Re-naming Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

We are in the process of updating our Employee handbook. Because of the diversity of our employees, we need to rename some of our holidays. We changed Good Friday to Spring Break day. What suggestions would you have with the holiday's Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day?


  • 51 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Are you kidding? If not, I'll take the time to answer this question.

    If so, that's a good one.
  • I echo the first response! Are you kidding?

    It's becoming a sad, sad world if this is an issue with anyone.

    Where will it end?
  • I would suggest you stop paying holidays and just make employees work on those days since your company doesn't believe in them. This is just further evidence of the secularization of society where people of faith are denigrated and treated as second class citizens. If you don't like recognizing the true meaning of Christmas and want to take it away from us who do, then choose another day as a paid day off and name whatever you want. Just don't call them holidays anymore, since etymologically holiday is derived from [i]holy day[/i], so pick a new name for your paid days off, too.

    I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but many of us find this type of behavior where we go out of our way to be politically correct to be offensive.

  • In an effort to give one serious response to this post, how about just designating them as holidays, without names attached? In the handbook, you can simply state that the following days are company holidays: July 4, December 25, etc etc, without naming the purpose (MLK Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, whatever).

    And just a little soapbox standing, and this is all I will say on it. No replies, no nothing. I realize this issue angers a lot of people, but did you ever stop to think about the people it affects on the other side? They are angered too, and just as rightfully. They have holy days/holidays too, and they don't get the luxury of a paid day off to celebrate. If we truly are an egalitarian nation based on equality of man, what's the problem? I personally feel that we all need to get past the "me me me" mindset and realize that this is the workplace of today, and not the workplace of 100 years ago.

    Soap box exited, and please do not get offended, this is just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to theirs, but I know this is one issue that some of you on the forum will try to "rip me a new one" on.
  • Coffee, my post above was serious. Now I'm offended you have marginalized me as a result.

    Where does it end? And relative to the concept of being egalitarian, how does observing these holidays and using their traditional names affect one's political, economic, and legal rights? We already have laws on the books that says ee's have the right to take off bona fide religious holidays.

    People are offended over this issue because they want to be. I find their offense to be disengenuous.

    How do you think Muslims would feel if we refused to use the name Ramadan and called it something else? Let's ban that name from society completely. Obliterate it.
  • I don't think the focus of this is Christmas. I'm guessing since they are so diverse they have MLK day as a holiday. Do you think they are going to offend African Americans if they change the name of that holiday? What about Memorial day and those that gave their lives for our country? How about Independence day?

    Your idea is incredibly misguided. If I were you I would take the number of days that are holidays and give them to people as "floater" days. Then they can use it for any holiday they choose.

    Your company wants to change the name of holidays? You need to really think about that statement.
  • Wow! You got some heavy handed responses, didn't you?

    I have never heard of changing Good Friday to something else, but know that many companies now say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I prefer just Spring holiday as opposed to Spring Break Day, but you might run into problems there too as many will consider it some kind of paganism.

    I don't think you need to change Thanksgiving, as it, like the 4th of July, is tied to patriotism and the start of our country and not necessarily religion (depends upon the eye of the beholder). However, you might try using something like the December holiday for December 25th. I am not sure it really makes any difference though, as everyone knows what day you are talking about when you say December 25th.

    Do you have any concerns that if you change it from 'Christmas' that someone will say we think December 20th is a better choice and expect you to move it?

    I think you might consider just stating that you have selected these 'traditional' holidays as they fit most of the population, and do not mean to imply any religious preference. Remember, if these are designated national holidays by Congress and named as such, then you are not the one naming them in the first place but just following along with law makers.

    Here we will continue to call them the traditional names and will not make any special reference to them as religious at all. And, btw, we no longer say Merry Christmas but rather Happy Holidays.

    Good luck!

  • I am in the hospitality industry where a lot of different cultures work together. What some properties have done in the past is at the beginning of the fiscal year, employees can designate what holidays they want off -- so if they would like to use January 1st as Christmas, then they do. Everybody seems to stay happier that way and we have people working on Christmas Day that is going to take another day off for celebration of their faith.
    This is a lot different than what you are suggesting, but this is how we have worked through diversity issues such as this.
  • I agree with many of the postings. The easiest solution is to do as said previously, simply call them holidays and list the dates. However, December 25th IS Christmas; July 4th IS Independence day in the US; the fourth Thursday in November IS Thanksgiving in the US; Hannukah IS shown on the calendar on December 22nd. Calling them by any other name seems like a cheesy cover up, in my opinion. People will see through the titles and notice they fall on the "traditional" recognized holidays.
  • SMace brings up a great point. If you decided to change Dr. King's Birthday to "21st of January Day", what reaction would you get? If we started celebrating a "Pre-harvest Festival" on the date previously occupied by Veteran's Day, would that make things better for your pacifist employees?

