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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Weekly Muse
My humble opinion on current events

December 10, 2001

Tis the Season

It's that wonderful time of year again, jam-packed malls, crowded parking lots, short tempers, rude shoppers, ruder employees. Fake Santas, overpriced toys, shoddy service, Christmas trees turning into torches, spiked eggnog, and Christmas office parties.

Wait a minute. Strike that last one. At least where my wife and I work.

I've been at my company since April 1994. For the first couple years, it was indeed a Christmas Party, complete with Christmas trees and decorations. One year, an employee even played a Christmas carol (a Christian one!) on the violin. 

Then it turned into a Holiday Party, but the trees and decorations were still there. Until a couple years ago, when those went away too. 

Finally, this year, the Holiday Party is dead, replaced with something called the First Annual Employee Appreciation Party. It just happens to occur on December 21. Merely a coincidence, I'm sure. The posters plastered all over the building show no Christmas or even Holiday decorations or even references.

It may be worse at my wife's place of employment. She's a health inspector. She's been working at her regional office for six years. Every year, she and her colleagues decorate the office with Christmas decorations, and host a potluck for the entire department, including other regional offices. For the past three years, my wife and another colleague have planned this party.

This year, her co-workers gave her a break, and someone else is planning the Christmas party. Only it's not a Christmas party. This year, years and years of tradition at that regional office will be shattered. It will be a "Western Lights" party. The office will put up lights but no Christmas decorations. It is not a Christmas party. 

The organizers have done this because one employee is a Jehovah's Witness, and does not observe or celebrate Christmas. They did not want this one person in an office of about 20 employees to feel offended or excluded.

Never mind that this person has worked there for two or three years and never uttered one peep of protest or complaint about the annual Christmas party. The employee just didn't attend. My wife and her colleagues never hassled their colleague for this. They accepted the decision. In no way have they made the employee feel excluded or not a member of the team because of this absence from the Christmas party.

But that didn't matter to the organizers. They wanted to be tolerant and open-minded, and not give offense. Of course, they've actually offended most of the people in the office, who wanted a Christmas party. But they don't count. Their feelings don't matter.

Civil libertarians and some on the left often speak of the tyranny of the majority, in which 51% of a voting body can trample the rights of the other 49%. In this case, though, we have the tyranny of the minority, in which an even smaller group of people can dictate to the vast majority how a holiday can be celebrated. 

A few years ago, during Christmastime, my wife and I were eating dinner in the Olive Garden. Christmas carols were piped in over the loudspeakers, and it struck me that this is the only time of year in which explicitly Christian songs are heard in the public square. 

I wonder how much longer this will last when I see what's happened to the office Christmas party. It really is a farce, and even a denial of reality. The only reason companies throw parties this time of year is because it's Christmas. Not because of Hanukah, and certainly not because of Kwanzaa. Not that Hanukah is not important and cherished by many (don't get me started on Kwanzaa). It's because of Christmas, and Christmas alone. 

So I say bring back the Christmas party, and stop denying reality. We celebrate because it's Christmas, and for no other reason. And there's nothing wrong with that.

So Merry Christmas everyone.

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