How should you talk about Christmas in a public school? Here are three things I suggest:
Use the term “recognizing Christmas” rather than “celebrating Christmas.” Using the word celebrate may cause some people to feel that you are promoting religious participation in the holiday. There is a difference between participating in the holiday in a devotional manner and recognizing the holiday in an engaging and enjoyable academic manner.
- It is also best to teach about Christmas using words of attribution such as: “Christians believe...;” “The Bible says...;” “Christmas is special for Christians because...;” and so forth. In other words, can someone who is not a Christian agree with you: “Yes, Christians believe. Yes, this is what the Biblical story says…”
If you read the story of the birth of Jesus to students, emphasize that you are doing it so they understand this event which has inspired so much music, art, and literature. When students become familiar with the story of the birth and life of Jesus they gain a basic academic familiarity with a person who has influenced so many people throughout history in government, art, literature, music, and social movements.
If you would like a list of lesson plan ideas for teaching about the religious aspects of Christmas in public schools, click on the link below.