This holiday season has been challenging for me. I’ve been holding myself back from my Scrooge-like tendencies and have been trying to smile my way through the whole thing. It’s not necessarily the holiday season that bothers me, but rather what it tends to bring out in people.
Take Walmart for example. Last year, Walmart made a decision to remove “Merry Christmas” from its lexicon, replacing it with a generic “Happy Holidays”, much to the consternation of several religious groups.
This year, according to Walmart spokeswoman Linda Blakely, Walmart “…”learned a lesson from last year,…”We’re not afraid to use the term ‘Merry Christmas.’ We’ll use it early, and we’ll use it often.”
Well, I for am so glad they learned their lesson. After all, why not bow down to specific religious groups to the incredible exclusion of those potential customers who may not celebrate the holiday?
And what about their employees who don’t necessarily celebrate the holiday? Are they also required to “use it early and use it often?”.
I think that this is a very touchy subject and one that even HR professionals can’t seem to agree upon, which completely catches me off-guard. I’m a big believer of keeping religion out of the workplace so as to (most importantly) mitigate risk to the company. It also calls for hurt feelings and distractions in the workplace.
Of course saying “Merry Christmas” to someone is usually said with the best of intent and should not be the cause celebre for myself or anyone else. (I usually respond “Happy Holidays”). It’s a matter how the subject is approached. I do not believe, however, that it is a secular greeting nor do I believe that the holiday is a secular holiday.
I have heard, once I might add, from an anonymous
jerk HR professional , that “it’s a Christian nation and non-Christian’s should get used to it”. I wonder how effective that person is in treating all employees in a fair and equal manner?
Many retailers focus on Christmas during the holidays, it’s a fact of life. It’s just Walmart’s aggressive stand that makes me wonder about the non-Christian employee who may say something early and often to a customer that is something other than “Merry Christmas”.
Dawn Bryant, a spokeswoman at Best Buy Co, on the other hand, stated that they will “…continue to use the term holiday because there are several holidays throughout that time period, and we certainly need to be respectful of all of themâ€.
I’m with them. I wish you very happy holidays and a wonderful new year.