Culture

University: Use ‘End of (Fiscal) Year’ Party Instead of ‘Holiday’ Party to Be ‘Inclusive’

A college in Texas issued a guide with tips for avoiding 'religious symbolism,' such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Texas Woman’s University is advising students and faculty not to use the word “holiday” when describing parties in December because it “connotes religious tradition,” and that might be offensive to non-religious people.

Yep. The word “holiday” — previously considered the politically correct substitute for that problematic term “Christmas” — is now also too triggering:

“For educational institutions, a December gathering may instead be called an ‘end of semester’ party,” advises a guide released by the school titled, “A ‘Festivus for the Rest of Us’: Tips to plan an all-inclusive, multicultural holiday party at the office.”

“For a business office, an ‘end of (fiscal) year’ party may be more appropriate,” it continues.

The guide also advises party planners to “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.”

Now, TWU might be interested to learn that none of those things are actually “religious symbolism.” “Santa Claus” is a fictional character/title of a job at the mall that’s often filled by failed actors. That “red-nosed reindeer” they’re referring to, Rudolph, is a puppet in an animated film about accepting people for their differences. As for “evergreen trees”? Well, those are not so much “religious symbols” as the are, you know, trees. All of these items may be, as the guide states, “associated with Christmas,” but they’re associated with a secular interpretation of Christmas. You don’t have to be a Christian to believe in the holiness of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, because no one believes in the holiness of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, seeing as he is a fictional character from a TV special and not a religious figure.

#related#To be fair, the advice to avoid these items is just a suggestion and not a mandate, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s stupid. No, I’m not saying that everything that’s in this guide is bad. It also suggests talking to a diverse group of people, including “non-Christian employees of Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other religions, as well as non-believers” when planning the party, and considering “menu items that reflect dietary preferences and requirements of non-majority groups in your organization,” which are always good ideas. But treating “holiday” like a swear word, and saying that you shouldn’t serve “red and green sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees” at a party because that would be some kind of emotional hazard is taking it much too far. After all, the reality is that the “the holiday season” is a major part of our culture, and it’s something that a lot of people at least recognize regardless of their specific religious views. This country is full of atheists who get excited to order peppermint mochas at Starbucks in December. I’m not particularly religious; I can still eat tree-shaped cookies without getting mad, and I really do think that most (sane) people feel the same way that I do.

This story was originally covered in an article on Campus Reform.

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