For those concerned about being politically correct this Christmas, it's time to amend the list of appropriately dull seasonal greetings. One professor from Texas Woman's University is saying the word "holiday" just doesn't qualify as inclusive enough anymore.
Ironically, though, the title (and body) of TWU's explainer on how to host "an all-inclusive, multicultural" Christmas party includes the words "holiday" and "Christmas." Clearly, it's pretty difficult to get around using the apparently offensive descriptors.
"When planning December office parties that coincide with the Christmas season, it is a challenge for event organizers to make celebrations ‘all-inclusive,'" the university's statement reads. "Not all faith traditions have holidays in December, and not everyone identifies with a particular faith tradition."
In the release, professor Mark Kessler, who teaches multicultural women’s and gender studies, outlines the best way to steer clear of "missteps" when putting together a "secular celebration."
In his nearly impossible-to-follow rules, Kessler suggests party planners avoid using the word "holiday" because it "connotes religious tradition and may not apply to all employees." Instead, he wrote, the party should be referred to as a "December gathering" or "end of semester" or "end of fiscal year" party.
But the politically correct professor does not stop there. Kessler goes on to suggest purging from parties any symbol that could, in any way, be connected to religion or Christmas tradition, secular or otherwise:
Avoid religious symbolism, such as Santa Claus, evergreen trees or a red-nosed reindeer, which are associated with Christmas traditions, when sending out announcements or decorating for the party. Excellent alternatives are snowflakes, snowmen or winter themes not directly associated with a particular holiday or religion.
Kessler also noted it is important to ensure the dessert menu "does not symbolize a particular religious holiday," avoiding such treats as "red and green sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees." He did, however, encourage December gathering planners to make sure dietary needs — "halal or kosher" foods — are met.
Lastly, the professor highlighted the importance of including "non-Christian employees of Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other religions, as well as non-believers" in any "end of fiscal year" parties.