In 2016 I wrote a blog post, Why I Don’t Decorate My Library For Christmas. A lot has happened since then and our world is in a very different place. In 2018, I appreciate an ever growing need for things bright and colorful, happy and hopeful. I appreciate a need for decoration. This need has given me pause and I have revisited long and hard my belief and sentiments.
After much thought, I find myself in the same place. I will not decorate my library for Christmas, because Christmas is not a secular holiday. I will not decorate my library for any religious holiday. I feel that this is alienating for those who do not celebrate these particular faiths. In U.S. society we are inundated with Christmas. I cannot go into any store, access any form of media or even drive down any street without being flooded with Christmas. While there are some who insist that Christmas is non-religious, this is simply, factually incorrect and I would suggest equally as alienating for those who value its true meaning. Personally, as one who currently does not celebrate this holiday, I find the commercial predominance oppressive and I wonder how my non-Christian neighbors feel. The presence of Christmas can feel as though society is clearly accentuating what one is not.
At this junction in history many seem to be feeling estranged, and reluctant to demonstrate ethnically diverse culture. It is important to me that my library feel welcoming to all, regardless of race, religion, culture, or any other belief system. It is for this reason that I think it is of even greater importance to not decorate for a Christian holiday. I have decided to let the rest of society do this.
This does not mean, however, that I think libraries should not decorate. There is no reason why we cannot celebrate the season, with snow and snowflakes, snow people and mittens. We can still celebrate a season dedicated to love, peace and good will. We can still celebrate a commitment to family, friends, and cookies. We could highlight other focuses of December that are overlooked. December is national human rights month, national tie month and root vegetables and exotic fruit month. December is also national pear month, safe toy month and bingo month. All of these could be used as paths to colorful, creative and educational motifs to bring a festive flair.
I am not opposed to celebration and I am not opposed to decoration. I simply feel it is important to offer such things without any element that could make a person feel uncomfortable because of what they do (or do not) believe.