Around here, we are in full on holiday mode: we have the office Christmas tree decorated, we have the secret Santa assignments, and we are always on the search for great holiday music.
But this season means different things to different people. What started out as a Christian holiday has become a much broader social experience. And it is important to for those of us who do identify themselves as Christians to recognize that everyone else may not be into the more religious aspects of the holiday. Especially when it comes to business. Watch this video to find out what can happen when you mix religion and profit.
Michael’s Tasting Room in St. Augustine, Florida is a very hip dining establishment. And this time of year, they, like so many other businesses in our country, gussy themselves up for the holiday season. Along with the decorations and seasonal menu items, they also play Christmas music. No problems so far, right?
Well, last week, owner Michael Lugo posted a picture to the restaurant’s Facebook page. The picture was of a “suggestion” left by a diner who thought the music may have gone too far in the religious direction.
Sure, there are Christmas songs that are religious. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” and “Silent Night” are favorites. But apparently, at least one of Lugo’s customers would have preferred the more secular “Frosty The Snowman,” and “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” to “We Three Kings.”
Lugo shared the note, which read “Christmas music was offensive. Consider playing ‘holiday’ music or less religious themed.”
Along with the picture, he left the comment “Really…what’s wrong with people.”
So, after posting this to his Facebook page, he got lots of responses, with people saying things like:
“I saw this on FOX 13 in Tampa and I am shocked to see someone write something like this. I’m sorry, but the Christmas season is an American tradition, so get used to it. If any part of the Christmas season including Christmas music offends you in any way, move out of the country, preferably to a country where Christmas is not celebrated. Keep playing the Christmas music! MERRY CHRISTMAS!”- Edward Ringwald
“I am grateful for this note! Because of this note, I now know about your restaurant and I will definitely support you! We are in DeLand and enjoy our day trips to St. Augustine. So brush this note off and know you have gained more customers because of it.”- Victoria Watson Longo
“Merry Christmas!! If the customer is so offended he can go to Syria where they don’t play anything Christian or Jewish there. I think he might be a lot happier there!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! O HOLY NIGHT!! SILENT NIGHT!! O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM!! HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING!! OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL!! AWAY IN A MANGER”- Anna Gioia
But at least a few people were not so sure that the patron was wrong. Here is the flip side from social media:
“Maybe they’re tired of Christmas music? Everywhere they go? From everyone trying to sell them something? Because, you’re a business using Christmas spirit to make a buck and divide your patrons? Where’s you Christmas spirit? Why did you post this except to spread anger?”- Kevin Martin
“Of course you can play what you like. Or you can understand that Christians aren’t the only ones who are American, aren’t your only customers, and that to someone who isn’t Christian, it gets really old to have the air waves taken over by someone else’s religion. They didn’t say stop it all together, though, they just suggested lighter holiday music. It would do America good to understand that being something other than Christian is not un-American. It is precisely our freedom of religion that allows you and everyone else to be what you are.”- Shawn Walton
Do you own a business? What kinds of special things do you do at the holidays? Share your ideas with us here.