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Volume 65 Number 3

Michelle Geller: Just call it a Christmas tree

by Michelle Geller - 2014-12-18


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As the holiday season draws nearer, questions arise between non-denominational and Christian-dominated beliefs and jargon.

You’ll come to school on a day when everyone wears “ugly Christmas sweaters.” People will wear Santa hats and there will be jingles dancing over the radio. You’ll walk into the rotunda, the center and fundamental core of campus, breathe in the wafting smell of pine needles and notice the “non-denominational coniferous tree” sitting in the heart of the building.

We wear a mask and cover up the inherent reality…it is a Christmas tree.

Some argue that the tree has non-denominational characteristics when we decorate it with vibrant colors and polaroids. I, however, disagree.

Let me ask you this: where did we get that tree? Probably at a Christmas tree lot. No matter how we change the name to have secular locution, it doesn’t hide the reality that it is Christmas tree. Its meaning still remains the same.

“It is disrespectful to the American Christian traditions to call this symbol of Christmas, a very important holiday in the Christian faith, not its proper name,” says Jamie Castleman. She adds, “Calling it ‘non-denominational’ entails that all religions celebrate during this time with a tree. This furthermore suggests that this tree is also a holy Jewish, or any other religion’s, symbol.”

Joan Didion’s novel Play It As It Lays portrays characters who put on masks as a means of avoiding pain. Didion argues that after putting on masks to such an extent, the main character, Maria, loses her true sense of self. Although an extreme example of masking the truth, the novel further illustrates the futility in masking something when it is known to be fabricated.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to celebrate various cultures during the holiday season. I do think, however, that we should acknowledge the tree for what it truly is.

I challenge you to take off this mask and call it a Christmas tree this holiday season.



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Article Keywords:

holiday, nondenominational, christmas, tree, mask

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