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letters | Christmastime, in other words

Religious observance overwhelmed by secular symbols

Kevin T. McLaughlin wonders why there is a “holiday tree” but not a “holiday candelabra” (instead of a menorah) in Copley Square (“Do you see what I see?” Letters, Dec. 11). The answer is that, while the menorah is central to the religious significance of Hanukkah, Christmas trees have nothing to do with the birth of Christ. A better parallel would be a manger scene: a “holiday creche” would make no sense either.

Christians have allowed their religious observance to be mixed up with, and overwhelmed by, secular symbols like Christmas trees, reindeer, and candy canes. In my opinion, menorahs and mangers and carols about wise men should be celebrated in the houses of worship where they belong, while Santa Claus and his associates should be cut loose from their tenuous association with Christianity and recognized for what they already are: symbols of a secular end-of-year celebration known as “the holidays,” which can be enjoyed by all.

Kathy Olney


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