    This is the ultimate in PC silliness.
  • Ray's responses have reflected very eloquently my feelings on this subject and I am also sick and tired of compromising. If we are going to call it anything but Christmas then don't celebrate it at all. Do not allow any decorations in any stores, towns, offices, etc. No gifts for anyone because someone else may be offended. Explain to the children that we have decided as a country to no longer recognize God or anything associated with Him.
    If you insist on being politically correct, have no holidays and simply expand you paid days off policy; oh and when you do that make sure you don't close the business in recogntion of any holiday or holyday either. Wouldn't want to touch any other sensitivities by not allowing people to work on days they don't observe.
    One last thing: There is one day all of us can still take as we move to this Godless society: April 1 - April Fools Day, because we all are if we continue to compromise and sell out.
    Nuf said.

  • I agree with both of you. So now because someone has decided they don't like the day we give thanks for everything we have and have accomplished we can no longer call it Thanksgiving? This is not religious it was started by the founding fathers when we ate with the indians.

    Also how do you change the Birthday of Christ that we celebrate. If they do not believe in the Christmas holiday than why should they have it off?

    These holidays are what our country was founded on and what it stands for. Now someone is saying that our country no longer stands for these beliefs? Well our founding fathers would roll over in their grave.

    This silliness just disgusts me and I am so tired of it. The stores now saying Happy Holidays. Everyone has forgotten what we are celebrating so if we are changing the names of all of our holidays...what and why are we celebrating the holidays? Just make everyone work them.

  • Look at the calender and call it what it is. Where does the PC stop?
  • Poor Bullion, aren't you glad you asked?
  • I would think that since that is such a volatile topic having been debated publicly in many venues, that it should be obvious some people would be offended or at least incredulous with an assertion that we rename holidays.

    I think a far better and fundamental question is to ask how to not alienate those of differing beliefs during our recognized, established holidays, especially those with a religious background. How can we ensure our diverse workforce is not offended or discriminated against?
  • Ray I think your question is a good one, in fact an excellent one.

    But you are assuming that the people that get offended by Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, Happy Thanksgiving, etc. are lucid, rational and sane.
  • Hey, better that Bullion hear it from us how ridiculous this is rather than after it has been implemented...
  • Yes, but asking for help should not automatically lead to being ridiculed or facing hostility.

    It is obvious that as a group we are sick to death of PC. However, whether we like it or not we should try to be sensitive to the beliefs and feelings of everyone. In my home life I say Merry Christmas. I work hard to make sure my family remembers the reason for the season. At work I say Happy Holidays. I believe right now all of our employees fall into the Christian category, but that is all the more reason for us not to put a religious face on the company as a whole for the benefit of those who might come in the future and feel uncomfortabe as the one who stands out.

    I said earlier that Bullion should keep to the legal name (as designated by Congress), however, looking at the calendar seems like a good idea long as it wasn't produced by a group with a particular axe to grind (ie a religious group).

    Just my 2 cents.

  • One distinction. I don't think any of us have ridiculed Bullion. We have attacked the concept, there have been no personal attacks against the poster. And whatever sarcasm was evident was really aimed at the perpetuators of the policy and that doesn't sound like it was the poster.
  • Definately not directed toward Bullion, I apologize if anyone got that idea.

    I just think that everyone is worrying about offending those diverse groups that are offended by Christmas and Thanksgiving. Well I am offended because they are being changed. What my feelings no longer count? So it is okay if I am offended by the holidays being changed but it is not okay if a few diverse are offended by our holidays that we have had for a few hundred years?

    I am sorry but I just am unable to grasp that concept. Sorry Bullion I did not mean to be unkind, but I am honestly offended by this policy, and I am not the only one. We are part of the group also...we have feelings and they count.

    As long as I am HR Director at my company we will have Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, New Years, Easter, Good Friday, Labor Day, Veteran's Day and any other holiday that is an "AMERICAN" holiday and belongs to "AMERICA". That is a promise to all those employees that are true Americans and loyal to it and it's customs.

  • Would any of you be offended if a Jewish employee wished you a Happy Hanukah? Of course not. Then why do we assume it upsets employees of other faiths when we wish them a Merry Christmas?

