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Keeping A Holiday Job: Merry Christmas or Not?

Updated on January 4, 2018
Greetings of the Season!
Greetings of the Season! | Source

Do You Work With Or For A Holiday Scrooge?

If so, you're not alone!

A week after Thanksgiving personal concerns found us traveling in the night. Such things often come at inconvenient times, but when are concerns ever convenient? After going through some heavy rains we found clear skies and little traffic to speak of.

The trip meant a few days break from my husband's job, some night sights, and a chance to discuss the greetings of the holiday season.

Winding down through Georgia we decided to take the 441 route over to 75 and spend the night in Valdosta. Passing through some small towns, there was a hushed feeling that only a nighttime rain can effect--well, that and the absence of semi-trucks racing along the highway.

All of a sudden, we began to see a spattering of lights in the distant dark. One little town had about a dozen power poles decorated with Christmas designs. As we drove close we could see that they were true Christmas decorations.

All the same in bright white lights along dark streets, a series of stars with wavy tails (I suppose that is to indicate motion since the wise men were “following” their star) reminds passersby of the night that would change the world.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Approaching a tiny town's lights.Greeted by stars!Stars trailing in the night.Another town's wreathed lights around Christmas trees.High lights!These night photos do not show the expanse of the large field that the larger than life display sits in.On a knoll in a rolling 5 acre field this display herald's the season.A landmark church.Even the hotel was decorated to proclaim the joy of the season.
Approaching a tiny town's lights.
Approaching a tiny town's lights. | Source
Greeted by stars!
Greeted by stars! | Source
Stars trailing in the night.
Stars trailing in the night. | Source
Another town's wreathed lights around Christmas trees.
Another town's wreathed lights around Christmas trees. | Source
High lights!
High lights! | Source
These night photos do not show the expanse of the large field that the larger than life display sits in.
These night photos do not show the expanse of the large field that the larger than life display sits in. | Source
On a knoll in a rolling 5 acre field this display herald's the season.
On a knoll in a rolling 5 acre field this display herald's the season. | Source
A landmark church.
A landmark church. | Source
Even the hotel was decorated to proclaim the joy of the season.
Even the hotel was decorated to proclaim the joy of the season. | Source

They were really pretty lights in the dark of night, even though there were not many of them. Elegant in their simplicity, yet a strong statement in their replication, they spoke of the beauty of the Christmas season.

My husband pulled to the side of the road and we enjoyed them a minute before taking a few night photos. Not surprisingly there were some lovely church buildings highlighted in the area. The farther south we went, the more lighted decorations we saw.

Little town streets, businesses and churches, isolated farm homes and larger estates were decorated with multi-sized manger scenes. It was easy to see that the traditions of Christmas were being upheld throughout the country side.

We couldn’t help but be thankful for the quiet time of seeing the reminders that the Christmas season brings to our hearts. There are those who work at denying the history that tells the story, but our traditions help keep it highlighted.

How Does All This Relate To A Holiday Job?

As we talked about what we saw my husband remembered something a coworker told him. A nephew got a holiday job at a store that markets animals and products for pets and their owners. He was excited about the prospects, but he surprised his parents with his disappointment after his employment orientation.

Apparently, he as well as all other employees had been warned that they could not say Merry Christmas to customers or to each other on the job. If they did so they would be fired immediately. The boy (young man, really) was stunned, and a little afraid he might forget.

He had heard of situations like this but did not expect to run into it in his home town. His parents had trained him well and he knew that to keep the job and possibly get a permanent position with that company he would have to follow instructions and work hard.

He had every intention of promoting the company by exceeding the expectations of his new employer, but this seemed to knock the wind out of his sails. I hope he will excel and move up in that company to make a difference if that’s his goal.

I would, however, recommend that he connect with Dan Miller’s 48 Days To The Work You Love to become an entrepreneur so he can begin his own company and be superb competition for the others in that genre.

My husband said it made him want to call those each of those stores and take their time up asking interesting questions, then end it with, “Thanks. Have a Merry Christmas.” He would never do such a thing, but I understand the sentiment.

There was something I could do, though. Writing hubs can help get the word out about a lot of issues our society faces. I suggest that anyone shopping at pet stores this year find out whether the employees are allowed to say Merry Christmas to customers.

If the greeting is forbidden, it might be in order to remind the managers that although not a key part of the Christmas story, animals are an integral part of it. I myself have been known to cut out cardboard sheep shapes the size of 3 year olds and glue cotton batting to them so those children could be a part of the big kid’s program.

