The phrase “holiday party” is no longer an acceptable replacement for “Christmas party” in the United States because some religions don’t have any big holidays around the end of December.
Santa Claus and reindeer with red noses are also now insufficiently “inclusive.” So are Christmas carols, Christmas trees and, of course, sugar cookies with green or red sprinkles which are shaped like Christmas trees.
News of the latest advance in politically-correct Yuletide nomenclature comes from a press release recently submitted to the world by Texas Woman’s University, a taxpayer-funded college with a main campus in the suburbs of Dallas.
The self-appointed arbiter of Christmas-related language is Mark Kessler, a male professor of multicultural women’s and gender studies.
“When planning December office parties that coincide with the Christmas season, it is a challenge for event organizers to make celebrations ‘all-inclusive,'” the press release containing Kessler’s advice explains. “Not all faith traditions have holidays in December, and not everyone identifies with a particular faith tradition.”
Thus, parties near the end of the December — which are obviously Christmas parties — should be named “without using the word ‘holiday'” because ‘holiday’ connotes religious tradition and may not apply to all employees.”
Schools should have “end of semester” parties, Kessler advises.
Offices should have “end of (fiscal) year” parties.
“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,” Kessler warns.
“Excellent alternatives are snowflakes, snowmen or winter themes not directly associated with a particular holiday or religion.”
Also: no Christmas carols! “Consider a playlist of popular, celebratory party music instead.”
The menu is important as well. “Plan a menu that does not symbolize a particular religious holiday (for example, red and green sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees),” Kessler counsels.
At the same time, even though you want to avoid any trappings of Christian religion, you should “consider menu items that reflect dietary preferences and requirements of non-majority groups in your organization (e.g., halal or kosher).”
“Try to assemble and include a diverse group of employees in the planning of the party,” the male multicultural women’s professor urges, including all the “non-Christian” employees you can possibly muster.
Don’t forget “atheists and agnostics,” either.
Kessler also suggests a party wherein all guests have to bring something from some cultural tradition which they may or may not know the first thing about.
According to his online bio, Kessler’s research interests include “gender, race, class, and sexuality in U.S. politics” and something called “feminist legal geographies.”