Hello my fellow intersectional fems!! For my last post on ShoutOut I am going to talk about an event that happens yearly on James Madison University’s campus, Operation Santa Claus. This event is put on by a whole committee of Student Ambassadors. This year the event raised money to go towards the local Harrisonburg nonprofit, Mercy House.
featured image and above image via OSC facebook page
This year’s theme was “How The Grinch Stole Wilson.” The event took a twist on the bedtime story, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. In-between performances they have skits that followed the plot of the story. The night is filled with warm and light hearted skits that kept the audience laughing and intrigued from the start. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE this event, I have been going for the past couple of years and it is the perfect finals study break, however, this year I realized some upsetting things about Operation Santa Claus.
- The event is put on to raise money for a nonprofit of their choosing. Yet I barely even heard what Mercy House was about? Yes I know its great nonprofit that college kids can go get their community service hours filled, but what else? What is my money going to? Coming from having some experience with fundraising, if they would have explained the cause more, where our money might be going to, it would have been much more successful fundraising event.Via giphy
- Where is the diversity? Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE acapella, Mosaic dance team, and improv. But where’s the other cultural groups? Sure there was a belly dancing team, but there should be more! Where was the step performance from the multicultural fraternity life that they had last year? An widening of their horizons would have helped to draw more of a diverse crowd in, not just sorority girls that came for the first half just to get points for their organization.
- Not only where their performers this year were not as diverse as last year, but their skit was also lacking religion inclusivity. Now I know that the Grinch that Stole Christmas is traditionally not explicitly supporting a religion. But it was very obvious that christmas was the main focus of the event. I am privileged enough to be in the majority who celebrate Christmas, but what about the other individuals who celebrate Hanukkah? Or Kwanzaa? This should be something to consider for next year’s Operation Santa Claus.via giphy
The event and everyone involved had their heart in the right place getting into the season of helping others, yet, I encourage them in the future to recognize their privilege in society and use this to widen horizons and encourage diversity!
I had the privilege of celebrating Hanukkah for the first time last week and this is a cultural experience I will cherish forever. As I leave you all I ask that once again you check yourself, open up to new experiences, support those who are different then you, and as always, fight for those who can not fight for themselves.
4 thoughts on “Operation Santa Claus, Part 19”
I really enjoyed this article! In my WGSS class this semester, we discussed intersectionality and identities that make people privileged/oppressed and I think this article really put things into perspective. I think that it very important for everyone to be aware of their identities and which “lenses” they are using to perceive the world.
Thank you for your critical look at the How the Grinch Stole Christmas JMU event! I agree, this event was not promoted very well as it only catered to certain groups in the JMU community to which I was not a part of. I think you pose a really good idea of moving past the notion that everyone celebrates Christmas and make the space inclusive to all religions and communities that are on campus. Hopefully the organizers of the event read this post and make the necessary changes. But anyways, thank you for your insight and it is always a joy to read your posts!
This post shed light on a event that although I’ve never attended, I’ve heard a lot about. Thank you so much for sharing your opinion with us because I’m honestly seeing the way events are presented on campus in a different way now!!
I thought this post was so helpful! It can be hard during the holidays to remember that there are other things being celebrated to varying degrees. All of my friends and family celebrate Christmas, and it seems that everywhere you go at this time of year there’s some Christmas-y theme. However, this year I met a really good friend here at JMU whose family celebrates Hanukkah! It’s been so interesting to learn about how they celebrate and it’s really made me think about the fact that there needs to be more inclusivity, well, everywhere! I thought you also made a good point about the nonprofit organization that the money went towards. They definitely need to provide more information when it comes to advertising the event.