My company throws a huge all-employee party every December. Until recently, everyone called it the Christmas Party. Two years ago, the name was changed officially to Holiday Party. For two years (around the time of the party), several employees have complained loud, long and frequently about the name change. They said it minimizes the true meaning of Christmas and insults their religion. It is time for our holiday party planning meetings to begin next month. I am in charge of them and am dreading a continuation of the whining. Do you have any advice for how I can put this issue to rest once and for all?
Dear Scrooge-ish –
Sure. Cancel the party and send whatever you would have spent on it to folks with no heat on the eat coast. I bet they won’t quibble about word choice. Or just move the annual party from December to February. Problem solved.
-– Evil Skippy
As much as I love and support charitable donations, cancelling the party altogether would just result in more whining for you. It also punishes those employees who are sane and don’t go out of their ways to feel slighted.
Holding the annual party in a different month is a great idea unless there is some time-specific business reason for having it in December. I would certainly prefer big business parties to be in some month other than December. I am so busy with other activities around the holidays that postponing the workplace one would be a relief. February and March are kind of slow – having a big party then instead of December would be a welcome treat.
I understand that tradition and other factors may compel that the party stay in December. Like yours, many employers have started referring to these events as “Holiday Parties” rather than “Christmas Parties” and usually a segment of the employee population is upset about the name-change. Accusations of political correctness and anti-Christianity abound. This is sad. We are talking about a social event, not philosophy or spiritual activity. Who cares what we call it so long as there are lots of refreshments and good music?
Complaints about the name change will dwindle with time. They always do. If someone raises a serious complaint, remind him or her that the employer is not hosting a religious event so there is no compelling reason to call it a Christmas Party unless you are holding it on December 25th — which I bet you are not. It is just a party and no insult was meant to anyone. Offer him or her an egg nog and find someone else to talk to.