I wrote this post last night as I was mulling over this dilemma but didn’t come to a decision until this morning, so couldn’t include the conclusion until now. Welcome to my overthinking world!
For the last several years, I’ve been in and around schools in December. It is a fun and busy time of year in a school: the first snowfall, concerts, family events. It has a little bit of everything and lots of celebrating. But this is the first year in a school that I’ve heard so much more about Christmas than I have about any other winter event or holiday.
It’s my first year in this school. I know that every school community has a culture and vibe of it’s own. I know that this school is situated in a community that looks and feels different than many of the other schools I’ve been in. But I have still been overwhelmed by how much Christmas talk there has been.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Our teachers and students talk, sing, and learn about a wide variety of cultural traditions and celebrations. We have some students who do not celebrate Christmas and others who celebrate a mix of other cultural or religious celebrations in addition to some Christmas ones. But when I talk with students, I’m hearing a whole lot more about Christmas than I have in any other year.
So, this brings me to my wardrobe dilemma. I celebrate Christmas; that is certainly part of my own personal traditions. We are having a last-day-before-the-break assembly tomorrow, and many people will be dressed in festive wear.
Do I break out the Christmas pants?
On the one hand, I want to be a real person to the students I work with. I celebrate Christmas and I am proud to do so and share my experiences with the students. On the other hand, I want to respect the students in the school who do not celebrate Christmas and may get swept up in a wave of CHRISTMAS because the voice of the majority drowns out the smaller, but still oh-so-important voices of the minority. In the past, I have downplayed it all and kept as holiday-neutral as I could; to be respectful towards all of my students. But I wondered, is this the year that I celebrate along with the crowd?
What to do. Wear the Santa pants or stick with my regular (boring) principal garb?
Here is the addendum I have added this morning.
Wardrobe decisions shouldn’t keep one up at night. This one did. I feel a little silly about that but I think it is actually a bigger issue. How do I show respect and care towards all my students equitably while still honouring the connections I have with them and helping them to see me as a real person and not just a cardboard cut out in an office?
I don’t know if it was the right decision or not, but I decided today to wear the Santa pants. It is a part of me. And while I might reply “Merry Christmas” to those students who say it first to me, I will try to learn how to respectfully and appropriately celebrate with my students who have different meaningful celebrations in their lives.
In the meantime, me and my Santa pants will enjoy this last day of school before the winter break. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Winter Solstice. Did I make the right choice? Was I inconsiderate? What do you think?