Political Correctness Is Not Ruining Your Christmas Party-It’s Actually Inviting More Guests!
Every year, without fail, it seems around this time we see a handful of news stories or opinion columns where someone is offended that a company is opting for themes and terms like “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. The “back-in-my-day” griper makes an angry post complaining that people today are “too sensitive” or that “Political correctness is ruining the party.”
On the flip side, there has been a long overdue push in the last few years to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion. Recognizing that there are in fact, several other religious and cultural holidays in December besides Christmas, does exactly that. However, according to a CBC article by Prajwala Dixit “… nearly 30 percent of federal government holidays and nearly 36 per cent of provincial government holidays are Christian, allowing the time to enjoy taking a picture with Santa, decorating gingerbread cookies with our children or attending Christmas mass without having to worry about work or school.” Dixit also writes “No other public holidays are designated to any other cultural and religious celebrations provincially or federally.” This means that folks looking to participate in other cultural holiday celebrations may not be able to get the time to participate in their holiday activities and traditions.
To be clear, literally no one is saying that Christmas, or any other Christian holiday, should be canceled–except Thanksgiving–. What folks are arguing is that other holidays such as Eid, Yalda, Hanukkah, Diwali, Vesak, Lohri, Chinese New Year and Indigenous holidays should be given as much energy and appreciation as days like Christmas, Easter, and Victoria Day. Some suggest holidays and statutory days should be interchangeable for those who celebrate traditions and holidays outside of Christian-based traditions. By implementing a more flexible or open holiday celebration schedule no one is taking away from one holiday, it’s making room for other cultures and religious beliefs to celebrate with equal enthusiasm and merit. Read: Their win is not your angry Aunt Cindy’s loss.
The move to a wider-range of cultural celebrations is already happening in some countries like India and Malaysia where celebrations of several religious and cultural holidays have been adopted in many areas of both countries. By recognizing the beautiful variety of cultures and religions in our population, we learn from each other, get to know each other, and come together. This can help break down systemic issues like racism and xenophobia. If we’re going to insist on our mosaic culture, then let’s make good on that promise which is a major selling point for many immigrants to Canada. So, in that spirit, Happy Holidays everyone! Who cares what this year’s holiday Starbucks cup looks like. Everyone is invited to our holiday party!