No Tannenbaum? The Case For and Against Christmas Trees in the Office

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Should Christmas trees be allowed in the office?
Atlantic correspondent Marty Nemko asked, and you responded. Hundreds of you, in fact, in our comment section and online poll. In the end, the vast majority -- north of 80 percent -- responded that yes, Christmas trees should be allowed in the office. Here are some of the best responses. Leave your reactions in the comment section, and we'll publish the best ones over the weekend.

Some of the sharpest responses drew a distinction between the religious holiday and the secular celebration:

Christmas trees are an American tradition. There is no religious significance to them. People need to separate Christian nonsense from Santa Claus. I see no problem with holiday decorations like trees, snowmen and candy canes.

But others pointed out that a, um, Christmas tree does implicitly support a religion, even if the endorsement feels innocuous:

Although Christmas is widely celebrated in the US, such celebrations in the workplace have the effect of endorsing the Christian employees while alienating non-Christians and non-theists.

Quit a few of you identified the debate as political correctness run amok:

If someone complains about Xmas observance at your workplace, the real fault was not ferreting out this glaring inability to work with others during the hiring interviews.

Find that person an appropriate workplace at a spot that both fits within your personal conscience and is legal, yet assures that they will look for another job. 

And some of you chose to focus on the practical logistics of moving a large plant in and out of a crowded office:

There is not enough space for real trees and it can become to messy and time consuming. A tree in a lobby is okay if it is maintained and kept clean.

Finally, quite a few of our online voters voted to hold a vote. Some people just love voting, I guess.

The office should vote on it if they would like trees in their office. Every office place is different with different people with different ideas. LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE.


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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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