A formal complaint with business taken elsewhere would speak loud and clear. Speaking up to other customers would really get some attention. Responding to this hub to keep the topic highlighted, or even writing your own hub to help get discussions going would really spread the word.

If you do write a hub about this topic, or already have a link to one about it, let me know so I can add the link to this hub. Wouldn’t it be a great thing for me to be able to send a link to this hub with supportive comments to work with my husband so he could ask his coworker to pass it on to the nephew?

Maybe that nephew would post it in the employee break room, but I wouldn’t want him to lose his holiday job over the issue. He may even have some other important lessons to learn from working in such a place.

Still, I do hope his spirit isn’t demoralized by the stance of his new employers. Instead, I hope he has a Merry Christmas attitude at his job in spite of the way they have postured themselves against our traditional values.

Have you ever been told you could not say "Merry Christmas?"

See results

Mountain Christmas

Home for the Holidays Stories You Might Enjoy:

Take a break from the holiday rush and enjoy some very short Christmas stories. There's a little something for everyone in the series:

Fostering Care -- Home for the Holidays, Number 8

Christmas Fudge -- Home for the Holidays, Number 6

The Favor -- Home for the Holidays, Number 5

A Holiday Respite -- Home for the Holidays, Number 4

The Gift of a Lifetime -- Home for the Holidays, Number 3

A Change of Plans -- Home for the Holidays, Number 1

King's College Christmas Masterpiece

Bethlehem Churchbells

Join This Discussion About Saying Merry Christmas:

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Moon Daisy:

      In the meantime, enjoy the holidays we have throughout the year! :)

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 4 years ago from London

      Ah no problem! I'd forgotten that I'd written it.

      That's true about traditions, to have some traditions in our life is important, and I like that we can make some new ones too. I love what you've written about how these holidays help us connect the past to the future. That is so true. I have many happy memories too about Christmas time.

      Yep, see you next Christmas! :D

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Moon Daisy:

      Sorry to be so long getting back to this comment--tis not only a busy but a distracting season. :)

      How lovely that you enjoy the Christmas season with your daughter! In thinking about how the seasons of life change our circumstances (and us) it occurs to me that we need to remember that our traditional holidays help us connect the past to the future and that we should be careful not to let them slip through our fingers.

      Come back next Christmas and say hi! :)

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 4 years ago from London

      Thank you for your reply. It makes me happy that maybe the phrase "Merry Christmas" isn't getting as rare as we think. It's a happy time of year for everyone. It also reminds me of doing exciting things at school like the nativity and making decorations. And now I can enjoy that all over again through my daughter! And so can all my Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and other friends.

      Thank you for your lovely wishes. and I wish the same to you and your family. Hope you had a lovely Christmas, and have a very happy New Year!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Moon Daisy

      Thanks very much for stopping in with your comment and adding the info on how people in the UK generally receive the “Merry Christmas” greeting.

      Christmas for many really has become more of a family day than a religious holiday, you are right, but at least where I live, those same people are generally in agreement that the holiday as celebrated in modern history is about the birth of Christ.

      It is really a much, much smaller number than most people realize who are offended by the greeting “Merry Christmas” during the holidays. The media presents the number who oppose the greeting as larger than it actually is, as well as the number who no longer say “Merry Christmas” at Christmas time. The small number of opponents have increasingly organized themselves to look larger and to oppose the greeting in a number of ways.

However, we find that even when employees are forced to say “Happy Holidays” (which does not offend us in and of itself, of course) and we respond with “Merry Christmas” their eyes dance with delight. The effort to squelch the greeting is actually met with serious disdain by the majority of people.

      It’s notable that our Jewish friends are not offended if we say Merry Christmas to them anymore than we are offended if they say Happy Hanukkah. It would be foolish to be offended at any friendly greeting and foolish to be offended that anyone is celebrating their traditional holidays.

      So, the question that hangs in the air is who is offended? I’ve only heard them in interviews because no one I know personally is offended by the greeting, but no matter how controlled the very few I’ve heard speak of being offended by Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah try to present themselves as being, they seem to be filled with an oddly arrogant hate.

      The whole issue is a small distraction for true Christians, mostly, because we won’t change our remembrance of the birth of Christ at any time of year even if the law of the land were to prohibit the holiday greeting. Even if we cannot welcome one and all to enjoy the season, we know that Christmas in the sense of what it meant for Christ to be born is what we celebrate year round.

      However, that in America so few can limit the free and decent speech of so many is remarkable, and as you point out so well, surprising to people in other countries.

      Thank you for sharing how much you enjoy the Christmas season. It really is a lovely time of year when people are often at their best with good wishes toward each other, especially if we can set aside the commercialization!

