Banned Book Tuesday: Christmas Books

 In Articles, Banned Book Tuesday, Features

Father Christmas smokingAs of today, we have one more week until Christmas!

For many, this week is a week of relaxation, reflection and thankfulness for all that the year has brought. For others, the week is a mad dash to that finish line of December 25th. As for me, my Christmas shopping is done and I now have the time to settle down and read some of my favorite Christmas time books to really get into the holiday mood and out of the hustle and bustle this season can so often bring.

Since we are exactly one more week until Christmas, I thought this Banned Book Tuesday would be a little extra special than usual. Today, I am listing the top 3 most entertaining Christmas poems/books that are or were also banned books.  In all of these cases, the stories/poems are meant for children so, of course, the reasons behind their banning have to do with the harsh censorship that generally follows when the audience is children. Wanna know why they were banned? Are you ready? Okay, here goes:

#1) Clement C. Moore’s Poem A Visit from St. Nicholas also known as Twas the Night before Christmas has been around since 1823.  Most of us know the poem and have heard it a billion times since our childhood, but few of us know the poem in its entirety. There are several other verses that we don’t often read but in the second verse of this poem are the lines: “”The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, / And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath”. Anyone wanna take a guess why this was banned? Yes, recently the poem has been re-released in its entirety although those particular lines have been cut because apparently children need to be censored from the idea of Santa smoking a pipe. Every interview I could find online stated that most people believe that while a smoking St. Nick might not have been so strange in the 19th century, as most people smoked, in the 21st century, after all that we now know about the dangers of cigarettes, it would be wrong to teach children that Santa smokes. In other words, 21st Century Santa is much more aware and wouldn’t smoke, therefore, literature is banned to fit this need.

#2) Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas is a Christmas Children’s Book that has been banned from school libraries because Santa (or Father Christmas) is a grumpy old man who has no Christmas spirit at all. All he does all day is stomp around, cuss, and drink – not exactly appropriate for children. My question is why Santa would be drinking and cussing anyway. I thought Santa drank milk and ate cookies. I’m confused… and certainly not surprised that it is banned from schools.

#3) Gail Rock’s The House without a Christmas Tree is another Children’s book that uses profanity in it, specifically the word “damn”. Once again, it’s a children’s book. It’s not surprising that this would be banned when the audience is obviously going to be children. As you know, I am often against banning books because I believe that adults should have the right to read whatever they want. However, in the case of children, it is up to the parents to read the books first and determine what is appropriate for their child.

I’m not overly surprised that the last 2 have been banned, the first one, however, is a bit of a stretch to me. Nevertheless, this is your Christmas themed Banned Book Tuesday.

 Just a Note: Next Tuesday (12/25) is Christmas Day and the following Tuesday (1/1) is New Years day so for those weeks only, Banned Book Tuesday will be on THURSDAY instead.

I hope you all have a lovely week ahead and take time out of the rush to relax and read a good book.

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