Dear Evil Skippy:
What is your advice for employers who want to put up holiday decorations, but don’t want to generate employee complaints about (a) too much or (b) not enough religion? Last year, the “happy holidays” display resulted in a few complaints that we were ignoring Christmas and the year before we had complaints that “Merry Christmas” was “too Christian”. What can we do to prevent these complaints but still have fun during festive times?
Stop hiring nitwits and try hiring actual grown ups.
— Evil Skippy
And a “Ho ho ho” to you.
In my opinion, a “happy holidays” approach is great for workplaces. It covers all the season’s bases and focuses on the non-denominational aspects of the various ways us human beings celebrate. I have never thought of “happy holidays” as a way of excluding Christmas or any other day. At the same time, saying “Merry Christmas” at work is perfectly fine – it is a holiday greeting, not an attempt to proselytize or start a spontaneous worship service.
The key for WORKPLACES is to avoid ramming religion (or anti-religion) down anyone’s theoretical throat. That means don’t try to make anyone pray and don’t say things such as “Let’s celebrate the blessed birth of our Lord and Savior” — while you are at work or at work events. (Just to be clear – you can go ahead and say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or other similarly general holiday sentiment). This is not a workplace war on Christmas or Hannukkah. It is a way to be respectful where other people may not (and probably do not) share your precise religious/non-religious beliefs.
Readers – what would you advise today’s manager?
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