Thriving School Psych Thriving Students

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

You know what is lacking in urban schools sometimes? Happy people. Now I recently discovered that happiness is contagious and I would really like some people at work to get infected with a serious case.

I entered one of my schools to find that someone had gotten all festive on me and put up holiday lights, a Christmas tree (I know, I know, separation of church and state), and even a whole family of moving-light-up-reindeer. The reindeer were all awkwardly grazing on fluffy white “snow” made of quilting batting that had some extra sparkle in it for good measure. There was a sweet little tree with fake packages under it and everything. Despite the clear Christmas bias over other holidays, I thought that it was nice for someone to try to spruce (get it?) up the foyer for the holidays, and I commented on it to a co-worker.

Me: Wow! This place is all festive!
CW: Festive. At this school? Ha. (Snorts)
Me: Um, I was referring not to the school in general, but to all the lights and the cute animatronic rein…
CW: (Walks away before I can finish)
Me: (to self, quietly) Reindeer.

Sheesh! There’s only a week left until break! ‘Tis the season? No? Okay fine, I’ll go hang out with happy people then. Please excuse me while I look for the reindeer lover and thank him or her for making me happy today.

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Comments on Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

  1. Susan says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Jolene says:

    Hi! You have a great blog – I’d just like to leave a comment on the whole Christmas tree thing and separation of church and state: I myself am a Christian, and therefore I oppose the removal of all things “Christmas” and insertion of “Holiday” instead. However, I have to respect others’ views, and so I feel obligated to say (although I am not personally promoting this) that many “Christmas trees” are now being referred to as “Holiday trees”. And when you think about it, there doesn’t have to be any ties to Christian symbolism there at all. It’s a Holiday tree, which is decorated (’cause that’s what we do this time of year) and it was chosen as the tree to decorate because it’s pretty much the only one with any green or fullness on it at this time of year. So rest assured, no one broke any separation of church and state laws/rules/codes.

  3. thanks for your perspective, Jolene. I like the idea of calling it a Holiday Tree. I’m pretty sure Jesus did not awake to animatronic reindeer either! 😉

  4. Jolene says:

    Ha! True, true… Again, great blog. Some of us grad students in Michigan read it as we go on our merry way in our program. Congratulations on all your successes, and “Happy Holidays”!

  5. superdeens says:

    I am Jewish and am personally insulted when schools have Christmas trees or red and green decorations and then try to pass everything off as “Holiday.” There is nothing whatsoever Jewish or Hindu or Islamic about a decorated fir tree. Many Americans might be of the opinion that the tree is no longer a religious symbol, but ask anyone who is of any faith OTHER than Christian and they will answer definitively that it is.

    If you really crave decoration, make paper chains or Chinese lanterns or paintings on the walls.

  6. @superdeens- Point taken. When you think about it, it IS a bit bizarre to cut down a perfectly good tree and put it inside. I don’t know how that tradition got started. Too bad the holidays have the capacity to divide as much as they unite, especially since we just learned that joy is contagious.

    And my new year’s resolution will be not to post anything remotely related to religion on my blog because it opens up discussions way above my pay grade! Then again, I suppose it’s good to air our differences of opinion when it comes to the larger issue of separation of church and state.

  7. @Becky: Thanks for posting the link to the happiness is contagious article. I had heard about it, but was too lazy to look it up myself.

    @superdeens: I’m not Christian. But the Tree is a pagan tradition (non-religious), and it’s true Christians who should be the only ones offended by its constant association to Christianity, because it has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. Nor do the reindeer or Santa. Personally I think the tree and the reindeer and Santa are the funnest parts of Christmas– cuz they give us all the fun movies–, and everyone should par-take in them, because they are festive. (Although I do see Rebecca’s point about the cruelty of killing a tree that could continue to live and provide us with our much needed source of Oxygen.)

    But I do wish people would stop pretending that the decorations have anything to do with religion. (Obviously, I’m not talking about the nativity scenes, which are pretty blatantly associated with Jesus.)

    That said, the gift exchange is ridiculous and costly, and should promptly be replaces with giving everyone a big hug.

  8. Susan says:

    Just want to let you know that I get and appreciate the Ren and Stimpy reference in your headline. Thanks.

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