Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas wish list from the University of Tennessee

Guidelines for celebrating the day formally known as Christmas a la University of Tennessee.  The university revised the guidelines to a minimalist three paragraphs after receiving substantial negative feedback from Republican lawmakers, but not before the Washington Times snagged a copy (I'm copying it here because the click bate on the WT site is so prodigious that the page barely loads).

I particularly like #1.  Got to watch out for those tricky Christians who have nothing better to do than seduce unsuspecting party-goes into attending a Christmas party in disguise.  Also notice how #1 and #5 contradict each other.   Did anyone even edit this thing before it went up?  The university insists they were only trying to be inclusive and not bar anyone from publicly celebrating Christmas according to their own cultural and religious preferences.  But again I must ask, did anyone edit this list before it went up?  Indeed, did anyone even read it before it was published?

This is the same university, mind you, that made suggestions for the more  inclusive pronouns  “Ze, Zir, and Xyr”.  So in keeping with their track record of the absurd here is the list and a very Merry Christmas to you.


  1. Holiday parties and celebrations should celebrate and build upon workplace relationships and team morale with no emphasis on religion or culture. Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.
  2. Consider having a New Year’s party and include décor and food from multiple religions and cultures. Use it as an opportunity to reinvigorate individuals for the new year’s goals and priorities.
  3. Supervisors and managers should not endorse, or be perceived as endorsing, religion generally or a specific religion.
  4. If an individual chooses not to participate in a holiday party or celebration, do not pressure the person to participate. Participation should be voluntary.
  5. If a potluck-style party or celebration is planned, encourage employees to bring food items that reflect their personal religions, cultures, and celebrations. Use this as an opportunity for individuals to share what they brought and why it is meaningful to them.
  6. If sending holiday cards to campus and community partners, send a non-denominational card or token of your gratitude.
  7. Holiday parties and celebrations should not play games with religious and cultural themes–for example, “Dreidel” or “Secret Santa.” If you want to exchange gifts, then refer to it in a general way, such as a practical joke gift exchange or secret gift exchange.
  8. Décor selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture. Identify specific dates when décor can be put up and when it must come down.
  9. Refreshment selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture.
  10. Most importantly, celebrate your religious and cultural holidays in ways that are respectful and inclusive of our students, your colleagues, and our university.

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