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Political correctness in holiday greetings.

  1. Dec 14, 2009 #1
    Hi! now that its the "winter holiday," I was curious to know what people thought about saying "Merry Christmas" verses "Happy Holidays," and whether being PC regarding holiday greetings is important and/or necessary.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2009 #2

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    I'm fine with other people not saying Merry Christmas.

    But if someone tries to tell me not to say Merry Christmas, they're getting a Merry Christmas on the bridge of their nose!

    First Amendment rights for all.
  4. Dec 15, 2009 #3
    Old humor recycled from the Wonderful Wacky Web:

    Politically Correct Holiday Greeting:

    Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an
    environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender
    neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable
    traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your
    choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others,
    or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all and a fiscally
    successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset
    of the generally accepted calendar year 2000, but not without due respect for the
    calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make
    America great (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country
    or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the
    race, creed, color, age, physical disability, religious faith, choice of computer platform,
    or sexual preference of the wishee.

    Legal Disclaimer: By accepting this agreement, you are accepting these terms.

    This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no
    alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually
    implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by
    law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

    This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good
    tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting,
    whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance
    of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.


    (Name withheld for legal, social and cultural considerations.)
  5. Dec 15, 2009 #4


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    PF Office Party

    Physics Forum Memo
    FROM: Patty Lewis, Social Director
    TO: All PF Subscribers
    DATE: December 1, 2009
    RE: Gala Christmas Party

    I'm happy to inform you that the Physics Forum Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our website's creator shows up dressed as a wookie! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 PM. Exchanges of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets. This gathering is only for paying contributors!
    Our website's creator will make a special announcement at that time!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family,

    Physics Forum Memo
    FROM: Patty Lewis, Social Director
    TO: All PF Members
    DATE: December 2, 2009
    RE: Gala Holiday Party

    In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish members. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on, we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to any other members who are not Christians and to those still celebrating Reconciliation Day. There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols will be sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.

    Happy now?

    Happy Holidays to you and your family,

    Physics Forum Memo
    FROM: Patty Lewis, Social Director

    TO: All Members
    DATE: December 3, 2009
    RE: Holiday Party

    Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only", you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this? Somebody?

    And sorry, but forget about the gift exchange, no gifts are allowed since the student members feel that $10.00 is too much money and our professional members believe $10.00 is a little chintzy.


    Physics Forum Memo
    FROM: Patty Lewis, Social Director
    To: All Members
    DATE: December 4, 2009
    RE: Generic Holiday Party

    What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20th begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party or else package everything for you to take it home in little foil doggy baggy. Will that work?

    Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet, and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms.
    Gays are allowed to sit with each other.

    Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men; each group will have their own table.
    Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men's table.

    To the person asking permission to cross dress, the Grill House asks that no cross-dressing be allowed, apparently because of concerns about confusion in the restrooms. Sorry.

    We will have booster seats for short people. Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet.

    I am sorry to report that we cannot control the amount of salt used in the food. The Grill House suggests that people with high blood pressure taste a bite first. There will be fresh "low sugar" fruits as dessert for diabetics, but the restaurant cannot supply "no sugar" desserts. Sorry!

    Did I miss anything?!?!?

    Physics Forum Memo
    FROM: Patty Lewis, Social Director
    TO: All F*%^ing Members
    DATE: December 5, 2009
    RE: The F*%^ing Holiday Party

    I've had it with you vegetarian pricks!!! We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your f*%^ing salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right NOW!

    The rest of you f*%^ing wierdos can kiss my *ss. I hope you all have a rotten holiday!

    Drive drunk and die,

    The B*tch from H*ll!!!

    Physics Forum Memo
    FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Social Director
    DATE: December 6, 2009
    RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party

    I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery and I'll continue to forward your cards to her.

    In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

    Happy Holidays!
  6. Dec 15, 2009 #5
    I'm not religious and I don't mind at all if people say Merry or Happy Christmas. In fact I say Merry Christmas myself.
  7. Dec 15, 2009 #6
    I don't understand why, at a time when there are several religious holidays going on, someone would make the presumptuous statement of "merry christmas" versus "happy holidays". When you say "merry christmas" you have to make an assumption about someone.

    In the same way that you ask "How was you're evening?" versus "How was selling yourself on the street last night?". To ask the latter you'd have to make a pretty big assumption about someone, namely that they are a prostitute.

