OP-ED: Wreath-Thinking Bad Policy

Nick Lieggi, Senior

The holidays. Normally a time for giving. But from now on at PMHS, the holidays won’t involve the selling of wreaths. Some claimed that the wreaths represented a religious meaning, and were, therefore, offensive to those of different faiths. So, now, at parent-teacher conferences, and throughout late November and early December, the familiar sight of the sophomore class selling holiday wreaths outside of the auditorium will no longer be seen.

I commend the sophomore class on their quick thinking, after they managed to turn the potential loss of fundraising into a coffee sale, ensuring they’ll have access to generally the same funds that grades past have had. As for the question of whether or not the ending of a wreath sale was a good thing for the school, the answer is a resounding no.

First, it’s important to look to the fact that wreaths, while believed widely by many to be a Christian tradition around Advent and Christmas, are actually non denominational and were not originally developed for religious reasons. ProFlowers, an organization which discusses and analyzes flowers, their meanings, and uses, notes that while common belief does tend to argue that wreaths originated with Christians, their origins actually came from earlier. Beginning with the Greeks and Romans, the people would hand-make these ring shaped objects and use them as a way to identify one’s rank, occupation, achievements, and status in society. Even the word wreath is actually derived from the Greek word diadema, which means “a thing bound around.”

Even prior to this use of wreaths, there is evidence to suggest that the Ancient Etruscans used them as well, again as a power and status symbol rather than a symbol of religion. Clearly, the argument that wreaths are Christian, and therefore are not fit to be sold by the student body on school grounds, is not only fundamentally untrue, but also perpetuating such a narrative pushing blatant inaccuracies and an unconscionably incorrect version of history.

Those favoring the wreath ban also argue that, even ignoring the debate over the meaning of the wreaths, the actual practicality of the wreaths themselves call into question the efficacy of the sale. Points raised against wreaths include issues with delivery, messiness when selling, and a lack of a steady supply. The fundamental flaws with these arguments are twofold. First, thinking logically, the issues which might occur with a wreath sale are identical to that which might occur fundraising in a different manner or selling different products. Whether or not it’s wreaths, these issues are going to occur. Second, in spite of these issues, we’ve always found a way to make the wreaths work before. We’ve used our minds to, hard as though it may seem, come up with solutions and better options when faced with these problems. Sure, we might see delivery issues, a mess, and supply chain issues, but we’d see that with any other sale too, and we’re capable of figuring out a solution.

I’m a big believer in the spirit of giving around the holidays. So this holiday season, let’s give the annual holiday wreath sale a second chance.