It seems like it would take a special combination of Grinchy, Scroogy awfulness and world-historical stupidity to run afoul of a straightforward new law in Texas called the “Merry Christmas Law” that allows children and teachers in public schools to celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays plainly and explicitly.
Naturally, then, a group of parents and a state legislator have claimed that the organizer of the winter party at Nichols Elementary School in the affluent Dallas suburb of Frisco has outlawed all mentions of Christmas at the event.
But, wait! There’s so much more. The unidentified, fun-hating party organizer has also banned Christmas trees, the colors red and green, the mention of any other winter holidays and anything that will stain the carpet, reports local Fox affiliate KDFW.
An also-unidentified parent forwarded an email from the party organizer to Pat Fallon, a Republican state representative, one of the co-authors of the “Merry Christmas Law.” Fallon wasn’t pleased/
“We’re celebrating Christmas, so why can’t it be a Christmas party or maybe a holiday party?” Fallon asked, according to KDFW. “But they’ve skipped over ‘holiday’ and go to ‘winter.’ That’s political correctness gone too far.”
Fallon investigated. He said both the school district superintendent and someone from the district PTA told him kids could, in fact, tell each other “Merry Christmas.”
Later, however, a PTA member sent Fallon information suggesting that the draconian anti-Christmas rules would be in effect:
“Today at the PTA meeting it was stated that they had decided to keep everything the same. She said they didn’t want to offend any families and since each family donates money they feel this is the best policy.”
On Wednesday, a school district official responded by sending its own email to KDFW saying:
“The school was unaware of this and it was not an official PTA correspondence either. There have never been any limitations on what students wear, what they bring to share with their classmates on party days… what greetings people exchange with each other.”
It’s not clear at this point if there will be any red or green decorations, or if anyone will be able wear red or green, or if there will any signs of Christmas trees at the Nichols Elementary winter party. The rule against stuff that could stain the carpet will likely stand.
Meanwhile, an Austin-based conservative advocacy group called Texas Values has been running radio an ad around the state reminding Texans about the “Merry Christmas Law.” At the end, a little girl says, “And remember, it’s okay to say ‘Merry Christmas.'”
The “Merry Christmas Law” sailed easily through both the Texas House and Senate. Vote tallies were 145-2 in the House and 29-0 in the Senate. It took effect in the fall of this year. (RELATED: Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘Merry Christmas Bill’ expected to become law in Texas soon)
The text of the bill specifically permits school districts to “educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations.” It allows “students and district staff” to declare such things as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” and even the soul-sucking “happy holidays.”
The bill also unambiguously legalizes displays of religious imagery associated with traditional winter holiday celebrations including nativity scenes, Christmas trees and menorahs. The caveat is that any display must include imagery from at least two religions or some additional secular symbol. (Messages encouraging adherence to a religion are verboten.)