No joy in non-Christmas greeting

Photo: Gregor Richardson
Photo: Gregor Richardson
Oh my goodness, what has this column unleashed with its criticism of the "Happy Holidays'' wrapper around the base of the Christmas tree in Dunedin's Octagon?

The Americanisation of our traditional Christmas message, and the desire not to offend certain groups - or not to put even the merest suggestion of any soupcon of a possibly politically incorrect misdemeanour into someone's brain - have really riled some of you.

Anne Marie Parsons, of Kaikorai, wants to pay to have the banner changed to the more usual "Merry Christmas''.

She asked the Dunedin City Council how much it would cost and was told $1400.

"I'm a beneficiary and I can't afford that but I'm prepared to pay to get it changed. It's purely American - nothing to do with anything from this country.''

Hold on to your money, Anne Marie. There may be others out there with a larger disposable income who wish to pay for a new wrapper.

Chris Hinch, of Dunedin, suggests better use could be made of the other sides of the tree base.

"Instead of trying to find a single message that seems to please no-one, perhaps the DCC could come up with four different messages?''

Philippa O'Neill, of Roslyn, says she has sent the council a DCC Fix-o-Gram for leaving the "Merry Christmas'' off, so it should be remedied in no time.

And Paul O'Neill, of Roslyn - who shares the same email address as Philippa, should you wish to know - says he is "totally underwhelmed, nay offended, by my elected representatives' wishes for a neutered Christmas''.

Neil Burrow, of Dunedin, points out sensibly "we do not all have holidays at this time of the year'' and wants to know ``what is going on in our town hall?''.

Joan Gillespie, of Mosgiel, doesn't beat about the bush with her view: "No Christmas, so therefore no presents, so retailers won't like that. What's the sense of having a holiday tree?''

Macandrew Bay resident Tom Phillips suggests the city council design a banner saying "Have a Joyful Christmas'' and also design and stage a nativity scene in the Octagon.

"We have plenty of creative talent in this city to design a unique one,'' he says.

The heatwave

I probably wouldn't make many new friends in Dunedin by suggesting there may have been more warm, sunny days in the city in the past couple of weeks than in an average summer. So I won't mention it. There, I got away with it.

But it has been a quite extraordinary run of settled anticyclonic weather. I'm not really a fan of the heat and am a little tired of my clothes sticking to me. Sounds like things are going to change a bit today, with a coolish change and even the chance of a few showers before the heat returns towards the end of the week.

Talking about the weather, the number of lightning strikes last week was incredible. I really like this graphic from the MetService and Transpower showing where the storms were. Just goes to show that a large anticyclone does not necessarily mean fine weather everywhere.

And while I'm on the weather, some agencies are predicting a warm to very warm and dry summer in Otago. Just to be contrary, I'd like to state now I disagree and reckon the weather could well be pretty average over the three-month period. I have no scientific basis for my opinion, just gut feeling. Get back to me towards the end of February.

Quick annoyance

Anyone else find courier drivers irritating and impatient in the extreme? Got overtaken on the left by a courier van along Memorial Ave in Christchurch at the weekend. I was doing the 60kmh limit. The courier must have been going at least 70kmh.

I wanted to change the "I stop often'' logo on the back of the van to ``I speed often''.

Any ideas where this is?

Dorothy Mutton sent this old photo to the ODT online team, asking if readers think this view from the 1930s was taken in Dunedin. We initially thought St Clair but now we’re not so sure.

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'Christmas' is 'Christ Mass'. That is what it means. Mass, or communion..If a Mass, St Pats. If a Communion, St Paul's.

Buy stuff at 'Mass.

I'm with Tom Phillips. Can't we just step up and acknowledge the origins of Christmas and wish everyone happiness and peace? How could that cause offence - really??!!
Neil Burrow; there are church services held on Sundays in the Glenroy Auditorium.... is that what you are asking about? I'm sure you would be most welcome to take a look!

Silly PC again