The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

94° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: ‘Rudolph’ is perfect carol for modern holiday season

    For the past two millennia, Jesus Christ of Nazareth has been hailed as the true hero of Christmas — since, well, it is a holiday based on his biblical birth. But after 2,014 years, Christmas might need some updating. It’s time for a new hero, one that celebrates the diversity and giving spirit that encapsulates a modern Christmas that is more than simply about Christians. His name is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

    Just look at the Christmas carols that are hurled at innocent bystanders every day for two months through car radios and stores’ overhead speakers. Some of the most common Christmas carols, songs like “Silent Night,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” or “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” are all religious in nature for a holiday that, while originally Christian, has a far wider reach than just members of that faith. Christmas is celebrated by people of all different religions in the U.S. and abroad and by people of no faith at all. It’s celebrated in schools by young students, many of whom don’t understand the religion behind the holiday, and by public officials in government buildings.

    This is not a call to declare war on Christmas so much as a suggestion that we peacefully occupy it. Instead of demanding that schools and officials honor and adhere to all other faiths, too, it’s better to embrace the more secular Christmas carols and values out there ­­— and before anyone says that secular simply means Beelzebub-worshipping atheists, secular actually means not pertaining to any one religion. It’s the type of stuff most people spend the majority of their lives doing.

    There’s “Jingle Bells,” certainly, and a myriad of other sleigh-based songs, but they have little to offer in real meaning. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is similarly sanitized and carries none of the messages of gratitude and goodwill to humanity.

    But Rudolph is the perfect mascot for secular, all-embracing Christmas carols that can promote the same kind of love that Jesus did without being all about him. Because really: Why does everything have to be about him?

    Like most great stories of the modern day, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is about the underdog — or rather, the underdeer. All the other reindeer laugh and call him names, and they definitely didn’t let him in on the reindeer games. He’s mocked for his so-called deformity — someone slap the North Pole with a lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act, please — but it’s his difference that ends up saving the day, when Santa Claus lets Rudolph guide his sleigh that fateful Christmas night. His story is one of triumph and the acceptance of our individuality, and that’s what makes us unique and fruitful members of society.

    Rudolph is a reminder for all people to accept those who are underprivileged, to help and to give instead of judging and mocking. It’s a song about how everyone has value, regardless of what they might seem to be on the outside. It’s a song about loving your brothers and sisters as yourself without inserting Jesus into that missive.  

    If people still want to sing religious Christmas carols, that’s fine. If private institutions want to keep playing religious songs throughout December, that’s totally their prerogative. But when I’m at McDonald’s, Target or Fry’s, I’d rather be reminded of the most universal of Christmas’ values:  to love, to be inclusive, to embrace each other as brothers, sisters and reindeer-folk. I’d like to be reminded of the tale of Rudolph this Christmas, the reindeer who, despite having an awkwardly red nose, was just as important as any other reindeer out there.


    Ashwin Mehra is a physiology senior. Follow him on Twitter. Mia Moran is a senior studying English and creative writing. Follow her on Twitter.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search