Marshfield, 32 miles from Boston, is the ninth most Irish town in the US, according to the US census with 38 percent of Irish ethnicity.
The local school committee in Marshfield has decided to call the late December vacation "Holiday break" instead of Christmas break.
On Monday night a packed Marshfield High School auditorium heard that a major effort to restore “Christ to Christmas” is underway.
Board chairwoman Marti Morrison, who changed from Christmas to holiday, said she “loves Christmas,” but “supposedly our whole country is based on religious freedom.”
Morrison said “I certainly appreciate when people feel very strongly about their religious background, but as a School Committee member, my job is to make decisions I believe are in the best interest of our town.”
In a heavily Irish Catholic town, Morrison said “The world around us looks very different than Marshfield. We want our students to be open to differences.”
But opponents are demanding Christmas be brought back.
“There are signs all over town: ‘There’s Still a Christmas,’ ‘Bring Back Christmas.’ There’s some little kids in town picking up on this and wondering if Santa is going to come to their house,” attorney Dennis Scollins, the Marshfield School Committee’s longest-serving member told the Boston Herald.
Over 4,000 signatures were gathered for the effort to replace the word holiday with Christmas.
However, “holiday” supporter Carol Shrand, the board’s vice-chair, disagreed.
“This is really about using inclusive language that reflects the diversity of faiths here in Marshfield. We take an oath to serve all our students and each and every one of them needs to feel welcome, included and represented.”
Elaine Taylor, whose children are now grown, has led the charge.
“I’m getting an overwhelmingly supportive response everywhere I go,” Taylor said. “I’m an American. I love my country. I want to keep the values that my country and the town were founded on.”
But the Boston Herald points out pro Christmas supporters have a tough task. In Boston it’s “Winter Recess” in Plymouth, “Holiday Recess” in Duxbury, “Winter Break” in Worcester, “Holiday Vacation” and in Beverley — the blandest of all — “December Vacation.”
Marshfield’s school calendar has gone back and forth, showing “holiday vacation break” prior to 2007, when Collins said he insisted “Christmas vacation” be restored.