Here we go again

As we approach the holiday season, political correctness has raised its ugly head again.

Our neighboring town, Durham, was the first in the area to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Then, last winter they had issues with the word, Christmas, so they set up a committee to work on making a ‘Winter Celebration’ that was more inclusive.

This year instead of a Christmas celebration, they are holding a Frost Fest.

Photo credit: Town of Durham

Frost Fest will still include the tree pictured at the left with lights, but it’s now referred to as the ‘Evergreen Tree‘ instead of the Christmas Tree, and instead of a lighting ceremony, the tree will be ‘energized.’

Okay, I’m sorry, but if this blog wasn’t PG rated, I’d probably insert a flippant comment here.

Santa Claus will be at the Frost Fest, but he won’t make an entrance because they don’t want to draw attention to him. “Santa will be present but not presented.” So, he can be standing there and available to see children, but he can’t ride into town as usual on his sleigh. That’s an interesting distinction.

The green wreaths with lights that were hung from the light poles throughout town, were voted down by the Committee because they could have been ‘perceived to include Christmas or religious overtones.’ The cost of new stars or snowflakes to replace the wreaths will cost $10,000 to be paid for by the residents. Personally, I’ve never perceived a green wreath with lights as having a hidden meaning, but if you have the budget and want snowflakes or stars, go for it.

As you can imagine, there have been some funny and some nasty responses to this in the local paper and online.

The last line of the Town Administrator’s editorial to keep things civil was “this is not Washington, DC. We are Durham, NH.”

I’m glad he put that in writing because I was confused – New Hampshire BS doesn’t sound that much different than DC’s.

About NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
This entry was posted in New England and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to Here we go again

  1. nancy marie allen says:

    Every time I think it can’t get any worse, I read something like this! Where will it end? Merry Christmas, Judy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How ridiculous and for what reason? Not to offend other faiths? In our Grandchildren’s school everyone enjoys the Christmas festivities and those of Diwali and Eid and Chinese New Year and lots more. Surely we are all enriched by sharing each other’s festivals. I’m one of those with no faith. I am a Humanist and I love celebrating life with people of all faiths and colours!
    All the best to you, Judy, this winter and throughout the year! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Goodness! It does sound as though things have gone too far.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get not intentionally offending other people, but we can’t ‘light’ a tree, we have to ‘energize’ it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • It does seem extreme. And I hope that people realize that many of our Christmas traditions come from the pagans—the druids in particular with their worship of trees. 😉 It is a tricky balance to respect other cultures without going too far the other way. As a Franco-American, I do not long for the good old days when people just assumed I was stupid because of my name. Or a co-worker could say the most offensive thing to my father and get away with it. Nowadays that co-worker would be fired, and rightly so. Still…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Joanne Sisco says:

    So. I wonder how they’re doing in the don’t-want-to-offend-anyone category? 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I will still say Merry Christmas and repeat that this is one reason I don’t visit New England unless its necessary [family emergency]. People should celebrate what they believe in without complicating themselves since there is one life

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Joyce says:

    Oh. My. Gosh! You gotta wonder what state of mind those organizers are in when “energize the tree” comes up and it’s carefully debated before approval. Is anyone calling BS? Bursting out laughing? Or are they all (sadly) dead serious about “making things right” for a community that was previously an unabashed wonderland of lights and wreaths and Santa coming to town?
    I’m with your second commenter – I love seeing signs and symbols of the faith and culture of others. If offered, I’d accept a “Happy Hanukkah” greeting with the warmth it was extended to me – i.e. good wishes from one human being to another in the way they are most comfortable communicating them.
    I can just imagine the funny comments this issue would generate in the community – there’s some really clever, funny people out there and reading their online snark often makes my day!
    Finally, I just hope NH leaves Dover and the police horses alone! Don’t anybody get the idea they need to hide for awhile because they resemble reindeer too much and somebody’s gonna get offended!
    Ok. I’m done.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Relax... says:

    “When the Son of Man (aka ‘The Energizer of the world’?) returns, will He find any faith on Earth?” Yep, he’ll find all 75, as usual

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dan Antion says:

    Let me join the people here wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas in advance, in case WordPress joins the insanity. If I know that someone celebrates a different holiday, I try to recognize that.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Murphy's Law says:

    O, M. G. I read your blog 3 times and I still can’t believe it! How does it offend any religion to celebrate yours? If celebrating CHRISTMAS with a CHRISTMAS TREE, and CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is perceived as excluding others, then why aren’t we one religion in this country?

