Rutherford Institute Issues ‘Twelve Rules of Christmas’ - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Rutherford Institute Issues ‘Twelve Rules of Christmas’

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The Rutherford Institute is sharing guidelines to try to clear up the conflict between “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.”

Forget the 12 Days of Christmas. In 2013, the 12 Rules of Christmas may be more appropriate. John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, has made a list in an effort to straighten out the do’s and don’ts of holiday greetings. And he says The Twelve Rules of Christmas are less about legal issues and more about respecting people’s rights.

"What we're seeing is sort of an epidemic of political correctness,” said John Whitehead, the institute’s president.

It’s an epidemic where mistletoe and holly are sometimes overshadowed by the fear of offending those who don't celebrate certain holidays.

"Some schools will ban Christmas trees, you can't sing Christmas carols, they're telling teachers you can't wear Christmas wreaths and those kinds of things,” Whitehead said.

But, he says, “No court has ever said you can’t celebrate Christmas.”

His guidelines touch on what is and isn't allowed in schools and the workplace.

"You can sing Christmas songs about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas songs, as long as they're all included together,” Whitehead said.

But according to the rules, you can't force someone to sing Christmas songs if it goes against their religious beliefs. And teachers can write their students Christmas cards - if it's done on their own time.

The rules say if you’re trying to spread some Christmas cheer at work, that's fine as long as you aren’t doing it to harass someone.

Even after writing the list, Whitehead says the most important thing is to enjoy the holiday season.

"This time of year should be fun. I want people to have fun and not get caught up. It's not illegal to do any of these things,” he said.

According to the Rutherford Institute, there have not been any complaints in the Charlottesville area.

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