    Therefore, I've decided that any time someone wishes me a merry christmas I will in turn wish them luck with their latest STD. Or I'll shrug it off and think that they were being polite and wish them a merry christmas in return.
  8. Dec 15, 2009 #7
    Whatever. Christmas is a cultural holiday anyway, so I don't care if anyone says "merry Christmas" or anything else.
  9. Dec 15, 2009 #8

    I am going to be greeting folks with:

    "Merry American Christmas to you and your American Family! Thank Baby Jesus that we were all born here in the U.S. of A. and are free to celebrate Christmas, the best G*d-damn holiday on Earth, right here in the best G*d-damn country on Earth."
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  10. Dec 15, 2009 #9


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    There is nothing about saying "Merry Christmas" that presumes anything about the person you are saying it to.

    If you are organizing events for secular institutions though, you should keep it to "happy holidays".

    That email about political correctness gone awry is funny, but it's kind of sad how every argument conservatives have makes it seem that if you give an inch to be more generic and inclusive that it's going to be a slippery slope into a homogeneous "Brave New World".
  11. Dec 15, 2009 #10


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    In case someone wonders - I did what I did a week ago. I know this comment looks stupid, but those that should understand will understand when time will come.
  12. Dec 15, 2009 #11


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    I live in a Christian country, and the title of the main bank holiday during the period is "christmas day" hence I say "merry/happy christmas".
  13. Dec 15, 2009 #12
    I am not religious at all and I do not mind if people say merry christmas. Actually it makes me feel good for some reason and I say it back to them. If other people want to tell me to have a good time during their religious events/holidays then they can do that too. I talk to other people about their culturally observed holidays/events all the time. They even tell me the equivalent of 'merry christmas' to theirs, even in their own language. So I say it to them and they can say it back if they like...

    I think an important thing about living in a multi-cultural society is that we accept everyone elses culture. Not push and push that it be changed to accomodate the fact that it's not their culture. If you don't like it, go to a country which only practices whatever it is you practice. Good luck finding a country as great though.
  14. Dec 15, 2009 #13


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    Aaaauuugh!!!! Some of us are going to die, aren't we!? :eek:
  15. Dec 15, 2009 #14


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    Sooner or later we are all going to die. I am not aware of any circumstances that should speed it up for anyone involved.
  16. Dec 15, 2009 #15


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    So we're all going to die slow, painful deaths!? :surprised

    You must be a Republican. Their health care plan is for us to die sooner - but at least it might be a slow and painful death (maybe - as usual, that detail was left out of the plan).

    The Democrat health plan is for us to die quickly - but possibly a long time from now (maybe - as usual, that detail was left out of the plan).

    All of us will die, regardless of which health plan we adopt.
  17. Dec 15, 2009 #16


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    Don't you know? That's what medicine advance is for.
  18. Dec 15, 2009 #17

    I completely agree. When I tell someone Merry Christmas I am not assuming anything about them. I am saying it to be friendly and maybe cheer someone up. I do not think it is relevant whether or not they recognize Christmas or not. I am simply wishing their Christmas season is a good one. If they don't recognize Christmas they still know what I mean, and they can interpret it as me spreading holiday cheer. In my opinion, if the person I say Merry Christmas to gets offended because they do not celebrate Christmas than it is their problem, they shouldn't be so uptight.
  19. Dec 17, 2009 #18
    i agree with tymyer2107. and on the whole, more people celebrate christmas than any other holiday, so i'll go with that one. you cant please them all, so i'll settle with most.
  20. Dec 17, 2009 #19
    It's kind of amusing, for a little while there the PC Christmas/Happy Holidays thing had a good bit of momentum, and now it seems that everyone (for the most part) has gone back to a healthy indifference one way or another.

    Merry Christmas everyone :smile:

    Now to build up a little more energy for a good rant about repetitive Christmas music.
  21. Dec 17, 2009 #20
    When you walk into a successful retail store (not all stores are successful, but some are), every aspect of your experience has been sweated over. They do it for success. You see lots of green and red this time of year and that's not by accident. One year, a long time ago, they put a little bit of blue into the mix and sales that year were down .1% from projections. They never did it again. When you see the words "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays", or "Season's Greetings", do you get the feeling that the same store that vets each and every aspect of the shopping experience, plum forgot to check this one?
  22. Dec 17, 2009 #21


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    If you know someone's religion, by all means, offer them a greeting appropriate to whatever holiday you know they celebrate. If they come into your home specifically to celebrate a particular holiday, by all means, greet them as a celebrant of that holiday with you. If you do not know them well enough to know what holidays they celebrate, you can opt not to give them any holiday greeting, or you can opt to be generic..."happy holidays" works best. "Season's greetings" always sounded weird to me...we don't wish people a Happy Spring or Joyous Summer, so why would Winter be special? Regardless of someone's religion, or lack thereof, they DO celebrate New Year's, so a Happy Holiday is inclusive of even New Year's.

