Sunday, December 25, 2005

Have a Holiday!

On Friday, a co-worker and I were discussing the "Christmas Cards" (actually MS Publisher generated greetings) we received from other departments. Our department didn't send any, because we are either too lame or too cool to participate in this winter tradition.

Of course, all of the notices (they really aren't cards, so I won't call them that) all said Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings. We work for a large school district. No one is sending Merry Christmas, less it offend someone.

Merchants saying Season's Greetings is completely understandable. No businessman wants to be the proverbial last straw.

Imagine you are Jewish (or Muslim or Buddhist or Pagan or atheist or a Sock Worshiper or whatever) and you enter Target to shop. The greeter says, "Merry Christmas". Are you going to flip out? Well, maybe. Maybe today you had to explain to your kids for the 140th time why Santa doesn't visit, that you are not Christ Killers, that you don't decorate for Christmas, that everyone does not celebrate Christmas, and that people who don't believe in Christ are not going to burn forever in the lake of fire. Then some employee at a store says "Merry Christmas" and you take their head off. You explain (read scream) that not everyone is Christian and isn't it enough that Christians get their holiday to be a Federal Holiday and can't they just leave you and your family alone for once.

Then you storm out of the store and get into your car. By the time you leave the parking lot, you realize that you made a complete ass out of yourself, and probably scared the poor employee half to death. Now, do you go back in and apologize? Probably not. You go to Walmart or Kmart to do your shopping. And you will probably avoid that Target until you believe enough time has passed that someone else acted like an idiot and they have forgotten about you.

From a business point of view, Target doesn't want to lose the sale, so Happy Holidays is the greeting of the season. No one is offended. Everyone spends money.

But I work for a large school district. School districts, besides being government organizations, are managed by former teachers and principals. They are very busy and have tremendous responsibility. Usually they manage the schools and employees quite competently. However, they tend to treat all the employees like students.

We've all seen the teacher handing out balloons to her class, only to have everyone scream for the red ones. What does the teacher do? Most often s/he says "Ok, now nobody will have a red balloon. Ever. No more red balloons in this classroom!" My superiors treat us like that. Someone might get offended, so no Christmas! Never! Like that is going to teach us a lesson. Now this does not extend to our classrooms, only the administrative employees.

So while chatting with a co-worker, we decided that it was also wrong to wish people a "Happy" holiday. Maybe they don't want to be told what kind of holiday to have. What right do we have to demand that they are happy.

So we are wishing everyone a Holiday.

No comments: