Small Wisconsin Town Encourages ‘Snow People’ and ‘Inclusive’ Colors Instead of Christmas Decorations

wauwatosa christmas decorations
Jagandrk, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

City leadership in a small town in Wisconsin is taking “nontraditional” to a whole new level.

I’m familiar with unconventional celebrations in my own home. The day after Thanksgiving, our house is transformed for Christmas – we bust out our gold sparkly Christmas tree the kids picked out, disperse our much loved yet mismatched decor throughout the house, and my husband rigs our ridiculous strobe light tree topper.

But this is something entirely different.

Deck these halls

Deputy City Administrator Melissa Weiss of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, sent an email to city personnel with some helpful tips on making their work environments more inclusive, equitable, and inviting for the city population. The email discouraged offices from using red and green decorations for fear of offending someone.

You might think maybe this suggestion is made out of an exaggerated abundance of caution due to the increased pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas demonstrations in the country. After all, the two predominant colors on the Palestinian flag are red and green.

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But of course, you’d be wrong; it’s far more obvious and cliche.

The email states:

“Currently, Christmas decorations are prevalent throughout public counters at City Hall and perhaps other buildings as well. While we understand the significance of this holiday for many, it is important to recognize that not all Wauwatosa employees, residents, or business owners celebrate Christmas.”

Nothing causes more pain to non-Christmas-celebrating Americans than a well-decorated Christmas tree adorned with red and green balls of joy.

New color palette

Luckily, Ms. Weiss had some alternate options for holiday decor for city buildings. Besides, red and green are just two colors on the color wheel, so why focus on just those two?

One of the options was to decorate offices under a “Northern Lights” theme with the idea to:

“draw inspiration from the aurora borealis and incorporate colors like blue, green and purple.”

The Northern Lights aren’t a holiday event; they aren’t even a solely winter event. The Aurora Borealis occurs from around September through April. 

Who is to say blue, green, and purple colors aren’t offensive to someone? Maybe I’m a die-hard Packers fan, and purple reminds me of the Minnesota Vikings.

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Or perhaps I’m Jewish, and I don’t appreciate the city buildings of Wauwatosa culturally appropriating one of the traditional colors of Hannukah? Maybe it would be best not to use any colors this season.

Keep to more washed-out colors like eggshell, taupe, or vanilla. But we wouldn’t want the holidays to appear too white, wouldn’t want to adorn city buildings in metaphorical white privileged neutral decor.

We see you snow people

The most significant service Ms. Weiss’ email has done is bringing to light the adversity faced by the trans snow people community. Another option for holiday decor is a “winter-themed” concept, such as decorating office spaces with snowflakes or “snow people”.

Since the dawn of time when children began rolling balls of snow and stacking them in front of their houses, they’ve only ever represented snowmen: no snowwoman representation and, even more egregious, no snow people.

It’s time to carve out safe spaces for snow people who are just trying to live their most authentic selves. We can’t allow the inherent misogyny of children in this country to melt away the existence of they/them snow people who deserve their time on the front lawn. 

Take your corn cob pipe and black felt top hat and replace them with purple scraggly wigs, and make sure those coal pieces form an indignant self-absorbed expression. Snow people don’t need to be put into some white male-dominated frozen crystalized water-defined box!

Do snowpeople not melt the same as snowmen? Do they not turn grey as the seasons progress and yellow in spots due to furry visitors marking their territory?

Bravo, Wauwatosa, you will go down as true allies of the trans snow people community.

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