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How do you say Merry Christmas?

Blue Christmas lights and treeIt’s November and that means we’re heading into Christmas – and for many businesses, creating Christmas-related content and other planning and preparing is already well underway as selling Christmas comes before the actual date.

 

In a multicultural world, should we say Merry Christmas?

Most of us don’t want to offend those who don’t believe in Christmas. Yet that shouldn’t have to mean we can’t acknowledge and celebrate it with those who do believe in it.

In countries like Australia, Christmas is an important part of our year – so many family gatherings and end of year events get caught up with Christmas and the start of summer. We have national a holiday for Christmas Day and Boxing Day – for many, that translates into a week off between Christmas and New Year Day, too, even if you are not Christian.

And kids get excited by it – whether they are Christian believers or not – so it’s pretty hard to ignore.

How businesses can say Merry Christmas

‘Happy Holidays’ doesn’t work too well – Americans talk about Christmas as a holiday more than we do, and not everyone takes Christmas holidays (it’s often a very productive time to work because it’s quiet!)

‘Seasons greetings’ is a little formal to my mind, but it works by acknowledging what’s going on without mention of any religion (ie Christ in Christmas) – and can incorporate Hanukkah and Ramadan which are often close to Christmas anyway.

I’ve seen businesses try a ‘Happy New Year’ or “Hope the year ends well for you’ approach which is well intended but perhaps misses something so loses the impact. It is a good way for non-Christian businesses to give their Christian customers good wishes without compromising their own beliefs and values.

Jenni Ridyard expresses some great views in a recent blog post about giving Christmas wishes.

I like the idea of ‘we wish our Christian customers a Merry Christmas’ – it is politely directed at the relevant people so others can ignore it.

At the same time, I am not offended by signs that say ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ or ‘Happy Ramadan’ so maybe we just have to accept cultural or religious greetings for what they are – an acknowledgement of someone’s beliefs and good wishes to all.

Now is the time to be thinking of your Christmas greetings, so what will you say to customers and suppliers in general? Will you change the message for specific people?

 

* image courtesy of 123rf

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