There was to be neither decking the halls nor furtive kisses beneath the mistletoe at Service Tasmania this December.
Someone had, for some unknown reason, decided to instruct staff to remove any Christmas decorations in Service Tasmania’s offices across the state.
That was until the Tasmanian government intervened, ordering the state service provider to bring back the decorations.
There was community outrage over Service Tasmania’s supposedly anti-Christmas crusade, as though it amounted to some kind of Stalinist crackdown.
We don’t know who it was that had the idea to remove all semblance of the festive season from the organisation’s premises – in fact, not even Premier Will Hodgman knows the identity of the mysterious bureaucrat.
And neither do we know their motivation.
So let’s not get too carried away with branding Service Tasmania as politically correct wowsers when we can’t even be sure why they decided to outlaw Christmas.
Maybe the person who made the call was taking a principled stand against businesses that start promoting Christmas in November.
Perhaps they thought decorations had become part and parcel of the more commercialised brand of Christmas, the brand that we’re almost conditioned to conflate with legitimate religious celebration.
Because, at the end of the day, do we really need to have Christmas shoved in our faces at every turn?
Customers who are complaining about the removal of the decorations should ask themselves: do I have to be constantly reminded that it’s Christmas time?
They should ask themselves: am I so precious that I require Service Tasmania, of all places – Service Tasmania! – to regale me with carols and tinsel?
After all, the next shop you walk into will almost certainly be playing a contemporary rendition of ‘Good King Wenceslas’.
There are those out there who have cried foul about religious freedoms, saying that Service Tasmania staff should be free to enjoy a time-honoured Christian tradition at this sacred time of year.
Doubtless some staff themselves were upset at the move.
But what about the staff and customers who don’t celebrate Christmas, who identify with other religions outside the Christian tradition?
Could it be that the Scrooge who outlawed Christmas at Service Tasmania was simply trying to placate as many people as possible, whether they were staff, customers or otherwise?
Should we really engage in such a colossal pile-on when it may just be that someone was trying to stay true to the teachings of Jesus Christ by taking into consideration the thoughts and feelings of the all people?
Stay with me.
Recently, I had a laugh at a very Grinch-y post from someone I have on Facebook.
“I have a massive problem about Christmas being celebrated anytime before the 18th,” the post began.
“Christmas is one day of the year, and whoever made Christmas parades, put up their Xmas trees, or celebrated Christmas in November you are an impatient selfish f******* who is trying to stretch a day at the near end to [sic] December to a near month and a half.
“Most of the time to remind family and friends that you want a present.”
I don’t think this person works at Service Tasmania but everything would probably make a lot more sense if they did.