Have Yourself a PC Little Christmas

December 22, 1993|By RICK HOROWITZ

TO: All Personnel

From: PC HQ

Re: The Holidays

It has come to our attention that certain activities have been undertaken throughout the organization to celebrate the upcoming Christmas holiday. Please be advised that such ''celebrations'' may well violate the holiday-observance standards recently issued by our Department of Appropriateness. (See, e.g., 11/93 memorandum, ''Who(m) Are You Calling a Turkey?'')

Accordingly, we are issuing these further guidelines for Christmas observances. We expect all personnel to study them carefully, and to incorporate their recommendations into all remaining holiday behavior. Only in this way can we ensure a Christmas that is not only ''merry and bright,'' but suitably sensitive and properly balanced.

I. The Christmas Story (Religious Version): We have serious problems with the original Christmas story, even taking into account the vastly different era and culture from which it comes. The constant references, for example, to a Prince of Peace -- but never to a Princess of Peace -- suggest a male-dominated structure impossible to overlook.

Similarly, other key roles in the Christmas story are played by Three Wise Men bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh; is there any reason these crucial figures can't be portrayed as Three Wise People?

In fact, the latest analysis by our Statistical Review team uncovers only one significant female in the entire Christmas story, and her role is no more than that of the passive, stereotypical mother. Can't we do better? What if Mary had a little job?

And regarding jobs, why the gratuitous insult to innkeepers? Overbooking has always been quite common, even in the pre-computer age, and the couple in question were eventually given lodging. Instead of ''manger,'' we suggest the term ''guest house.''

II. The Christmas Story (Secular Version): We warn all personnel against assuming that the secular, modern-day Christmas story is any less suspect than the traditional one. Once again, women are relegated to near-invisibility; the wife of a toy maker is the only important female mentioned, and Mrs. Claus gets minimal attention despite her long years of service.

In many other ways, though, her husband fares almost as poorly as she does. The frequent references to ''jolly old St. Nick,'' to the size of Mr. Claus' belly and the way it jiggles when he laughs -- these are ageist and lookist comments that only serve to perpetuate other stereotypes. Many senior citizens are anything but ''jolly.'' Many full-figured men are victims of their gene pools. For these people, Santa Claus is a very destructive role model.

Be aware, too, that the modern-day Christmas story is also built on the exploitation of short people (the so-called ''elves'') and animals. Cruelty to reindeer cannot be excused, even in a good cause.

III. Christmas Songs: Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of current Christmas observances is the Christmas song. Beneath these popular melodies lurk hurtful and thoroughly incorrect messages. Accordingly, the following lyrics, and the songs that contain them, have been placed on our Restricted Renditions List:

''I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus . . . '' Promotes promiscuity. Fosters stereotype of women as unfaithful home-wreckers.

''Do you hear what I hear? . . . '' Drives a wedge between the acoustically challenged and the rest of society. (Also in the same song, ''Do you see what I see? . . . '' and ''Do you know what I know? . . . '' Insults the unsighted and the mentally distinct.)

''Don we now our gay apparel . . . '' Suggests that sexual orientation dictates fashion sense. (Also, ''fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la . . '' A cheap shot.)

''Jack Frost nipping at your nose . . . '' Encourages bizarre sexual practices and unconsented touching by virtual strangers.

IV. Summary: We've only scratched the surface, and we welcome your suggestions for further condemnations. Holidays are supposed to be happy times; we will, therefore, expect each of you to enjoy yourselves in an approved manner. Deviations from these guidelines will not go unnoticed.

We're making a list. We're checking it twice.

Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist.

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