As of December, 2017 about 90% of Americans celebrated Christmas (Pew Research Center). Many students at Leesville also celebrate Christmas, and associate winter break with last minute shopping, packing to visit family, or hectically cleaning their house to prepare for visitors.
The students who don’t celebrate Christmas spend their time over break similarly to those who do celebrate.
“We do go on vacation over break,” said Jenna Siwan, a sophomore who does not celebrate Christmas. “[Winter break] is pretty normal,” noting that she doesn’t think her break looks much different than other student’s.
Siwan is Muslim and says her religion looks down on saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to others. “A bunch of people say ‘Merry Christmas’ to us, and they think it’s so weird when we say ‘Happy Holidays’ back,” said Siwan. Sometimes people believe she is being “rude” or disrespectful to their religion when she refrains from saying ‘Merry Christmas’.
Siwan hopes people recognize that not everyone celebrates Christmas and wants people to know that saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ isn’t meant to be rude.
She believes that winter break is geared towards all students, not only ones who celebrate Christmas. “I feel like break is meant for everybody because everybody deserves a break– we’ve all been working hard,” said Siwan.
Winter break is “just a break”, a time for students to relax and prepare for exams. Siwan doesn’t “associate Christmas with it as much as [she] used too.” She credits a lessened focus on Christmas in school with her lack of association: students no longer make crafts about Christmas like they did in elementary school.
Winter break has come to an end and students are getting back into the swing of school. Review and prep for finals has started in many classes, leaving Leesville students wishing break had never ended.