December 20, 2018

Has “Merry Christmas” Passed its Shelf Life?

You’d be under the impression that Christmas has once again been cancelled this year if you believed everything written in the tabloid press! In an age of political correctness; what is the correct way to wish someone a “Merry Christmas”?

Across the pond our American counterparts have re-branded Christmas as the holiday season where “Happy Holidays” appears to be the usual greeting for such festivities. Should the UK follow suit? Or is the “Festive Season” a more neutral term? I’ve discussed this exact subject with my work colleagues and although opinions seem quite strong we all believe something different.

Do you believe?

The general consensus is that you don’t have to be a Christian to celebrate Christmas. However, regardless of your religious or even political views, you cannot escape the commercial onslaught of Christmas. We’re all subjected to it and it seems to start earlier each year! Do you think the season of good will come to an end due to over commercialism?

In the film a “Miracle on 34th Street”, the ability to prove if Santa does or doesn’t exist makes a certain imaginary New York retailer take the subject to court, which strikes an emotional response to all who watches. Isn’t all this commercialism still faintly veiled with the question: do you or don’t you “believe”?

Has Christmas been cancelled?

I’ve discussed the subject with a gaggle of HR consultants with much gusto and based on some of their responses, an emotive discussion entails. Well I don’t believe anyone really wants to cancel Christmas; do they? There is a fear of not wanting to offend anyone who does not celebrate Christmas. Maybe this is because of religious reasons or just personal reasons. Whatever the reason the fact remains that this is the season to celebrate and be jolly.

But does this mean that by neutralising Christmas, we remove the religious connotation? My colleague has an opinion on the statement: “Merry Xmas” – she finds it quite offensive and believes it removes the Christian term from the word Christmas. But by doing this do we actually lose out? Isn’t the meaning of diversity all about inclusion? Why does religion have to dictate who should be included? Does Christmas and the season of goodwill to all men not also include women?  Are we not beyond that yet? I am certain we have all evolved enough to embrace diversity and realise that inclusion is more important that exclusion and political correctness.

So, in conclusion let’s continue to recognise Christmas, Ede, Hanukkah, Diwali, Hogmanay, Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) and all the other festivals. Diversity is best served by recognising and accommodating our cultural differences – not trying to rub them all out.

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About the author

Stephen Johnson

About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.

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