Public relations should stay out of Christmas

Much talk of the PC (politically correct) Christmas this year with the media frantic in reporting/creating stories of councils and businesses abandoning the “traditional” messages. 

I think it is time that public relations, the media and marketing backed out of Christmas and allow people to approach the festivities as they see fit.  I can buy cards with Nativity scenes if I wish (or opt for sprouts, reindeer, etc) – or not bother to send them at all.  I don’t care whether offices fund or ban the tinsel and parties.  I’d be quite happy never to receive another corporate Christmas card, be informed of donations for goats in Africa or be notified of policies on accepting gifts. 

I’d like Christmas to start in December rather than August – and will never go on a “Tinsel and Turkey” break to the seaside even if I am doolally in my dotage.   

I don’t want advise on having a green Christmas – or to hear whether people are flying away to the sun or clogging up the motorways.  I’m not interested in new Christmas movies or what will be #1 in the music (or download) charts.  Although I don’t object to proper Christmas songs (whether pop or church) and will spend hours on Sunday decorating my house with ornaments that recollect many happy memories.

I want to be bah humbug if I choose – or spend time with family and friends doing whatever fits with our lifestyle, religious or agnostic preferences, bizarre traditions or whatever. 

My wish is to have some silence for Christmas – no stupid adverts or pseudo-news stories, no creative press releases or bogus corporate jollity.  More peace on Earth and less of the usual hyped up nonsense. 

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

4 thoughts on “Public relations should stay out of Christmas”

  1. Heather, I think you can do all those things, let others get on with their plans. But it is a shame when children can’t experience participating in a Nativity, when the Christian message behind Xmas cards are moved for fear of offending in our own country. Hopefully, this ridiculous PC has reached its peak now we are discussing it, and in broad agreement, and common sense will once again be restored.

  2. I agree entirely – live and let live should apply, with Christian messages allowed in cards and children able to participate in Nativity (and all other religious and even non-religious festivals) to give great memories and continue to thread common narrative in their lives.

  3. I’ve never been entirely convinced by the ‘PC campaign against Christmas’ frenzy that’s whipped up every year by certain sections of the media. A Guardian article last week looked at some of the most enduring myths – I sympathise with the press officers at Birmingham City Council! Interesting comment as well from Terry Sanderson, the president of the National Secular Society.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/christmas2006/story/0,,1967367,00.html

  4. Thank you for the link – propaganda theory shows the value of creating an outside enemy which often is a nebulous “they” (rather like “The Others” in Lost). Again, this shows the power of narrative as myths become truths through the retelling. One of my PR undergrads was “reporting” a story to the rest of the class about someone having a live cockroach cut out of their tongue – absolutely convinced it was true. Of course, it is an urban legend (http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/cockroaches/a/fear_of_licking.htm) but I bet the class have all passed it on. Something I will come back to with them in a seminar in the New Year in terms of power of story telling.

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