    We are born of many faiths, many nationalities, many colors, many beliefs. We’re supposed to learn from each other, not stamp the other ones out. I have never had a problem seeing a Menorah displayed or a Kwanza celebration, for instance, nor have I ever felt excluded.

    Good grief, Durham, NH has become Little Washington DC…..not something they should be proud of. The ‘committee’ should be ashamed. I think the good (sane) citizens of Durham should give a Gift Certificate to each member of that committee for counseling as a CHRISTMAS GIFT!!

    Merry Christmas my friend! Enjoy your beautiful Christmas tree, green wreaths, colorful Christmas lights, and anything Santa. 🎄🎅🏻🎄
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will be getting out my Christmas tree, wreaths, lights, Nativity set, tree made from police horses’ shoes, and all my other sentimental things. Then I will sit back and enjoy it all and hope that each and every other person is enjoying whatever makes them happy. 🙂

      Like

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    Some people have too much time on their hands. 😉
    As I recall, Durham is a college town, so I’m not surprised.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Dawn says:

    Oh, my goodness!! Wreaths always symbolize ‘welcoming’ to me. We most definitely need to embrace a more welcoming spirit everywhere throughout the year.
    Judy, you gather the brightest, funniest readers here. I love reading ALL of their comments! Thanksgiving Blessings and Merry Christmas to all! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Karen says:

    Energize an evergreen tree for a frost event where Santa will just be hanging around. I’m surprised they are even going to let him dress in his red suit. I can’t believe it, it sounds like a bad dream! When I lived in New Hampshire, I had a lit candle in every window and a Christmas tree in each room of our home. “Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas to all”.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Honestly, if I was a resident I would start a campaign to over rule. But, perhaps this is what the town has “evolved” into. Good grief…when you have to find a safe place away from God, Christianity, and humanity. Several of your readers made excellent comments about being “more inclusive” and learning about other holidays. Couldn’t agree more. Happening in a small town near you because they are afraid of the ACLU! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and greetings to others on their personally preferred celebrations. (Oh…and tell those that are Christmas shopping but don’t believe to just stop wasting their money….)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oddment says:

    There is a difference between offense given and offense taken. I don’t know any more where the balance is. A very timely post. Thanks, Judy!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Almost Iowa says:

    One word describes how everything went wrong.

    committee

    There is just something about the kind of person who can thrive on countless hours of soul-crushing committee work. God bless them for their efforts – but it also explains why so many modern churches are ugly as sin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an interesting comment about modern churches because I specifically drove by a new small-town library. I drive up and see these three A-frames on the front with full glass. Too modern, too simple, and doesn’t look New England at all, but I don’t think I’ll mention that to a friend who has been on the committee for years.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ally Bean says:

    Energized? Say what! Will a large pink rabbit with a bass drum be doing the energizing? What a weird way to mess up a potentially fun activity.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. quiltify says:

    Our Massachusetts town celebrates everyone’s holidays throughout the year, instead of whitewashing them all. We are a city of many wonderful cultures and religions. And Santa Claus parachutes into town, rides in the parade, and does his business on Christmas. But everyone gets their holiday, when they should, throughout the year, and we have many… When did NH turn into this? And Santa Claus is not a religious figure, it is pagan. Energized? LOL. I could go on and on so I better stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Instead of worrying about whether or not a wreath (pagan in origin) is too Christmas for a public celebration, it would be a better idea to celebrate all of the wonderful holidays during September. Christmas is only one of dozens!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This is so strange and, in a way, hilarious, but of course I don’t live in that town, thank God, so I can be amused. I’m all for inclusiveness and I love the novelty of other cultures and celebrations. I don’t see any reason why we have to dilute anyone’s celebrations, and I can’t figure out the reasoning behind some of the decisions you’ve highlighted here. Quite interesting, thanks for posting Judy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I first read about the controversy this year, I literally had to read the words twice because I could not fathom ‘present but not presented’ or ‘energized.’ I really like your statement about ‘not having to dilute anyone’s celebrations.’ Perfect. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. pastpeter says:

    Oi vey! Durham’s Holiday Committee goes nuts. Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate, to all!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief”!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Energized? Really? And Santa presented??? What are these people smoking? I would laugh if this didn’t want to make me smack someone or a number of someones hard. These days too many people are ready to be offended by everything. Bet they won’t be changing the name of Ramadan, though, or Hanukkah. Just saying. I have to go now to get energized. Merry Christmas will be on my lips even more this year!!