      It’s a wonderful time to be with family and friends, enjoying beautiful moments together and making memories to last a lifetime. I hope all of your Christmastides are filled with love and joy!

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 4 years ago from London

      There has been a bit on this subject in newspapers here in the UK. About how in the US people don't generally say "Merry Christmas" any more, as they are worried about offending those who don't celebrate Christmas.

      One article I read was written by an American man who was lamenting the demise of this greeting. Since working here in London he was contrasting this with the way that people here tend to just wish everyone a "Merry Christmas", irrespective of whether they're Christian or not. Because Christmas has now become a universal holiday - more like a national holiday than anything else. People recognise that most of those who celebrate it are not "Christian" in the religious sense. It's more about being off work and spending time with your family than anything else. So that is something that bonds us all, no matter what our religion or our beliefs.

      I understand that true Christians may be upset that the meaning of Christmas has been blurred and changed for so many people, and appropriated in this way. I can certainly understand why people are upset about how commercialised it has become - I hate this aspect too. But I love being able to have lights up and celebrate this happy time of year with my family and friends, knowing that all my friends of many cultures are getting together and doing this too!

      And I love being able to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, generally without people being offended. To most people I think it means the same thing as "Happy Holidays", but it's more descriptive.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks so much for this great response! So glad you shared this experience! I'll have to catch up with that family and give a report about the situation soon.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Pat writes@ Back in the 1980's I worked in an office in London. My team was unusual in that we all practised a religion - but not the same one. We were a collection of Hindus, Christians and Jews. We decided that we would celebrate ALL the holidays. If the actual holiday fell on a day off work, we moved it to a 'designated date'. The day before, during our lunch break, somebody would tell the story of the holiday - the religous meaning, how it is celebrated, etc. The next day, we would get dressed up and have a shared lunch. It was good fun, and I learned a lot about Hindus and Jews. We all thought that we were being "multi-cultural". Sadly, there seems to be a new interpretation of what that means - which as far as I can see is a dull grey view of life.

      Thanks for this Hub - I hope the nephew is doing okay.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks kindly! Appreciate your visit and input very much. The dialogue has been interesting. If people would just say no to saying no to the phrase Merry Christmas it seems we could solve the problem, but it's not that simple, is it?

      We've had to make the drive down through Georgia to Florida and back a couple times this holiday season. One day it would be nice to take our time with nothing pressing us and explore the areas a bit.

      Happy New Year!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Hub and an important issue. Glad you were able to provide information and mobilize some people. Also glad you enjoyed driving through Georgia at night. We do have lots of little towns with little squares and most of them Have Christmas decorations and lights. It is a lovely time of year. Blessings. :0

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks much for the link--it is interesting, giving much food for thought.

    • Lapse profile image

      Lapse 6 years ago from East Coast Rules

      Very interesting information worldwide here:

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Jamie Brock:

      I'm glad the hub's intro was enjoyable to you and reminded you of a fun trip.

      The boy isn't my nephew, and I don't know all of the store's policy on the matter yet, just what's in this hub. I hope to learn more yet, but it isn't as uncommon as we might think. I've put links to lists of stores that ban the Christmas greeting in a couple of replies already. It's eye-opening to check them out.

      Just out of curiosity, are you offended if someone from another religion says Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa to you? It seems to me that it's extreme to be offended over a sincere greeting of goodwill.

      Appreciate your stopping in and adding to this dialogue very much! Thank you for your input on the hub! Trust you will have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      I really enjoyed hearing the details as you and your husband were driving down the road on your trip. I remember going to Colorado and my ex-husband was driving through New Mexico and it was dark. For me it was extra mysterious because I had never even been to New Mexico at that point. It just reminded me of that. Anyway, I think it is a shame the store will not allow your nephew to say anything to customers about Christmas. I don't understand it really. I always say Happy Holidays if I don't know someone, just in case, to be sure not to offend anyone but seriously, it just seems pretty extreme to fire someone immediately over it. I mean, really?! Actually, that is just plain ridiculous! Thank you for sharing this.. I wish I could say it surprised me but it doesn't. In today's world, not much of anything surprises me anymore.

      Great hub though! Voting up and interesting! Hope you and your family have a MERRY CHRISTMAS :0)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      When I checked on which stores were banning the phrase Merry Christmas I was truly surprised. I’ll post the first few links I read here again:

      It's no problem to see or hear employees working side-by-side, one saying Merry Christmas, another saying Happy Holidays/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa to customers. The reason Merry Christmas is banned while others are allowed is the concern.

