Holidays or HOLYdays?

October 20, 2011 | By | Comments (9)

“Ms. Slatalla, your advice on holiday hosting is not only wrong, it’s rude. First off, the holidays are HOLYdays, based on religious celebration and ritual.”

This week, a reader named loschinchi wrote to say it’s not OK to skip the prayer before Thanksgiving dinner just because praying might make guests uncomfortable, disagreeing with my Modern Manners column in Real Simple‘s November issue. In the magazine, I wrote:

  As the host, your primary job is to make your guests feel happy and relaxed. That means trying not to force feed your religious views (along with the yams and brussels sprouts) to a reluctant audience.  

Me: In other words, if nonbelievers are at your holiday table, be sensitive. Before you lead a prayer, say, “Please join me if you feel comfortable.” Or opt for a non-religious invocation instead: “We give thanks for today for friendship and the family we are lucky enough to have gathered around the table.” Or skip the formal approach and go around the table to give guests a chance to say why they feel grateful.

 loschinchi:  As a host of MANY events, it’s OUR home, we pray before every meal, and everyone is invited to join in prayer. …Not only are ALL my guests NOT OFFENDED, they are greatly appreciative of feeling part of a family and community. No one has stormed out on me yet. If they did storm out, it would be rude of THEM, but they would still be invited back. And invited to pray before a meal…again.

How do you do things at your house? Are your holidays HOLYdays? And if so, do you expect guests to participate? 

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