Merry Freaking Christmas

merry freaking christmasI’m pretty good friends with Steve at HR Gumbo. We talked about this a good bit before we both posted. You might like to read his post on regulating holidays to make sure you get the “whole” story.

I’m definitely one of those people who gets angry when their company tells them how they can and cannot celebrate the approaching holiday. My last job was like that. My current one isn’t. I work in a radically different culture from a public institution. I’m in the far extreme side of the spectrum. The nonprofit organization that I work for is technically classified as a church, if that gives you any indication. But if someone brought in something representing another holiday, I can’t see us bashing their head in for it.

Christmas decorations rant

Yes, I used the C word. One of my friends recently forwarded a holiday decoration policy for his company that made me want to punch something. I celebrate Christmas along with most of the known world. It is a time for happiness, good cheer, and helping your fellow man. If you aren’t up to that challenge, go jump off a bridge (the 5-1/2 minute mark). I’m not throwing out my fun and happiness because you don’t want to celebrate. If I walk up to you and point blank wish you a “merry Christmas,” please don’t freak out. I’m trying to include you in this time of good cheer and friendship. It’s really no different from wishing you a good morning when it comes down to it. I could always just say “up yours,” but that doesn’t have the same ring to it, you know?

To answer Steve’s question, my organization is relaxed enough to let me have a 3-foot tree with garish, blinking lights. You better believe that sucker lights up my half of the building from 7am until 4pm. But like I mentioned earlier, it’s about the culture, really. And if we have anything, it’s oodles of culture.

What about you? Am I off my rocker, or is this something that annoys the crap out of you, too?

Photo by aussiegall.

11 thoughts on “Merry Freaking Christmas

  1. shennee

    Ben- You hit the nail on the head! I don’t know exactly when Wishing people a Merry Christmas became so taboo! Our culture is so diverse today. Diversity is the spice of life, but nothing get’s my goat more than when I shop at the mall, and merchants wish you everything BUT.. A Merry Christmas.
    Just sayin! And to you and Melanie- I am wishing you both a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
    There I said my peace.

  2. Bonita

    I recently said Merry Christmas to a friend and former coworker who I KNOW is Jewish, but just didn’t think about it. He said Merry Christmas and gave me a hug. I really doubt think that I offended him and apprecaited his warm response. I would feel the same way if he had said Happy Hannukah to me. Merry Christmas, Ben!

    1. Ben Post author

      It’s great to feel that kinship, Bonita, and it’s even better when it’s unexpected. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. Lindsay


    Celebrate away! I am Jewish, in fact a fairly observant Jew, and I got lots of Happy Hanukkah wishes last week. Loved that.

    But this week, my desk is awash in Christmas gifts from coworkers …Christmas cookies, candy in red and green tins, even a beautiful little glass ornament. I brought in candy canes and green wrapped Hershey’s Kisses (the yummy mint kind) and have both in glass jars on my desk, too.

    There are Santas on the walls in the hallway, and strings of blue lights in my office. And it ALL works! So wish me Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, A joyous Eid or Happy Hanukkah…so long as you mean it in friendship and sharing, I am thrilled. :)
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..New Year, New Training Goals, Part Deux =-.

    1. Ben Post author

      Well, then in that case I wish you a Happy Hanukkah, Lindsay. We can agree that a happy new year applies to everyone, right? ;-)

  4. HR Barbie

    I have never celebrated Christmas, (tmi) it started off originally as a religious thing, then as I grew older it became an economic thing.

    With that said, if you or anyone else wishes me Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc. I ALWAYS reciprocate. You are right most people celebrate Christmas and majority rules. As for decorations, the girls in the office have decorated beautifully, I might add. My desk is also festooned with lights, poinsettias and felt snow. A veritable Winter Wonderland.

    As for our company, each department can do its own thing, but there is not a company sanctioned party. I don’t think it is because we are being PC, I believe it is because we are very frugal.

  5. Jason Seiden

    Personally, I love when anyone wishes me good cheer. I’m normally a semantics stickler (they matter!), but if you’re wishing me well, then however it comes out is OK with me.

    That said, not everyone has such a benevolent intention when using religious semantics. And while I personally can do the mental translation from “Merry Xmas” to “Happy Hannukah,” I’m aware that most of the world practices a religion that has been hijacked by a radical few, that there are countries whose leaders use subtle linguistic tricks to direct peoples’ attention and keep them in line, and that our media here does the same thing.

    So if I had to make a law for all humanity, I’d cut out the religious elements. I’d feel like an ass doing it, and I’d miss the well wishes as much as anyone—but I simply don’t trust that when it comes to their religion, that *most* people mean it as respectfully as you do.

    Too much blood under that bridge, you know?

    In short: I’m glad I’m not the one making the rules… it gives me the freedom to wish you a Merry Christmas and not worry about it!
    .-= Jason Seiden´s last blog ..Dealing with a sense of entitlement =-.

    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Jason. I’m a big fan. :-) The world is definitely more complicated with things like religion in it, but I don’t know that a world could exist w/o some kind. People have an innate desire to believe in and be a part of something. And if I get to wish you a wonderful new year, then that’s icing on the cake. Have a good one!

  6. laurie ruettimann

    I want to weigh in because I was raised Catholic, I have Jewish family members, I am related to others who are born-again and believe in a literal interpretation of the bible. I am now an atheist. I studied comparative religious theology and worked as a research assistant for a Religious Studies professor.

    The Christmas debate is boring.

    People look for reasons to get bent out of shape, and Christmas is no exception. If you’re a jerk, you’re a jerk. The holiday season serves as a construct for your jerky behavior.

    So let me make a few more things clear.

    * There is no war on Christmas. People need to chill out.
    * Christians are not trying to oppress Wiccans, atheists, or Jews with the Christmas holiday. If someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, chill out.

    I roll my eyes at this debate every year. Wish me a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or a Happy Festivus. I don’t care. Just don’t be a jerk about the superiority of your beliefs.
    .-= laurie ruettimann´s last blog ..Unemployment, Politics, & Christmas =-.

  7. Joan Ginsberg

    I was raised Catholic but am now an atheist like my husband, who was raised Jewish. Our immediate family (meaning our kids and grandkids – we don’t give a crap about anyone else because we have enough to worry about with just them) practices several different religions. And I am sure that my step-daughter and step-son (brother and sister) are going to get into a tiff with each other on Friday over Santa. My son is going to egg on my daughter and her kids about not believing in Santa and practicing Judaism, while my daughter is just going to ask for a little understanding about why she doesn’t want presents wrapped with Jesus (she is OK with secular stuff). I wish they would both just shut up and eat more of the great food I cook for all of them. As Laurie said, “don’t be a jerk about the superiority of your beliefs.” Even if your beliefs are the majority.

    In my last job, which had a predominately Jewish office but a totally Christian production floor, we had a Christmas tree in the office and we did whatever we wanted, holiday-wise. Except we did not get any days off except Christmas day itself. Bummer.
    .-= Joan Ginsberg´s last blog ..HRevolution – The Future of HR =-.

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