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December 7, 2012

Why Did My Newspaper Do That? Naming Christmas as focus of 'holiday' events

This is the time of year, of course, when we cover a lot of “holiday” events, either through photos, stories, both, or in our community events listings.

And any of these events truly span all of the late-year holidays, from Thanksgiving through Hanukkah, and then right through Christmas to Kwanzaa and New Year’s. Yet more and more it seems, people seeking to make various events more inclusive will simply use the term “holiday,” when it’s clear that the event is geared toward one specific holiday: Christmas.

In these politically-correct times, it seems that more and more people are shying away from referring specifically to Christmas, especially when it comes to holiday parties, holiday business promotions and other festivities. And indeed, in our coverage of Gloucester’s Santa Claus Parade, we referred to the events of the day “ringing in the holiday season” and “lighting up holiday spirits.”

Yet, we also made sure to refer to the Canadian spruce tree that graces Kent Circle for what it is — Gloucester’s Christmas tree. And our headline that accompanied Friday’s didn’t refer to the buoys being painted for today’s Lobster Trap Tree decorating and lighting as “holiday buoys,” or some other such designation. The headline noted that the students were painting “Buoys of Christmas.” And they were — for the Lobster Trap Christmas tree.

Was that politically incorrect? Was it discriminatory or exclusionary against those who may not celebrate Christmas? Not in my view. Yet you may well ask, shouldn’t the Times be more general in portraying all Christmas-related things at this time of year as simply celebrating the “holidays?” In other words, why did your community’s newspaper do that?

In the case of the trees and lighting ceremonies, let’s remember these trees for what they area: the city’s live and Lobster Trap Christmas trees. And frankly, the same goes for many of the celebrations in which we all engage around this time of year.

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