Christmas Trees in the Office: Who Could Possibly Object?

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Should Christmas trees be allowed in the office?
Atlantic correspondent Marty Nemko asked, and you responded in the first edition of our new collaborative column "Working It Out: Your answers and mine to questions about your job and our economy."

Some of you objected to placing such a distinctive symbol of Christmas in an office with many employees who might not celebrate the holiday. But most of you responded that Christmas trees are no more Christian than eggnog and credit cards. Below are some of the best of those affirmative comments. Read more takes in our first batch here.

The tree is a pagan ritual, people

Ahem...the fir tree that represents modern Xmas has its origins in pagan symbology, as do the lights and gift-giving. All of the seasonal hullabaloo is a copyright-free ripoff of Saturnalia by the early Christians with a baby Jesus glued on. This makes pro/con discussions like these ill-informed and internally meaningless. Save your blood pressure for something more important. Any meme invented by the Rightwing Noise Machine is designed to be a distraction from larger, meaner issues they want you to ignore.

Take it from a grouch like me: The tree is okay

I don't celebrate Christmas and do not like the holidays at all.  But .. the effect that a Christmas tree has on the mood in my office (happy), and the fact that almost everyone appreciates it for what it is, a decoration, makes me want to tell the complainers to just SHUT UP and stop looking for attention. Find another cause in which you get to play the victim and get to bleat about.  Leave the holidays alone. They make people happy.

If you hate, put a dreidel on it!

I have seen trees strung in blue and silver and decorated with dreidels. In my home state of Louisiana, they are just as likely to be decorated purple, gold and green and stay up until Mardi Gras. I have seen them made out of beer bottles, beer cans, boxes, cigarettes, money and here lately they are selling some that stand upside down. I really don't see how anyone can say they are a Christian symbol anymore if they ever were to begin with.

Point to the part of the Bible with the glass balls on fir trees

I'm with the "Christmas has nothing to do with Christ" crowd. If the Bible-beaters can show me the chapter with Santa, the elves, Rudolph, Frosty, Macys, Egg Nog, Mistletoe, Credit Cards, Drunken Relatives, Crowds, Bing Crosby, the Grinch, and, oh yes, fir trees adorned with flashing lights, glass balls, toys, and assorted other crap, then maybe we can debate religion. Christmas is about lots of red and green and gold and silver decorations, eating too much, drinking to much, spending too much, wrapping gifts, giving gifts, getting gifts, opening gifts, and returning unwanted gifts for a new TV.
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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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