    I suggest watching “Elf” and “White Christmas” as antidotes!

    janet, who just may have smoke coming from her ears

    Liked by 2 people

  23. They have taken political correctness to a whole new level. Good grief! I agree with so many of the comments here, so I can only add “Merry Christmas!”

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m right with you on this one, Judy. When we moved out of the dorms in our senior year of college and into an apartment, my roommates and I decorated the place before winter break. It was the first Christmas tree I’d ever had, though they started calling it a “holiday tree” so as not to offend me, the lone Jew in the apartment. “Like hell you will, “I said. “I’ve never had a Christmas tree, and you’re not going to spoil the experience for me!” I’m not even sure the phrase “politically correct” had been invented yet. And so it goes… – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh brother! Well, I’m doing Christmas and having a Christmas tree thank you! This PC business really does take it too far. I’m with Sue and will say Merry Christmas too. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be up in the attic bringing down all my decorations, and enjoying every minute of it. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours, and I hope Santa in his bright red suit brings your two grands a big bag of whatever their heart desires. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • 😍 Be careful coming down the stairs or ladder with the boxes! I am waiting until the 1st to begin my Christmas decorating. I’m enjoying these last couple of weeks of fall decorations, and get past Thanksgiving before moving to Christmas decor.
        I need to start wrapping though. I always leave that too late.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh my giddy aunt! Why do people have to twist themselves into pretzels to make everything so pc? Where’s the fun in celebrating anymore?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. germac4 says:

    Well, we had a laugh over breakfast at your post Judy, but in all seriousness, do you think that committee reflects what the people in the town think?
    …way too much time on their hands!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is a case of too much time and the fact that it is a college town. Although they want everyone to holiday shop in their downtown, they want to make sure no one is offended by the holidays. I feel like a dinosaur even reading about it including the new consulting firm they hired as of last evening to advice their committee. Way too much money and time on their hands. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Norm 2.0 says:

    Oh brother! I mean I get the good intentions of wanting to be inclusive and not alienating those who don’t celebrate Christmas but it all just seems a bit much no?
    I mean most of my non-Christian friends are less bothered by the idea of people openly celebrating Christmas, than these misguided do-gooders 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Okay. I don’t mind Christmas or Chanukah or Passover or Easter. If you aren’t one of the anointed for that type of celebration, don’t celebrate. Just say “Merry Christmas” and move on.

    But. Columbus Day is something else. I have Native friends and to them, it’s like celebrating someone breaking into your house, then throwing you out while murdering your children as an afterthought.

    They have a point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Looking at life through someone else’s lenses is always a learning experience. Personally, I think it’s time we retired Columbus Day. It doesn’t mean anything except the last long weekend for fall travel, but that’s why they won’t retire it because it is a money maker.

      Like

  30. It’s sad to think that celebrations have to be de-sanitised. The people in charge must be very narrow minded. I think we can all read your flippant comment between the lines

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Nancy says:

    This makes me so sad. Our Country was founded on Christian beliefs. And most people have an open mind about all religions. Being inclusive is one thing but going overboard is another.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. OMG Judy, have people simply lost their minds. I hope the rest of New England does not follow that trend. We are visiting “Christmas at the Mansions” in Newport RI next week. I can only imagine the number of ‘energized evergreens’ we will encounter there. Don’t get me started on Indigenous Peoples Day, what a crock! I’m so upset, I need an emotional support puppy just to get through the remainder of my day. Buck up people! F*&%### Merry Christmas! Don’t delete me Judy, I tried to keep it PG.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t get me going on the support animals being hauled into airplanes, grocery stores, restaurants, doctor’s offices, malls, quilt shows – everywhere and in most cases in some type of baby carriage contraption. Okay, I’ll stop there and hope you see a ton of beautifully decorated energized trees in RI on your visit. 🙂

      Like

  33. Deborah Zemek says:

    I thought you were joking when I first started reading this. I cannot even fathom that this is true. I believe it’s true, but holy smokes. I probably offended someone by saying that…

