“Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”? Let’s Debate!

Do you cover “Christmas” in your classroom?

Does your school district allow you to cover the topic of Christmas? In some cities, regions, and states, teachers are restricted from doing “Christmas” activities and lessons. Some teachers are allowed to cover the holiday, but not celebrate it. In other schools, teachers continue to celebrate a secular version of the holiday with songs and parties. Do you have to be careful whether or not you say “Christmas” or “Holiday” break, party, or play?

Does your school have a “Christmas” tree? There is a controversy in the US about whether or not state capitol trees should be called Christmas or Holiday trees. Why not share this article with your students to see what they think?

English language classes are often made up of many students who do not celebrate Christmas. Many of these students may still celebrate the holidays in their own ways. Open up the conversation by discussing some real life controversies related to the “Christmas” vs. “Holiday” debate. In addition to the article above, share these two blog posts by parents who have different opinions about covering Christmas in school. Give your students a chance to debate the topic: Does Christmas belong in school?

“The reality is, not everyone celebrates Christmas. If there were Christmas decorations everywhere, it would send a message to the non-Christmas children that the school is not equally theirs—that they belong there just a little less than the Christian children do.”

—Evonne Lack, Momformation Blog

Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

Discussion Questions

  • Should students be allowed to sing traditional Christmas carols at school?
  • Should a city or state’s Christmas tree be called a holiday tree? What about the tree at the White House or in a shopping mall?
  • Should we greet each other with “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”?
  • Should all religious holidays be banned in schools?
  • Is it possible to learn about Christmas at school without celebrating it?
  • Should elementary teachers avoid anything to do with Santa Claus?
  • Should parents who have special religious concerns homeschool their children?
  • What about the workplace? How should the holiday season be celebrated at work?

More Debates

Do your students need to practice stating and backing up opinions?  Our Mini Debates section features a number of full-length lessons to give your students practice debating issues from the news. Each lesson comes with a warm up, a reading, comprehension questions, vocabulary review and debate topics.

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Related English Lessons and Activities

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  1. Tara Benwell says:

    Nov 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Let’s keep the debate going this year! Get your students talking about the controversial Starbucks red cup! http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/09/starbucks-holiday-red-cup-brews-controversy-on-social-media.html

    Reply

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