    If it's Christmas, it's Christmas. If it's Easter, it's Easter. If it's Yom Kippur, it's Yom Kippur.
  • Could it be that the people who most easily get offended by references to another's faith are those people who are most unsure about their own faith or lack thereof?
  • I agree with you.

    I nor anyone I know is offended by Cinco de Mayo, Hanukah, yon kipper, Immaculate Conception, All Saints Day, Boxing Day or whatever holiday is present.
    The day is what it is.

    I do not wish to delve into anyone's faith, I am only saying what is there...the day is what it is and you can't make it different by changing the name.

  • I just read the topic and all the answers given so far. I would like to give my in put. I am not an American born although I am an American citizen. I was born and raised in Italy , travelled extensively through-out Europe, lived in London and different cities in Germany when my husband was in the military. We, as Americans, never expected to be accomodated with "our holidays" such as Thanksgiving and 4th of July that are not celebrated overthere. The people working for the local government, as I was, had to take a day vacation on those days and that was it. We were guests in THEIR country and such as we followed and highly respected their ways of living.
    What about all the accomodation requests coming from the Muslim population. Would they accomodate our requests or protests overthere? NO WAY.
    So why should we? Why do we have to be "politically correct" and say "Happy Holidays?" America is a free country, yes, but it is America and we should not have to back up or deny what is part of the American's heritage. Thousands have died through-out the years to make this country free for all. Now part of the "all" want to take over and change everything (without mentioning blowing us up!!)
    I say NO, it is time to really stop this madness.
    Finally I want to say that if I offended anyone I did not mean it.

  • Marina, from the looks of it, most of us here are giving you a standing ovation. And you add an excellent point, being PC seems to be awfully one-sided.

    That said, I wish Bullion would return to either defend their position or comment.
  • This is obviously a very touchy subject, and many have strong feelings about it. Most of the posts have been genuine. I felt a few at the beginning were a little hostile. If I had been the one asking the question, I would have felt chastised for asking.

    The nature of the question took me aback too, and I couldn't help wondering if Boullion wanted to get us all stirred up (stranger things have happened on this forum). However, I looked this poster up and noted that this is not the first time he/she has asked a question regarding diversity. In previous posts, Boullion has said that he/she works for a non-profit organization which receives federal grants. From those questions, I am assuming that Christmas parties, etc, have become an area of contention for the employer. Boullion is only trying to do the right thing.

    Whether you agree with it or not, in this country governments go to extreme lengths to stay out of anything remotely religious. I don't think that is what our founders intended, but that is what it is NOW. Boullion's employer uses federal grants. I am certain their attempts at diversity are in part to make sure they don't cut off their income.

    As I said before, we will not be changing the names of our holidays here. I do say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas in the office, but that is only because I am part of the management team and therefore represent the company in this area. Boullion did not ask us whether he should do this or not, he asked for input on what other names might be useful. I sincerely hope the management team there rethinks things, but if they have decided their course, then I will not criticise them. Boullion asked for help and I did my best to do so.

    I can't help wondering when so many of us do not appreciate the lengths the government has gone to for 'separation of church and state' that they don't wake up and smell the roses. What we need is a coalition for an amendment. I believe the founders intended the government NOT to force religion on its citizens, which is not the same thing as not allowing any hint of religion. I also believe the current view is what is causing so many disputes and lawsuits, as well as Boullion's dilemma.

    One more thought. I recently read that the numbers of Americans flocking to other religions is rising fast. The article predicted that soon Christians would be a minority. How would you feel if Congress decided to take away Christmas and declare some other religion's holiday as the holiday? Would you feel fine to take off a Muslim holiday, for instance, but have to work Christmas? Whatever side you are on, it can't be easy. The best thing we can do is try to be sensitive to the beliefs and needs of others, and not try to ram something down their throat because it is what WE believe and has always been there.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 02-28-08 AT 11:03AM (CST)[/font][br][br]I realize Bullion was asking for other names, not whether we liked the idea. However, if a forum member asks whether they should jump off a building forwards or backwards, I'm going to tell them not to jump.

    I'll add that if you think a post doesn't meet the Forum "protocol" hit the alert button. Commentary about my posts is a waste of your time. Peace.
  • Nae, I do not think anyone is trying to ram anything down THEIR throats. On the contrary, THEY are ramming it to us. THEY are coming at us from every direction, be it holidays, moments of silence, our money, art, music, traditions, prayer, etc.

    You name the genre, they are there fighting every inch of the way.

    Marina's observation is right on target. Why don't we wake up and see what's happening?

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