    I grew up in New England. I say Merry Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday and I’m not letting anything ruin it. I have a light display that rivals most, two Christmas trees and I leave my Christmas lights up all year round in my kitchen 🙂 I have a wreath on my door and a Christmas tree in my office. Phooey on all of them. What has happened to everyone that people get so offended so easily? I hope someone stops these people…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to say it’s true. It has, however, gotten worse. According to two reports I just read, “a” citizen complained at Monday’s nights council meeting about the lights on the tree so the evergreen tree in the center of town won’t have lights, and they aren’t putting up the wreaths either. Their local Rabbi said “To stop cultures and faiths from practicing publicly would be very un-American.” Amen. Enjoy your decorations and lights, and I will do the same. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  34. mitzybricker says:

    All this blah, blah, blah………and BTW, Merry Christmas to all!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Rose says:

    Oh, my goodness…I am at a loss for words…I just cannot believe what people can find to worry about. This is so, so stupid. Pretty soon everyone is going to have to wear a mask because their face might offend someone. I loved the last line in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Junieper2 says:

    Our strategy to political correctness, is to leave every store in December, saying with great emphasis, Merry CHIRSTMAS” Have to say, 80% joins in, even if it’s meekly. If they don’t say anything, we stop and repeat it, louder! Haha:)

    Liked by 1 person

  37. pbmgarden says:

    Judy, this post has kept me entertained for sure. Energizing the tree is the aspect I found surprising, and now reading through the comments I see the tree will remain energy-less. Poor tree. I hope it finds internal strength to make it through the winter holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Besides the creative use of words, the most interesting thing to me was that last year it took only 3 people (1 wasn’t even a resident) to create this committee. This year it took 1 person’s comments to not energize the tree. Last week, they had a meeting, and they decided to light the tree. It has been a real conversation up here, and they’ve received comments from all across the country. I’m just glad our town is still celebrating Christmas with a parade, skating event, and festival of trees. 🎄🎅🏻⛄️

      Like

  38. Tina Schell says:

    ONG Judy. Thank goodness you are G-rated. That has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. slfinnell says:

    Seems to me a little history lesson is needed. Doesn’t anyone remember Nazi Germany and the changes made by Hitler to rid the nation of religion? Oh, I guess they removed that from our childrens’ textbooks too. Good of you to speak out Judy! More of us will have to before they start renaming our churches next.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. joey says:

    Good grief. As the secular liberal reader I am, and I do mean, very secular, very liberal, I must inform you that even I think this is a bridge too far. My Yule tree is your Christmas tree, my wreath your wreath, my snow is divine, your snow is divine, I make latkes and smile at twinkle lights like a lunatic — Can we not just all enjoy the season without making it unduly complicated?!? As the non-Christian I am, I have absolutely no problem wishing you a Merry Christmas as I truly want you to have a Merry Christmas. I am not offended by being wished joy.
    I know it would be shocking to the event planners of Durham, New Hampshire but my secular butt will be going downtown to revel in the awe and wonder of the image of an ‘energized evergreen’ in the city’s circle. While we do that, we will also drink coffee and hot cocoa from a cup with anything printed on it. And we’re going to eat candy canes… It’s such a good time.
    Is it about funding? The non-Christians don’t want the municipal monies used for this? I don’t get it. How about inclusion instead of petty vaguery? Are the other faiths given equal license to present festivities? I. Don’t. Get. It.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure anyone gets it really. It started with 3 people complaining, 1 of which is not a resident. Then this year 1 person complained. Even the Rabbi was in favor of allowing people to enjoy as they see fit. It’s a college town, and I’m guessing that has something to do with it. I did have to really laugh when I saw their article in the paper about holiday shopping downtown for small business Saturday. Can’t celebrate, but please shop. 🙂 I’m sitting here enjoying my many strands of tiny white lights while looking at my nativity set and my santas. 🙂

      Like

  41. tonytomeo says:

    Dang! Thought this sort of craziness was a Californian thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Annie says:

    I am shocked that this could happen in New Hampshire!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s interesting that’s for sure. We had our annual Christmas parade yesterday and have a tree lighting scheduled for the 6th. I keep wondering what they’re trying to prove and thought it was ironic when I saw ads for their weekend shopping. Why do they think people will be shopping – Christmas. 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s