of Christmas is pagan, the Christian church adopted the celebration to win over who they stereo typed as pagan, non-beleivers, so the who christian world/ with the exception of a few, have adopted the celebration. I my self see Christmas as a Christian symbol I celebrate it as a time of time to celebrate, I also celebrate chrismukkah as my I have a Jewish back ground. So I think to solve the argument why not put up jewish symbols around chanukah all faiths/cultures can live together, if we but learn

    1. Devon Atkins's Avatar Devon Atkins

      Sorry that was supposed to be do not see Christmas as a Christian symbol

  1. RyanQ.'s Avatar RyanQ.

    My first memory of Christmas as a child, was that of the wonderous tree. With all its brilliant lights, tinsel and decorations. The smell of fresh baked cookies. Making a gingerbread house. Having friends and family over. How mystified I was at the thought of a jolly bearded fellow knowing if I was good or bad. It reminded me to always pick the nice choice. Not because I wouldn't recieve gifts. Because someone cared if I made the right decisions. So that's exactly what I did. I had no notion of Christ or anything biblical. I just knew it was fun, and warm and a reason to smile.

    I dont belive Christmas has anything to do with Jeasus at all. Nor do I believe it's a religious holiday. The manger in a nativity scene is all he gets. I think the tree represents hope for a better new year. That we can become the people we believe ourselves to be. I'd like to think if we disagree with something we'd have the decency to hold our tongues and let the children have there fun. There is no malice in Christmas or the decorating of a tree. Everything offends some one these days, I just pray our tolerance for others beliefs rubs off on them. Amen.

  1. David Sanchez jr 2's Avatar David Sanchez jr 2

    The first christmas is about the drowning of a bunch of babies.

    1. Bridget Kielas-Fecyk's Avatar Bridget Kielas-Fecyk

      No, it isn't. Christmas is actually a christianized version of Yule, which is a pagan holiday. Yule was, and is, the celebration of the solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the longest night. The whole point was to come together and encourage the light to return to the land. To give blessings for the coming new year and to find solace in family. It was also a holiday meant for the children. To celebrate the children and remember again how vital they are to our future. The villages gave gifts to children, and they were given blessings to survive the year. The Christmas Tree comes from the tradition of the Yule Log. The log was decorated as a symbol of the year and was kept in the home through-out the year. Then, on Yule, the log was burned a new one replaced it. It was meant to be a symbol of burning away, or otherwise clearing away, the old year, and renewing our hopes of good things for the next year.

      These individuals throwing fits about Christmas and the tree are raising a ruckus for the sake of raising a ruckus, they don't actually CARE about the tree. They don't actually CARE that the school has one up. This is about "being seen". About trying to have their "15 minutes of fame".

      Then, of course, you'll get the inevitable bleating from the Alt-Right and ultra-religious individuals bawling "See??? See??? There's a nation-wide WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!!"

      But there isn't. There is no such thing. People can still say Merry Christmas without getting in trouble, or Happy Holidays if they prefer. Or they can say Happy Hanukkah, or Peaceful Yule, or whatever holiday they want to celebrate. Hence why some SAY Happy Holidays. Because they don't know what holiday the individual they're talking to celebrates. And from Nov. to Jan 1st, there are A LOT of holidays.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Quick! Someone hire Philip Glass to create a non-offensive, non-denominational holiday play.

  1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

    Hello Friends!

    Most people get the whole separation of church and state wrong as can be. It is the government that is NOT allowed to impose any kind of relgious expectation, traditiion, or implication so as not to impose on anyone the idea there is a state religion or a requirement to be part of a religion. It was so that all people could feel the same thing God granted all of us, the freedom to choose our own course without undue influence. I believe God speaks to all his children in his own way, his own voice, and challenges us nuemerous ways each day. How we help to influence the positive effectis of freedom is certainly up to us, but the freedom was granted long before we started learniing more.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      What it was meant to be was to keep religion out of government business and government out of religious business. Anyone who remembers anything about the country the original colonies came from had quite a problem with one religion taking over and forcing it through government means onto the people, prosecuting anyone that didn't believe their way. When the US gained its independence they didn't want that to be a possibility here again so made sure they would be separate and people wouldn't be prosecuted for having a different religion, or no religion at all if they wished. People keep it out of official government buildings and institutions because accommodating every single religion is a darn near impossible task. It isn't required, it's just easier.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        Nope sorry they did no such thing. Jefferson (who actually SIGNED the Dec of Independence and helped WRITE the Constitution) actually had Bible studies and religious meetings IN the Rotunda! And that is a fact! Washington lead a prayer each day he went to office and had a small chapel in the WH. Its non denominational but yes its there. and when the service is too large for the chapel, the presidents have held religious services in the East Room.

