As IWF’s Carrie Lukas points out on National Review Online this morning “controversy over Christmas has become a December tradition. Whether it’s Christmas trees removed from government buildings, Santa Claus expelled from public schools, or retail employees wishing customers “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” debates rage about whether to celebrate the Christian holiday Christmas or the secular (and politically correct) “Christmas season.”

In the private sector, customers run the show (take the recent customer face-offs with Target and Walmart for example):

“Who is right when it comes to the appropriateness of public Christmas displays? To an extent, it doesn’t matter. When these decisions are made in the private sphere, there is no need for a one-size-fits-all judgment. And most shoppers don’t pay attention to companies’ Christmas-related policies: They just want the best deals and the least hassles. Yet it’s healthy that individuals have the option of boycotting a specific store. It gives individuals power.”

But what about the public sector?  For Carrie, the key issue is a lack of choice:

“Debates become much more contentious when individuals don’t have this freedom. Consider the public-school system. Not only do school administrators struggle to handle the holidays, they face numerous other issues entangled with religious overtones, from the teaching of evolution and sex education to the content of American-history classes.

“These issues become emotional and often rancorous because individuals have little ability to exercise individual choice. Most children still are assigned a public school based on their zip code. Parents who disagree with policies or practices at that school have limited options: They can move, pay private-school tuition, or teach the student at home themselves. A lucky few in communities across the country can benefit from programs that allow for greater choice within the public-school system. But, in general, most families — particularly low-income families — have few realistic alternatives to the neighborhood public school.”

Read Carrie’s article here.