News & Politics

At Some Colleges, Mistletoe Not 'Inclusive' Enough to Be an Approved Christmas Decoration

The nuttiness on college campuses continues to amaze and entertain. And as far as picking a season of the year where nuttiness rules, you can’t beat Christmas (oops! I mean “Holiday”) season.

Tis the season for colleges to issue their annual paeon to jaw dropping idiocy — guidelines for students on how to celebrate the time of year. Set aside the lunacy of telling kids how they can celebrate anything, much less Christmas, for a moment and contemplate the tiny, inoffensive plant that has been part of the celebration of the season going back to before Christianity took hold in Western Europe: mistletoe.

Originally thought to be an aphrodisiac and considered a symbol of virility, mistletoe is now a harmless adjunct to Christmas as it signifies one’s willingness to kiss. Standing under the mistletoe is an invitation for a peck, and this tradition has been celebrated in popular music for many generations.

One of my favorites performed by John Mellencamp:

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night.
She didn’t see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peek
She thought I was tucked
Up in my bedroom fast asleep.

But as the Daily Caller points out, most colleges, including Cornell University, are banning the use of misteltoe.

The guidelines are buried inside a Cornell publication concerning fire safety guidelines for holiday decorations, and were first noticed by the website Campus Reform. The first half of the document concerns certain banned fire hazards, such as candles and metallic Christmas trees.

The second half of the document, though, veers off into a discussion of how to make the Christmas season more “inclusive.”

“University members are reminded to be respectful of the religious diversity of our students and colleagues and are encouraged to use an inclusive approach in celebrating the holiday season,” the document says. Students are encouraged to be more “diverse” by either focusing on winter instead of Christmas or by including decorations for multiple holidays alongside secular decorations.

The university then rattles off a list of decorations that are “NOT consistent” with the school’s “commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.” The discouraged decorations include the following:

-Nativity scenes




-Stars (when placed on top of trees)


-Stars of David

While the religious connotations of nativity scenes or Stars of David is rather obvious, it’s not clear why mistletoe is considered as possibly offensive.

The schools says that holly, Santa Clauses, and wreaths might be acceptable decorations, but only after “dialogue within [a] living unit or area” to ensure nobody is offended.

I’ve always wondered why if, according to the schools, Christmas doesn’t exist, close the campus the week of December 25? Surely there is no greater example of “non-inclusiveness” than closing the school for Christmas, but not Eid, or any other religious holiday. If they want to call it “winter break,” why not close the school the first week in December so the kids can be back in classes in time to go to school on Christmas Day?

Cornell’s spring break begins March 26 this year — about 2 months, 3 weeks after the term begins. If you were to apply the same time frame to winter break, the holiday should take place around Thanksgiving. Instead, the  schools wait another month so that students and faculty can celebrate a holiday that isn’t officially recognized by the school.

It’s this sort of laughable hypocrisy that makes the effort to bend over backwards in order to avoid anything Christian about Christmas so ridiculous.