It's a Sad Day When a Town in America Bans All Holiday Decorations

menorahI'm not a religious person, but I do delight in walking around my Brooklyn neighborhood at night and seeing the twinkling lights, decorative menorahs, and all other things festive. When I see such decorum, thoughts of Jesus Christ or anything religion-related don't enter my mind. Like a child, I simply think, "Ooh, shiny." Then visions of the upcoming respite from work and time with my family dance through my head.

For other people, holiday trimmings are more than just "shiny." They're actually controversial as hell. Wars over what this tree should be called, and what that one shouldn't, seem worse than ever this holiday season. And one city is so over it, they've just banned holiday decorations altogether.

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The city of Boca Raton in Florida has decided to completely do away with Christmas trees and Hanukkah menorahs, both of which the Supreme Court allows, in all of its public buildings this year. The reason being that Mayor Susan Whelchel doesn't want to deal with media attention and lawsuit threats from religious groups again. Last year, Whelchel decorated her own Christmas-themed golf cart for the city's holiday parade, and people didn't respond to it kindly. She said of the attention she got, "We do still conduct business on a daily basis. The disruption was frankly just too much."

I get what Whelchel is saying here, but this is kind of sad. Kind of like a Grinch entered the town and literally stole Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa). Despite my Catholic upbringing (currently non-practicing, thankyouverymuch), I still enjoy seeing silver and blue garland in stores for Hanukkah. And I smile when I see a really beautiful menorah. And you best believe I wouldn't complain if this was all one store or library or whatever displayed. As I said, to me, the holidays aren't about which religion gets the most attention (and, yes, I realize that that's probably easier for someone who grew up on all things Christmas to say), it's about family and trying to be a little bit nicer than you usually are. And, of course, eating and presents.

It's a bummer that this is what the city of Boca Raton resorted to -- and it's a bummer that harassment is what led them to their decision. It's the holidays for (your) God's sake. If we can't lighten up now, when the crap can we?

Have you ever been offended by other people's holiday decor?


Image via Dominic's pics/Flickr

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