mathNEWS Issue 90.6: Friday, November 29, 2002

I'll be home for err ...

I don't know if it's just me, or if it's the air in Nathan Phillips Square, but once again Toronto city officials have made an odd decision. The tree that stands in the square for the remainder of the year is now called a "Holiday Tree". I know the officials are trying not to offend anyone, but by renaming the tree, it just isn't the same. The last time I checked, Christmas is an official holiday. If we can't call a Christmas tree by name, then technically Christmas decorations should not be allowed in any government building.

The thinking that language should be all-inclusive is well-intentioned, but sometimes with the wording of festivals, the meaning can be lost during that pursuit. I am not saying that we go back to the 1950's, but there are some things that are better off left alone.

Maybe I offended someone in the earlier paragraph, so I decided to try to devise names of special days that don't offend anyone. Remember that this is a crude attempt and some of them may be very awkward.

If the above list looks silly, you probably are right. If you are offended by any of the above renamed special days, then I guess I haven't tried hard enough. Anyway, good luck in your exams and Merry Christmas ... no, Seasons' Greetings ... Happy Holidays ... I don't know what to say. Maybe "Enjoy your between-term Break".

Jason "the Screamer" Lau

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