T’is The Season

Dec 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Career advice, Christmas Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas

The Christmas holidays are fast approaching, and already many offices are swinging into a holiday mood. Well almost everyone.

The workplace demographics are changing, and those who celebrate Christmas are declining in number. While everyone likes a holiday, not everyone enjoy observing someone else’s holiday.

“Political Correctness” the new buzzword governing so much of today’s workplace speech and behavior is changing some of the traditions related to Christmas. Instead of “Merry Christmas “ the new phase “Happy Holidays” is quickly gaining ground. However, this supposedly more benign greeting seems to be taken as an assault on Christmas and Christmas traditions. Like most changes in social mores and behavior it takes some getting used.

Before the 19th century, many Americans worked on Christmas, but in the industrial era the holiday began also to honor universal values, such as home, children and family life, and to incorporate secular customs like exchanging gifts and cards, and the decoration and display of evergreen “Christmas Trees.” Congress proclaimed Christmas a federal holiday in 1870. In 1999, a federal court acknowledged these secular aspects in rejecting a claim that the holiday impermissibly endorsed and furthered a particular religious belief. (http://www.habeeb.com/USA.Holidays.html) So in reality it was the commercialism that saved Christmas as a national holiday. No doubt there will be more challenges to Christmas as a national holiday in coming years. The religious aspects of Christmas, especially the Nativity Scene are loosing ground.

While there is a lot of controversy regarding the change in traditions, it should not affect your professional career. Observing political correctness in the workplace is almost a necessity in the current social climate. Although it seems like you are giving up something when you say Happy Holidays, you are actually expanding your greeting to encompass all of your coworkers.

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