Do you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa…or nothing at all? Whatever your beliefs, it is important to have respect for those who may feel differently. Respecting others does not take away from your own celebration; rather, I think it’s a way of supporting the spirit of goodwill that this time of year is known for.
Like most business people, you will probably be sending holiday cards to clients. However, I recommend a non-religious card that says “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” rather than a religious-themed card or specific Christmas or Hanukkah card. For example, a client may be Jewish and could feel slighted or made uncomfortable by a card aimed at Christians. You don’t have to single that person out or go out of your way to buy them a Hanukkah card—just play it safe with a card that will be appropriate for everyone.
And if you receive a religious card that doesn’t apply to your beliefs, try not to take offense. The sender probably meant no ill will. If it really bothers you, don’t hang it up—or you can send a New Year’s card in return that says “Thank you for your thoughtful card. While I do not celebrate Christmas, I appreciate the kind sentiments and hope your family has a wonderful holiday.”
I have heard of religious groups boycotting Gap this year because they feel that the retailer’s holiday ads take a blasé view of the religious aspect of Christmas, and I have met people who see exchanging the word “holiday” for “Christmas” as an overly politically correct move. But I think that showing sensitivity and consideration this time of year is just a way to be accepting and avoid offending others.
We all have special reasons to celebrate this season. Let’s focus on uniting over that!