Instead of saying “merry Christmas” this year, a University of Central Florida political science professor wants you to try out a new phrase: “Happy federal holiday.”
The professor, Terri Susan Fine, argued in an editorial published in UCF Today that “we show cultural insensitivity both by equating one major holiday with a minor holiday and failing to recognize that diversity includes those who celebrate neither holiday.”
When you say “merry Christmas” or “happy Chanukah,” you’re not being “inclusive” enough, according to Fine.
“I would suggest that we take a new approach that observes ‘the holidays’ we all have on our calendars, no matter our religion,” she wrote. My friends and I wish each other a ‘Happy Federal Holiday.’”
Fine explains her rationale:
Happy Federal what? Because the U.S. government in some cases and the state government in others have identified certain days during the year as state and federal holidays, including those that fall during the late fall and winter season – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day –we have no choice but to observe these holidays whether we want to or not.
Most everyone is included and no one is excluded no matter their religious beliefs or practices. The banks are closed, along with post offices, local, state and federal government offices, and state institutions such as UCF. As long as we live in the United States, these federal and state holidays impact us equally so we might as well celebrate them equally, too.
You can read the entire editorial here.