  1. Gary Clark's Avatar Gary Clark

    Good morning, we as christians know, the reason for the season. I can only speak from my time, now 67, and having grown up in the 60s and 70s and believing in what was traditional, and my parents teaching me the reason we have Christmas. Thanks God. We are the body of Christ ! 🙏💪 God saw it coming before from the beginning, and whom will STAND UP for the ones that want God, or anything concerning Christianity removed. I will not comply or surrender my faith. I will not waiver from the Word of God. I will not apologize for the truth. This reminds me of a congressman, I think? that took off the head of a cloth statue in New York about a week ago, he took responsibility and turned himself in. But, he took the head off the statue from New York. He stood up to what he thought was right. Good 👍

    Keep the Christmas tree up, it's for the children anyway.

    1. Stewart Newall's Avatar Stewart Newall


  1. Stewart Newall's Avatar Stewart Newall

    It’s a Christmas tree it’s for the kids any kid because they’re innocent they’re young and get your heart rate, other religions and other people other believes, then people who don’t like Christmas and call it happy holiday. No your God will punish you on your mind for the rest of your lives Brainwashing your children into aging other religions.

  1. Ralph E. Carter's Avatar Ralph E. Carter

    The Christmas Tree is a meaning of its own. The Christmas Tree is wonderful if you don't know what it means do some research, or just stick to your own beliefs. Truth of the matter there is ONLY one God. There are different opinions, different Religions

  1. Richard H. Crofts's Avatar Richard H. Crofts

    Sulution ban all decorations for all holidays. No more China. I love Christmas trees just decorating one and having it in the house makes me happy.

  1. Roger McQuistion's Avatar Roger McQuistion

    I say putt tree up ,it stands for the love we have for aur lord and savior ,if it wasn't for God we would not be here ,so I say thank you Father and happy birthday Jesus.Every body else don't pay attention to it,just like this on TV or phones.Think about it God is reall and above all he loves everybody Amen.


    The American Tradition needs to be adopted as part of being an American in this United State of America. In God we Trust is a Motto we use here in America. To be part of this America we all have to learn to Adopt the tradition of America.

    References to Christmas trees in private homes or establishments in North America date back to the late 18th century and early 19th century. Christmas Trees is another tradition in America since the 19th centuries. So know we are not other countries. We are in America with the American dream, laws and traditions. In God we trust.

  1. Dorothy Hawkins's Avatar Dorothy Hawkins

    This article from on the origins of this tradition might help:


  1. Darlene Bertha Hickman's Avatar Darlene Bertha Hickman

    Every one should be able to show their heritage that includes all races why can we not have a tree or say are pledge to are flag or have are beliefs as we do for all other this should not even be a issue I say put up a tree and if you don't like it or believe then take a break or go to read a book

  1. David Thomas Franklin's Avatar David Thomas Franklin

    Get over it, will the offended parents still make their children attend school during Christmas break? We live in a nation that is a melting pot of ideas and theologies, as a Christian nation, we are supporting our Israeli brothers who have been attacked so cowardly and brutally, can they not cut us a little slack at the holiest time of year? This goes for all religions, instead of setting yourself apart by attacking other faiths, why not talk to your brothers and understand what they are all about? Teach your children compassion and tolerance for other beliefs! Havent we suffered enough divisiveness already in this world? CHRIST TAUGHT US TO LOVE! Not draw lines in the sand

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      How do you know what he taught….assuming he was real?

      Do you need someone to teach you how to love people? My dog loves me, and no one taught him. He didn’t need anyone to teach him.

      On the other hand, my cat does need someone to teach her how to love 🤭


  1. David Thomas Franklin's Avatar David Thomas Franklin

    This is why he chose to associate with sinners and social outcasts; to show us that EVERYONE is lived and accepted by GOD!

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Would that god be Dionysus by any chance? Wine is my favourite go-to drink so I hope this deity accepts me. 🤗


      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        I would sort of like a religion dedicated to Whiskey...lolol

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          You have my vote, Sir Daniel. 🤭


          1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            Yep and I would stuff the ballot box as well....

  1. Cara Eve Lair's Avatar Cara Eve Lair

    First of all, the "Christmas" tree is not Christian at all - ask some fundamentalist Christians about that one, or just do a little research. Its roots are pagan and it was adapted most directly into our culture from Germany, particularly through the influence of Prince Albert who started the tradition in Victorian England.
    Secondly, not to sound insensitive, but if you live in a place where the culture is predominantly different from your own, you must expect to be exposed to elements of that culture different from your own, particularly at holiday time. You have two choices at that point: 1. Enjoy the experience of cultural difference. 2. Throw a fit and claim discrimination of some sort or forced participation, neither of which in this case would be true. I vote for enjoy - at least that is what I would do - enjoy and study the history behind the tradition. It would keep me from making inaccurate assumptions and accusations.

