READER REPORT:

Let's de-holiday Christmas

ALISON ADAMS-SMITH
Last updated 09:21 03/01/2013
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As we move on from Christmas in to our summer holidays or back to our workdays, dreading the arrival of the credit card bill, I have a different perspective on Christmas.

I wonder what Christmas has become for most people. Is it the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and exchange gifts in the spirit of God's greatest gift to the world?

Is it a day of good food and good company, when we show our appreciation for the people we love?

Is it a mad rush to get everything cleaned, cooked, finished and bought before the big day, when we walk on eggshells around the in-laws and only draw breath on Christmas night after everyone has left?

Do we watch as the children open each present, which is yet another toy or gadget that they already have too many of, and will break or lose interest in by the end of Boxing Day, and wonder if it is all worth it?

Many people continually bemoan the fact that Christmas has become far too commercial, and if you believe that the religious side is a hokey legend about some people's imaginary friend, why do we do it at all? Many people say we are no longer a Christian country and that we therefore don't need to celebrate the religious side of those events on the calendar that also include Good Friday and Easter. Why do we need to do it at a particular time of year? Does it actually matter if we just let the day pass, like any other?

My view is that all religious holidays, of every religion, should be 'de-holidayed'. That is, that they be made in to just another working day, with the extra days where they would have been added to our current annual leave so we still get the same total number of days off. If we don't accept their origin or religious purpose, why stop to celebrate them at all?

This has the benefit that there would no longer be a commercial blitz for Christmas presents and Easter eggs. We could save our money and the merchants could stop exploiting us for no good reason. It would also mean that people could take their holidays when it suited them, and not necessarily for three weeks because the office closes at Christmas. We would not have to pay an extra 15 percent at restaurants, because there would be no holiday pay.

Those who still wanted to celebrate Christmas, Eid al Fitr, Yom Kippur or any other day of meaning to them, would still be able to, just by using some annual leave. Leave for a religious event should legally be given if asked for. That would actually make those who took those days as a religious holiday more visible, so maybe they would actually get more respect. We could even stop lying to our children about Santa!

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