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Merry, Happy Politically Correct Holiday Season

With the December Holidays approaching people begin thinking about the right way (if any) to greet each other and share their holiday (or lack of) spirit.

Let me begin by apologizing because I know someone is going to be offended by this article.  Now that I have that out of the way, when did we become anti “other people’s” holidays?  It seems to me that instead of embracing our differences and celebrating we are taking everything away or turning it into something ridiculous in the name of trying to be all inclusive. 

For example, when did a Christmas tree become a Holiday tree?  Trying not to offend people has become a huge issue in public schools, towns and workplaces.  Are we getting carried away here? 

Jeff Goodwin, co-owner of catering company, Wm. Nicholas & Co. in Katonah (www.wmnicholas.com) recently shared with me an incident that happened to him.  One year Easter and Passover fell on the same weekend. Thinking he was doing something “green” he printed the Easter menu on one side of a page and the Passover menu on the other. One of his customers made it a point of telling him she was highly insulted. She said, “That holiday has nothing to do with my holiday.” Come on, can’t we all just get along? 

Nonetheless, we must be cognizant of the fact that there is sensitivity around this issue and thus conduct ourselves accordingly especially in the business environment.

I consulted corporate etiquette expert Laura Katen, President of Katen Consulting, (www.katenconsulting.com) to get out some general guidelines for business holiday conduct.  Below are some of Katen’s essential tips when it comes to the topic of being PC in the workplace:

1) Be aware of a colleague's spiritual affiliation or level of religiousness - never just assume.

2) Don't emphasize one holiday over another (decorations, food, etc around the office should be general not specific to one holiday).

3) Always err on the side of generality if you want to make conversation but are afraid to offend. Say "happy holidays" as opposed to wishing him/her a specific holiday.

4) In life, but especially in business, it takes 7 seconds or less to make a first impression. It takes 8 positive encounters with the same person to reverse a negative impression. It is very easy to make a negative impression during the holidays, especially when alcohol is free flowing at celebrations. Limit alcohol consumption and remember you are not there for the free food and booze; you're there to be seen, meet, and mingle and represent yourself/your clients/ your company).

What happens if you wish someone Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and you realize the person is an atheist?  Katen says, “Just let it go. No need to apologize or draw attention to it, after all your intentions were heartfelt.”

If you and your family will be celebrating a holiday this coming month I hope it is joyful. If you are not, I still wish you joy; there is not enough of that going around. 

Issy December 06, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!.. The Va is require families to request a Christian service rather than possibly imposing a Christian service on non-Christian veterans. It is that simple. This is not about banning Christian Services by the VA and is nothing to do with the President, it is just common sense and respect for our 'soldiers'.
Catherine Paull December 07, 2011 at 01:29 AM
The paranoia of some people is mind-boggling! There is no banning of "God" or Christian anything. If a Christian service is requested it is happily given - it's not long imposed without being requested - which is really just common courtesy and respect. Geez, some people really do need to get a grip!!
Jill Gertz December 07, 2011 at 03:52 AM
I judge had to get involved over the burials and other things: "Secularism run amok" Arleen Ocasio seems to be setting herself up for a second rebuke from a federal judge. ..Ocasio has been, since 2009, the director of the Houston National Cemetery, which, at 419 acres, is the second-largest cemetery administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, exceeded in size only by Arlington..Ocasio, the cemetery's Obama-appointed director, has been credibly accused of engaging in a pattern of censorship directed against private religious expression. The chapel has allegedly been closed, its cross and Bible removed, and it is now said to be used as a "meeting space" when it is unlocked at all. The carillon in the 75-foot bell tower no longer tolls on a regular basis. And members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the National Memorial Ladies, attending upon the bereaved families and friends at veterans' funerals, say they have been required to have their prayers pre-approved by Ocasio's office, and have been told that the words "God" and "Jesus" are not to be used by them if they wish to continue their volunteer service at the cemetery. This isn't the first episode of such trouble." ...more from cbsnews.com http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/08/opinion/main20077846.shtml
Catherine Paull December 07, 2011 at 06:00 AM
"allegedly", "supposedly" -- the call words of the paranoid.
Aidan December 07, 2011 at 11:00 AM
"allegedly", "supposedly" -- the call words of the paranoid. Hardly a rebuttal. "Paranoid" -- the call word of one without an argument.

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