California City Removes Christmas

The Encinitas, California City Council voted 3-2 Wednesday to strip the name Christmas from its December parade.

After spending two years as the “Encinitas Christmas Parade,” the Dec. 1 event will return to the name it had used since the city began producing the event in 1993: The Encinitas Holiday Parade.

In 2005, then-Mayor Dan Dalager unilaterally switched the name.

Dalager and Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks voted against Encinitas Holiday Parade as the name for an event that attracts nearly 100 entries and thousands of spectators.

Dalager said his choice of names wasn’t about religion.

“I’m not much of a churchgoer,” he said. “If this was a religious thing, I’d be the first one against it. I see this, the use of that (Christmas) name, I see it as being as religious as the name of the federal holiday.”

He said his choice of names would be the Santa Claus Parade, or the St. Nick Parade, “which I think is a little more representative of the season.”

Stocks said he favored the name Encinitas Parade.

“This has turned into Christmas versus holiday, the left versus the right — it shouldn’t be that way,” Stocks said. “I think that we should take that under consideration and have an Encinitas Parade.”

Two speakers seemed to personify how the issue has split the community.

Joan Richman told the council she was a grandmother who wanted to keep traditions of Christmas going.

“We’re losing our special holidays,” she said, noting that she visited a Home Depot store where Christmas trees were not called by that name. “Keep the traditional Christmas parade as it is. To water it down to the generic term of Holiday Parade is very depressing. I don’t understand why a few disgruntled people are so offended by the word Christmas.”

Resident Al Rodbell told Richman that he appreciated her comments. He went on to say that he is Jewish and that Irving Berlin — “he was one of my tribe” — penned the classic White Christmas.

“We enjoy Christmas carols, we enjoy the whole experience, I agree with you, it would be a great loss if the variety of what Christmas has come to mean in this country were eliminated.

“I think in this case, having a name that’s more neutral, this is a case where it’s appropriate and it makes for a better world.”

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