Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?


December 18, 2014 :: Dr. Hillary Rodrigues
Moderated by Austin Fennell

Those two simple greetings are the subject of much controversy and cause headaches for many at this time of the year. It is difficult enough dealing with the pressures of “getting ready” before relatives and friends arrive in late December, or going over one’s budget spending for presents and the host of other related holiday expenses. But these anxieties are compounded by not knowing how to greet each other at this time of year.
Every year stories abound from around the country where someone takes exception to “Merry Christmas” or, more often, to “Happy Holidays”. Store employees are frequently instructed by well-meaning management to greet patrons with a generic and inoffensive “Happy Holidays,” only to end up offending those who were expecting a “Merry Christmas”.
It does seem odd that the mood of joy, which is a cornerstone of hope at Christmas, can be undermined by a few words, often simply uttered off the cuff, and with the intention of making the recipient feel good. Why, indeed, does someone else’s greeting potentially threaten one’s seasonal enjoyment?
The speaker will weigh in on this phenomenon, hoping to stimulate discussion, and will speculate on how long it will persist?
Speaker: Dr. Hillary Rodrigues
Hillary Rodrigues (B.Sc. in Chemistry, McGill), B.A. (summa), M.A., Ph.D. in Religious Studies, McMaster) is Professor of Religious Studies. He has travelled widely (North and South America, Europe, and Asia), and combines fieldwork and textual analysis in his research. He is an associate member of the Department of Anthropology (which he chaired for many years). Among his varied publications, Dr. Rodrigues has authored numerous university level textbooks. He has served as the Board of Governors Teaching Chair, and is the recipient of the university's Distinguished Teaching Award.

Moderator: Austin Fennell
Date: Thursday, December 18, 2014
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A) Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr S
Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea at the presentation only)


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