In prep for lesson planning for the next few weeks, I ran across an article, Problems with Christmas Curriculum. Worth a read in the context of this thread.
Note that the article was written in the mid-eighties, but I don’t know that practices have changed that much in the US since then.
I still see a pretty strong mixture of religious, commercial, and cultural traditions. Our town held its official Christmas parade last weekend, and the public high school’s marching band played “Joy To the World” in the parade, and Wells Fargo brought their Sleigh-and-Horses float through, as did the local credit union, and churches participated with children dressed as they’d dress in a nativity play.
I don’t know what the rules are for the marching band: are they required to participate in the event? Do (for example) Jewish kids who opt out get ostracized?
All I know is that as a teacher I don’t feel at all comfortable including religious pieces in my classroom practice, and about as close as I feel comfortable getting to Christmas celebrations in the classroom is teaching kids to make 3D snowflakes out of paper, which IMO is far enough removed from Christmas as to be acceptable, in a way that Elf on a Shelf isn’t.