    My department had our annual holiday party last week, on the first night of Hannukah. I think a lot of people appreciated that it wasn't called a Hannukah party, lest they feel left out, though the Jewish faculty in our department who joined us for the party did light the first Hannukah candle at the party that evening. We wished them a Happy Hannukah, they wished us a Merry Christmas, and then we all got back to what department holiday parties are really all about...standing in line at the open bar!
  23. Dec 17, 2009 #22


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    THAT's the holiday spirit(s)! In my extended families, the holidays were all about visiting, catching up with people that we hadn't seen for a while, and sharing food and drink. People from the area used to show up at our house on Christmas Eve just because they knew that it was THE place to be. My father was a sheet-metal fabricator in a local mill and didn't make a lot of money, but my mother would cook and stockpile food for months in preparation for Christmas. She was a wizard at figuring out how to make tourtieres (spiced ground meat and potato pies), cinnamon rings, yeast rolls, etc, so that they could be frozen in our big chest freezer and then popped into her oven as groups showed up, and come out tasting fresh-made.

    I was brought up Catholic, but was never happy with organized religion, even at a young age. Nobody ever got their shorts in a knot, though, if an elderly great-aunt showed up shouting Joyeux Noel and wanting to smack all the kids with kisses, if people burst through the front door hollering Merry Christmas, or if people preferred the more inclusive Happy Holidays. We had few Jewish folks in our area, but they were welcome, too. Many Protestants made it a point to stay up on Christmas Eve to attend our church's Midnight Mass. There was lots of pageantry, choral music with organ and other instruments accompanying, and a pretty festive atmosphere. The more progressive priests (we got one, eventually) encouraged the richness of such masses because they got lots of donations from non-congregants and didn't have to spend a dime because the organist, choir director and choir members all practiced and performed for free. Party-time!
  24. Dec 17, 2009 #23
    I'll probably be punished for this but here goes anyway.

    In America, the holiday of Christmas has been hijacked for commercial use. On half the churches in the area there is a sign outside that says "Keep Christ in Christmas". I wish them well, but they are fighting a losing battle. The nation celebrates the birth of Santa Claus. It turns the message of Easter on its head with its "naughty or nice". He died for sinners, but he was born for good little boys and girls? How old were you when you stopped believing in that. As for Hanukkah, this minor holiday on the Jewish calendar has been turned into Clausmas for Jews. The actual holiday celebrates a military victory that brought into power the worst dynasty the Jewish people ever suffered under. It's not a winter solstice thing either. The holiday is old, but it's not that old. Islamic practices don't get much press around here and their holidays float through the solar year so I don't know what influence Christmas could have on them. I would like to hear from someone who can tell us what effect Christmas has had on their holiday celebrations here in America.

    Those people who get into high dudgeon over which words we use at this time of year to wish each other cheer deserve to be the sour pusses that they are. I wish you good cheer all the time. Not just this month when it's cold and cheer sounds like alcohol. I hope someone forgives you for your sins. I hope you don't live under a regime like the Hasmonians. I hope you light the candle of self-determination whether you light actual candles or not. Happy holidays and non-holidays. Four seasons' greetings.
  25. Dec 17, 2009 #24


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    I don't care what anyone calls it. I'm not religious but I say Merry Christmas. I celebrate Santa, flying reindeer, Rudolf, elves, twinkling lights and sparkly decorations.
  26. Dec 17, 2009 #25


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    Thumbs-up! I can cheerfully respond to a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, any time when it's appropriate. I sometimes bridle at the "you have a good day" :smile: being wielded by some cashiers as if it's an automatic and appropriate demand. I stopped in to buy something. What concern is it if yours if I have a good day? This happens less and less, since I rarely go to retail stores of any kind due to medical reactions to fragrance chemicals, but that mindless exchange has been going on for at least a decade. I generally buy stuff on-line these days, and at least I am spared the vacuous greetings when I check out. Apparently the web-site designers just don't have the "spirit"....
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