17 December 2007

The War on Christmas ... Parties?

This year, my company spent a goodly amount of money on a holiday party for the staff. We booked a large banquet facility, they gave us a few free drinks, and all was good. Except...

Why do some people feel the need to angrily yell "Christmas!" whenever someone mentions "Holiday?" Seriously: the company president makes a speech and says the terms "Holiday Party" and "Holiday Season" a few times and each time there are a few people who scream "Christmas!" in retaliation. Seriously, wtf? In any other situation if you yell something in retaliation to the company president, you'd be on the express train to unemploymentville.

Personally, I really don't mind if people say "Christmas" when referring to the holiday season or their parties or whatever. That said, for a lot of people out there, it isn't Christmas. We're a big company, and we have hundreds of employees, many of whom are Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, or whatever who are not Christian. What's the company to do? Alienate a sizeable portion of their employees for the sake of some stubbornly backward thumpers?

Actually, in the past, that's exactly what my company did: the Holiday party was called a Christmas party, a senior executive lead us in saying grace, it was held in a freakin' Shriner's club. And it was 99% old people. Hardly any non-Christians showed up.

This year, they were striving to make improvements. And, to a certain extent, it worked. The venue was better, more younger employees showed up, and they tried to be more inclusive. Still, sadly, very few non-Christians were there.

Hopefully, the reason for the no-shows is that the non-Christians (who are predominently non-Westerners) just aren't party people. However, I doubt it would help that there are still insensitive people vocally letting them know that they are an inconsequential minority.

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At December 17, 2007 12:14 p.m., Blogger langmann said...

Well it is Christmas I suppose. Its still Christmas even though they are having a party and calling it Holiday. Its like trying to deny that the dead guy is dead by saying "he's just not alive."

At the end of the day a lot of people from other places don't show because perhaps they are not used to a holiday during this particular time of year.

One thing I noticed is that suddenly our hospital has started to put up signs for Ramadan including a long running replaying video in the cafeteria. However at the same time they have removed the words Christmas from anything they can, instead its seasons greetings.

Either you go one way or another but this banning of the unmentionable holiday while promoting some other religion makes no sense to me. I think that is what pisses a lot of people off including ones who couldn't care less about the Christ in the Mass.

(Personally since I think the whole damn thing should be privatised when its corporate property they can do what they want.)

At December 18, 2007 7:04 p.m., Anonymous Karen said...

I've worked for a few Silicon Valley companies where many or even most of the employees are immigrants from South Asia or East Asia. We got good party turnout, however, because the events were always oriented toward families. A nice early-evening meal for employees and their spouses, with special food and games for the children in an adjacent room (with sitters!) was always well-attended.

When the company was going broke, we made it a big potluck with adults in one conference room and children in another. (Even the cheap version gave the adults some space away from the children.)

When it came down to spend more money for an employees-only event or do a family event on the cheap, most people wanted the family event.

At December 19, 2007 8:47 a.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Karen: I'd agree family events are better, except I don't have kids ;-) As it is, we also have a kids' party thrown on a different day.

Langmann, I guess the point I'm trying to get at is that I don't mind "Christmas" parties and I don't mind "Holiday" parties. The company can do what it wants for the most part, though actually having a prayer is probably in bad taste for a company as large and multicultural as ours. The thing is, the company has decided to go the inclusive, purely secular party route, and some blowhards are being dicks about it.

At December 19, 2007 5:16 p.m., Blogger Necator said...

I suppose historically it is Christmas. That's fine. I have no issues with it being a Christmas party if that's what's being celebrated - not just drunken debauchery (which is usually the case).

If it's a Christmas party, unless I'm explicitly invited, I won't attend. I don't worship that particular dead Jewish prophet.

Although personally if anyone wishes me a Happy Christmas, I usually respond, "Happy Solstice to you!"

At December 21, 2007 4:49 a.m., Anonymous Karen said...

I don't have kids either. My point was that a family-friendly party that doesn't inflict (sorry, parents) anyone's children on the adults, but keeps them amused, and close enough to stave of parental worrying, is the best kind of large-group holiday party.


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