      Unfortunately, the more I look at this topic, the more I see a trend to eliminate any reference to the Christmas holiday in our society. One has to ask oneself, how will that work for anyone, particularly those who like to profit from the holiday?! Isn’t that sort of undermining their goals? Yet, the trend is growing!

      While it’s true that many adult Americans are not used to hearing Happy Kwanzaa very often, it’s also true that many more American school children are being taught to avoid the phrases that include the word Christmas and they are very familiar with the other holidays’ terms, their history, and how to celebrate those holidays.

      Our freedom to speak about what we believe is, as much as the word Christmas, under attack when schools and businesses cannot say the word Christmas. Flaunting freedom of speech and protecting it from those who would destroy it are not the same and we need to be careful not to be naive about the issues we face.

      Banning the word Christmas is not something we should condone on any level and discussion about the topic is good for all of us. We need to think through the issues. Thanks much for adding to these comments--so appreciate that you stopped by with your input.

      The very best that Christmas offers to you and yours!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      ?So glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks much for coming by!

      It is interesting to consider how little tolerance there is for others from the few who demand it for non-traditional values in our country. Where Christian values are concerned, tolerance is becoming an ever smaller commodity in our country.

      I appreciate your addition to this dialogue and that you shared the hub with others, as well. ??Merry Christmas! May the best of the love and joy of this special season be yours, and all our readers.

    • Lapse profile image

      Lapse 6 years ago from East Coast Rules

      I think I'm with PWalker in that without more information on the store management's intent I suspect the best assumption is an overzealous attempt to be politically correct and not an attack on the American tradition of Christmas. I don't know if the answer is in there and I missed it, but is he allowed to say, "Happy Holidays?" I would guess he is. Is Merry Christmas the only one being banned? I suspect the too many Americans can count on ONLY one hand the # of times they've heard other greetings like Happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, etc. I tend to think that fact is myopic to a fault really. I DO think the USA is the best nation in the world in terms of its freedoms of choice, speech, etc. but I think THAT is one of things you don't flaunt or else the rest of the neighborhood won't like you, and unfortunately I think it is what's happening. This Christmas greeting thing is kind of a symptom of that.

      Maybe I'm wrong...

      Either way I liked the hub. Very thought provoking in a really good way for me.


    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

      Excellent hub...and I love the photos of the lights and Christmas decorations.

      The whole Merry Chrismas/happy holidays hoopla is just another symptom of the true lack of tolerance on the part of those who promote it so vigorously. Their hypocrisy is appalling; I've never worked with anyone who refused to take Christmas off because the celebration was offensive. They take the day off, the holiday pay, and the bonuses, but they want to denigrate the person for which the holiday stands.

      I linked this to my Christian education hub and shared it on my social network to hopefully get some buzz going. In closing, Merry Christmas to you and yours:)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      Even authors get sidetracked with related issues! Banning the phrase “Merry Christmas” really isn’t so much about a historical tradition, although that would be reason enough not to ban the phrase. It is about this specific phrase’s history. At this point, “Merry Christmas” is the only holiday greeting I know of that is being banned in this country.

      You’ve highlighted both the problem and the solution. “We as a nation” are indeed responsible for allowing the situation to come to this point, but we could step up to the challenge before us. This store is far from the only one rejecting the “Merry Christmas” greeting. Every year incidents like this are increasing. Smart people don’t want to be known as trouble makers on the job, of course, so they say nothing.

      It’s up to consumers. We can easily check on the policies of those we do business with if we will. We can ask every employee we encounter if they are allowed to say “Merry Christmas.” We can ask what they are allowed to say. We can think through how best to communicate about the issue and we can have dialogues in public venues.

      All this makes me wonder if there is a list on the web somewhere of stores that do not allow employees to say “Merry Christmas.” Hmmm...a quick check was surprising. Here are some of the first few sites I saw:

      I fully support the right of a private business to have any harmless policy they want to have. A Christian businessman may have one policy on an issue like this while a nonChristian businessman may have another.

      However, banning a phrase with the historical significance, as well as the personal/traditional significance that “Merry Christmas” has is an issue that all of us as consumers should give some thought to.

      ??I’m keeping this list of stores handy. There are many ways to celebrate Christmas without having a shopping frenzy.

      Thanks much for adding to this dialogue!

    • profile image

      PWalker281 6 years ago

      You make a good point about "banning" people from saying, "Merry Christmas," RT. That's probably going a little too far and it may even be construed as infringing on one's religious beliefs.