  1. Alex Pineiro's Avatar Alex Pineiro

    My view on the entire Christmas Tree debate is purely based on inner realizations and meditations on fundamental spiritual truths..note I say spiritual truths and not religious truths, ideas, dogmas, etc.

    YES, it is not debatable that the Christmas Tree has pagan historical roots. It is also true that this IS NOT the same tree as used back then. It is also true that people evolve over the ages, and that forgiveness of what we percieve as past errors must REMAIN at the forefront of our Hearts and MInds. Whatever the history of the tree was back in another time, has naught whatsoever to do with it's intended use today. The important thing to keep in focus IS that God the almighty KNOWS by his Omnipresent and Omniscient nature, the deepest corners of one's Heart and KNOWS your intent. It's not very much different than using a bat to play a nice game of murder someone. What "I" do KNOW is that Life is a brevity, and the gift of time which it bestows does not come with a guarantee that we will be able to spend even the next moment of it. Therefore it IS of PARAMOUNT importance to keep our Hearts and minds focused on Forgiveness, Lovong our neighbors as ourselves, not judging others, but keeping our pointing finger pointed at ourselves as we strive to improve our own understanding. In a word. LOVE. God IS LOVE, and that is all you can give the Creator of all. Continuously looking for little things to take exeption with or squabble about only means self-condemnation to a life of perpetual misery and spiritual stagnation because ignorance is an affliction we ALL suffer is only a question of subject matter and degree. This means the world will never stop providing you with fodder to feud over if you allow yourself to be so charmed by the wiles of the material world.

  1. Kenneth Kling's Avatar Kenneth Kling

    Another year almost in the Books and here we are arguing the same old drivel. All these "learned" opinions. I'm beginning to think that so many of you went through the process of getting "Ordained" so you could run over yet another group of people in yet another media venue. Chances are you all just feed off each other. If you don't believe, practice, whatever, show me your maturity and just leave it alone for the 10's of millions worldwide who do. Isn't that simple?

  1. David Bobb's Avatar David Bobb

    Has anybody on here looked at the charter for this school? They honor and celebrate ALL religious holidays. This parent is an absolute buffoon for acting out over this. One more person that has to ruin things for the majority. It truly is sickening. No person or group is excluded, rather HAS been excluded, until now. Now only the people that celebrate this time of year are excluded to the benefit of one person, that was never excluded to begin with

  1. Judith's Avatar Judith

    Jesus was not born on December 25th although some choose to celebrate his birth then. Santa Claus is not a Christian symbol nor is the tree. In fact there are scriptures that say you should not cut down a tree & decorate it with shiny objects. Many schools actually teach classes on “other” religions & customs. It appears that the assumption must be that all public school students are Christian and must be taught about “others” but avoid teaching about Christian beliefs & customs in the classrooms for fear of offending the “others” I find that to be discriminatory.

  1. Dennis Horvitz's Avatar Dennis Horvitz

    In view of the very real threat of Christo-fascists attempting to take over the government, a holiday tree is barely worth mentioning. In fact, it seems more like dialing it back by comparison.

  1. Anthony Eugene Curry's Avatar Anthony Eugene Curry

    A Christmas Tree is indeed named in honorable remembrance of Jesus Christ. You can name a turkey a cow but you'll never get it to mow. Just like changing Christmas tree to Holiday tree, it's still a Christmas Tree. If you allow only the decorations on the tree to be displayed, you will still have resistance. I would love to see a Christmas Tree in a school, but, even though the United States was founded with Christianity, it's own motto on the statue of Liberty restricts it's ability to restrict the population from including all religions. Public schools, public rules. All or nothing. Sounds like the public has expressed a lack of representation and a forcing of opinion or even torture of individual groups. For this reason I'm afraid that the Christmas Tree must go.

  1. Alun Lloyd Palmer's Avatar Alun Lloyd Palmer

    There is something to both points of view. Christmas trees are a pagan symbol, coopted by Christians together with other things, not least the date of Christmanas itself. I'm an atheist who has always had a tree at Christmas. On the one hand it's not specifically Christian in the way that a Nativity scene would be, and on the other hand it might be a good idea to also have something to represent Hannukah, Diwali, etc..

  1. Bessie Mae Walker's Avatar Bessie Mae Walker

    it's a pagan holiday,it was found in many ancient pagan cultures,worship of a sun god, here what the Bible say in Jeremiah about this we should not ever be cutting down tree and putting then in our house Chapter 10:1-2-,3,4,5

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