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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET another classroom down the hall, you might have a couple of teachers who are upset that the story of Christmas and the associated activities in classrooms have been reduced to evergreen trees and Santa, when the essence of Christmas as they know it and live it is about the birth of baby Jesus. Across the hall, you might find teachers who are Jewish and have sad memories of having been banished to another classroom when Christmas activities were offered during their childhoods. And at the other end of the hall, you might have teachers who don’t want to recognize Christmas or any other dominant-culture holiday because they believe that Hallmark has taken over most major holidays to pro- mote commercialism. The children in this classroom who celebrate Christmas at home may wonder why their teachers talk about Solstice but not Christmas. You might also have a teacher who sees the value of introducing children to every holiday and so packs the curriculum from October through January with activities from all cultures, some of which are practiced by families in the pro- gram but others which are not. Her coteacher might have heard at a conference that if she is committed to an anti-bias approach, she shouldn’t celebrate any holidays, so she acknowledges only the changes in the seasons and avoids even saying the words Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas. You might have in the same classroom a child whose Jewish parent wants to come in and share the cultural aspects of Hanukkah with the children and a Christian parent who believes that Hanukkah is a religious holiday and that because she can’t share the religious story of Christmas, the story of Hanukkah should not be shared either. In that same classroom, you might also have par- ents whose religion or cultural values preclude their children from participat- ing in any holiday activities at school, and other parents who do celebrate and feel that their children are being deprived of their right to holiday activities because a few other families don’t celebrate. Down the hall, you might find parents who are outraged that children can’t dress up for Halloween, and other parents who won’t allow their children to come to school if Halloween activities are offered, because the holiday goes against their religious values. Is it any wonder, then, that many early childhood educators and programs have decided to leave holidays behind, hoping that doing so will eliminate the conflict and strife that now often accompany classroom holiday activities? But this is not the answer either. Eliminating holidays deprives everyone, most particularly children, of opportunities to see and be seen, and to learn and grow from one another’s practices and values. RETHINKING HOLIDAYS IN THE CLASSROOM Holidays in early childhood classrooms often mean special food and art activ- ities. Because of concerns about how to handle the religious aspects of holi- days or fear of offending someone who doesn’t subscribe to a particular holiday, teachers and children rarely talk about religion. However, many holidays are based on religious stories, and for families who celebrate holidays at home, the THE HOLIDAY QUESTION HAS BECOME MORE COMPLE X COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 19