      On the other hand, people who don't celebrate Christmas because of their religion or for whatever reason, don't necessarily "hate" the Christmas season (although some might). Nor do I think the intent behind the store's policy is to force one to give up one's tradition, although that might be an unintended consequence. As a nation that honors freedom of religion, I think we're struggling to find ways to be inclusive, and we don't always get it right.

      If confronted with a policy like this store has, I, as an employee, might ask why employees can't say Merry Christmas to shoppers, if only to get management to think about why it is implementing certain policies and to communicate this to its employees. The store might be reacting out of fear because we, as a nation, come down so hard these days on people for expressing beliefs that don't adhere to what's currently perceived as "proper" or "correct." I hope it doesn't mean the end of freedom of speech in this country or keep people from honoring traditions they value. It's important, therefore, to speak out if you disagree and start a dialogue about it.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      The store's policy on the phrase Happy Holidays is unknown to me at this point. I don't know the young man. I do hope to find out more about that specific store now that my curiosity is up--it is large enough to be a chain.

      The bottom line is that no sincere greeting of goodwill should be banned--we live in America. Anything said with an ugly attitude should not be allowed. Employers have the right to address such a problem with their employees, and they should do so. However, to ban a greeting that has been part of not just our country's history but also of the world's history for so long is a telling situation. Now that I think of it, wouldn't it be great to hear from people in other countries re this topic?

      I understand that there are some Americans and some people from a few other countries' religions who hate the Christmas season, but should that mean that we have to give up our traditions? No. The majority of Americans respect others' rights to believe as they choose and maintain their traditions as long as they do not harm anyone. Inclusiveness has been redefined and the new definition seems to be used to promote exclusive behavior in this country. The question is, are we going to speak up?

      If I find out about "Same to you!" I will try to post your answer. Thanks for stopping in!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      A large majority feels as you do.

      Discussing the issues related to this trend is important--thanks for coming by!

    • profile image

      PWalker281 6 years ago

      To play the devil advocate (no pun intended), if your son can't say Merry Christmas, why not Happy Holidays in order to respect those who don't celebrate Christmas or celebrate some other tradition this time of the year? Saying something like "Happy Holidays" honors everyone's tradition, not just one.

      I think an immediate firing is a bit severe since saying "Merry Christmas" this time of year is an ingrained habit for a lot of people, but I understand where the company is coming from. I also think the co. could have provided some alternatives so that their employees can at least respond to customers who wish them Merry Christmas. Would responding, "Same to you!" get them fired?

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks for your visit and your wishes for the young man!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Exactly...I just can't believe the things that we are so stupid to concentrate upon and meanwhile leave other incredibly important issues fall by the wayside~ Of course that would be just one old lady opinion but I think I speak for others as well~

      Great piece and good things to point out no matter what time of year!


    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      That's an interesting point about saying "good morning"--well put!

      The interesting thing about saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone, no matter what their religion is, the majority don't mind a sincere greeting of good will. It is only a few who insist on making noise about their bias.

      My husband works with an interesting group of people from nearly every major religion. Each respects the other. Only one has requested not to be given Christmas greetings (and he's not the Jewish one). While he did so very respectfully and no one argues with him--they all treat each other well, it is interesting to note that he accepts his Christmas bonuses (yes, plural). That aside, the point is, that the few in our society who make an issue out of the greeting stir people up rather than foster goodwill, and that's a shameful way to behave!

      Never hesitate, say it often with sincerity and love--Merry Christmas! Life can be hard at times, let people know that you wish them the best that this season offers.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey


      Thanks so much!

      You point out an important aspect of the issue that is often overlooked. I agree with your solution 100%. All the stuff and such that we like can be obtained at other times of the year. Keeping Christmas in Christmas is not impossible! Thanks for your input!

    • Snurre profile image

      Snurre 6 years ago

      Good hub! Hope he indeed has a Merry Christmas attitude!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      Things certainly have deteriorated when you can't even express "Merry Christmas" to patrons. Good grief - what is next? You won't be able to say "good morning" for fear that someone else is on a different time table...for instance they work the graveyard shift and it's really their afternoon or something similar~

      Don't ya think we've just gotten TOO politically correct these days? I guess the employees could just shout out like 5 different holiday greetings to encompass every religion possible for the month but it might take a lot of classes to get them to remember them....or write them on their hands~ Oh but then when they went to the restroom, they'd wash off their cheat sheet!

      I hesitate to say it here....but I'm doing it anyway - Merry Christmas~

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      voted up

      I note that merchants are more than happy to make money off the holiday they despise! Don't buy from them--better a hand-knit scarf with a "Merry Christmas" than a store-bought gift from a Scrooge.