Should Federal Agencies Remove “Christ” From Christmas?

Should “Christ” be taken out of Christmas in the federal government?

Around the globe, cities, governments and even corporations are moving away from celebrating the religious aspects of Christmas in the work setting and more toward celebrating the holidays. Religious decorations during these festivities have been replaced with Mickey Mouse figures in a Santa Claus outfit, made in China and sold by Wal Mart. While it’s not quite the same as Three Wise Men delivering gifts to the baby Jesus, no one can argue that it gets religion out of the display.

Recently a high school in Ohio was in trouble for playing secular Christmas music at their holiday concert. In cities and towns around the world, traditional public Christmas tree lighting ceremonies have become holiday tree lighting ceremonies (or cancelled altogether), complete with festive decorations not associated with Christianity.

Some organizations are fighting back. One California-based group has organized a national boycott against Macy’s and its affiliated Federated Department Stores for the 2004 Christmas season. This group has charged Macy’s with attempting to remove the “acknowledged and time-honored ‘Merry Christmas’ phrases from its advertising signs in the stores. While Macy’s denies trying to take Christmas out of Christmas, a statement from the company indicated that the stores are trying to be “more reflective of the multicultural society in which we live today.”

So what is happening at your agency? has set up a survey for federal employees that asks the following questions:

  1. Has there been a public display this year at your agency relating to any of the following holidays: Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, Ramadan.
  2. Do you agree or disagree with removing the word “Christmas” and other religious terminology or symbols (Nativity scenes, for example) from public displays and ceremonies this time of year?

Readers can also anonymously submit their comments on this issue at the end of the survey. will release the results of the survey, along with some of the more interesting and consensus comments, in a future article.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47