Undercover Christmas Tree

Did you display a Christmas tree in your classroom this holiday season? Does your school even allow Christmas trees for classroom decoration? I know that it is a controversial subject.

In just a minute, I will tell you a story about my own classroom Christmas tree.

First, I want to share another story about a teacher from Maine who made headline news this holiday season because of her classroom tree.

Here is an ABC News interview with the teacher, Catherine Gordon. Click on the picture for a link to the video.

This story does have a happy ending. Catherine Gordon’s Facebook post spread quickly throughout social media and many prominent officials weighed in on the topic. In the end, the original order was reversed, and Catherine was able to set back up the tree in her classroom. Yay!

Being a public school teacher, I must admit that I have tip-toed around for years over the display of a Christmas tree in my own classroom. Some teachers have cautioned me about getting in trouble. It is kind of hard to hide a Christmas tree! I have been mentally preparing myself for the year when I am told to take it down. Stories like this certainly get me thinking.

In case you were wondering, Christmas trees are allowed in public schools. The Supreme Court has ruled that a Christmas tree is a secular symbol of the holiday season and that using a Christmas tree for a temporary display within the school setting is not a violation of the Constitution. Tuck that information in your back pocket in case you need it some day.

Now for the story about my classroom Christmas tree.

According to my calculations, this Christmas tree has lit classrooms for nearly 100 years. During my very first year of teaching, Mrs. Brookes, a teacher from across the hall, brought this tree to me inside a giant trash bag on the last day of school. I still remember what she said to me on that hot, June day.

“Chrissie, this tree has lit my classroom for 40 years. When I was a new teacher like you, a teacher down the hall gave me this tree before she retired. She bought the tree when she was a new teacher and had it in her classroom for 40 years. Now it is your turn.”

Mrs. Brookes retired that year and left the tree to me. I will decorate and light this tree for the 20th time next year! 40 + 40 + 20 = 100! That tree has brought joy to many children and hopefully it will continue to spread joy for many more years to come. Someday I will hand it down to another new teacher.

That is the story of my classroom Christmas tree. 🙂

Happy New Year! I’ll be blogging again soon about my top Pinterest picks for the month of January. I also have a snowman craft to tell you about in the near future. Enjoy the rest of your break!

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