It’s that time of year when the greatest hits get played on a loop. 

We’ve heard them all a million times, but those festive classics never get old. 

‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey. ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham. ‘You’re Not Allowed To Call It Christmas Anymore Because Of Woke Snowflakes’ by The Right-Wing Grifters.

Who’s manufacturing the outrage this year?

The Telegraph ran a story with the headline “Call your Christmas parties ‘festive celebrations’, civil servants told”, in which they report "civil servants have been told they must refer to their Christmas parties as ‘festive celebrations’."

Is this mandatory?

The story says: “it is understood a government-wide policy on Christmas has not been issued, but that individual managers have interpreted diversity and inclusion advice to mean that the traditional office party should not take place.”

In other words, it’s not mandatory. 

READ MORE: LadBaby Martin Lewis Band Aid cover is another cynical ego boost

Does the story at any point say that staff will be reprimanded for saying the word ‘Christmas’?


Has that stopped the usual suspects exploiting the story in order to stoke another culture war and boost their profiles?


Who’s debasing themselves for clout this time?

Darren Grimes, a right-wing pundit whose GB News show was recently cancelled, tweeted: “If anyone gets upset at our nation’s use of ‘Christmas time’ instead of ‘festive period’, they’re welcome to sod off elsewhere.” 

The Herald: 'These pundits tap into the prejudices of their audience with dog-whistle talking points''These pundits tap into the prejudices of their audience with dog-whistle talking points' (Image: PA Images)

Billionaire and former Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, meanwhile, went with: “I shall continue to wish everyone a happy Christmas and will not change this to a happy festive season…”

There was also a diatribe from Julia Hartley-Brewer on TalkTV, in which she said: “It’s not a ‘festive celebration’, it’s Christmas! Who are the people getting offended by this?”

So, who are the people getting offended by this?

Fictional people. Neither the writer or the reader of this article will have ever encountered anyone who’s genuinely offended by the term ‘Christmas’.

In January 2020, a Twitter user calling themselves ‘Rat Burglar’ perfectly described this phenomenon, saying: “Twitter is 90% someone imagining a guy, tricking themselves into believing that guy exists and then getting mad about it.”

That applies almost perfectly to the ‘can’t say Christmas anymore’ types, but there’s a more cynical element at play here. 

READ MORE: Harry and Meghan Netflix documentary is annoying all the right people

These stories don’t involve people saying ‘you’re not allowed to say Christmas’. They’re always centred around an attempt to be more inclusive.

It’s not ‘you’re sacked for saying Christmas’, it’s ‘not everyone in this workplace or institution celebrates Christmas, so we’re suggesting some less specific language’.

These pundits know that. It’s all part of the grift. Tap into the prejudices of your audience with these dog-whistle talking points regarding the people within British society who don’t celebrate Christmas, and they’ll keep buying your paper, watching your show or boosting your online engagement stats.

READ MORE: RMT leader Mick Lynch maintains dignity during Richard Madeley rant

You’ve just used the word ‘Christmas’ in your headline.

We’ve been subjected to ‘you can’t call it Christmas anymore’ lies for years, but all the while, people continue to say the word ‘Christmas’ with precisely zero repercussions. No-one of any colour or creed actually has any problem with the word. 

What happens next?

According to my ‘Culture War’ calendar, we’re due some subtly homophobic ‘they’ve censored Fairytale of New York’ discourse any day now.