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To truly honor Christmas, end its status as an official holiday

Returning Dec. 25 to ordinary status would let Christmas be observed for the right reasons.

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I'm not a fanatic atheist or a self-righteous secular humanist. I'm a practicing Christian. But I think Christmas should be stricken from the list of legal holidays in America.

In a nation where people routinely declare their adherence to separation of church and state, a national Christmas holiday is hypocrisy. Returning Dec. 25 to ordinary status – as it was before 1870, when Congress made it a federal holiday – has many practical benefits. More important, it would restore the integrity of how Christians honor the birth of Jesus Christ.

Ending Christmas as a legal holiday would help eliminate the seasonal frenzy. Who hasn't crossed paths with parents crazed by desire to procure the right gift to win their child's affection? Who has not observed mothers anxious about re-creating Grandma's perfect Christmas dinner? Who isn't weary by the time the great day arrives?

I can hear the cries of merchants: "The economy would collapse!" "My company would go out of business!" But an economy built on stimulation of desire for the useless items I see for sale each year should review its underpinnings. We all have more desires than needs, and most Americans have more "stuff" than we could use in a lifetime.

As a former teacher, I can attest that schools would benefit enormously from making Dec. 25 just another day of the week. The long holiday interruption, coming on the heels of Thanksgiving, makes it hard to maintain continuity in classroom activities. The weeks between Thanksgiving and start of Christmas break are weighed down with so many holiday obligations that scant progress is made with the curriculum.

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