Hipster Christmas banners hung around The Rocks in Sydney were ordered to be replaced, as the NSW Finance Minister defended Australia’s Christmas traditions.
The banners, featuring images such as an ironic hipster model with Christmas baubles decorating his beard (below), were branded with the slogan ‘Very Merry’ – a popular hashtag on social media.
? VERY MERRY ? I Had an absolute ball shooting @therocks Christmas campaign. If you are around Darling Harbour swing over to The Rocks and have a squizz and send me a snap! MERRY CHRISTMAS! #christmas #merrychriatmas #xmas #merry #holiday #beardlife #beardmodel #beardbaubles #beard #malemodel #therocks #bearded #pogonophile #happy @winkmodels
Above: Model Shane Holloway’s instagram post of the banners featuring his photo.
Although lighthearted and contemporary in design, the NSW Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet has called for the banners to be replaced because a tax payer complained they were too politically correct. “It is Christmas. Stop spending my money (not yours) denying an Australian (and world) celebration,” wrote the offended citizen.
According to the Daily Telegraph, new banners will be hung by the end of the week saying ‘Merry Christmas’ instead.
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Christmas Shouldn’t be Watered Down, Says Dominic Perrottet
In a column in today’s Telegraph, Mr Perrottet explained his decision, saying that the Christian elements of Christmas shouldn’t be hidden: “Celebrating diversity shouldn’t mean censoring ourselves and neutering our own culture and traditions”.
While he admitted the ‘Very Merry’ slogan was probably not chosen as a conscious step to avoid the word “Christmas”, he believed it was meaningless: a “vacuous, bland platitude”. The banners were an example of society surrendering to a vocal minority, he said, and the city should more proud of Christian-based Christmas tradition.
“Instances such as this reflect the forlorn surrender of our culture to the secular zealots who, for years, have been telling us that joyfully celebrating Christmas is offensive and exclusive,” he writes. “Frankly, like many Australians, I’m sick of the tiptoeing. Sick of apologising for the good, true and beautiful elements of the country and the culture I love.”
Face of ‘Very Merry’ Campaign is a ‘Christmas Tragic’
? CLASS TREE ? When it is the students responsibility to make decorations and decorate their Christmas tree. They loved the opportunity… next year I might bring the decorations ? #tree #christmas #decorations #christmastree #xmas #merry #festive #beard #bearded #beards #pogonophile #beardlife #teacher #teacherlife #school #happy #selfie #beardedvillains #beardgang
The model who appears on the banners, Shane Holloway (above), spoke to Hope 103.2 and said that while had no creative input into the slogan or design, he thought it was going overboard to take them down and replace them.
“I simply read it as a slogan, not a replacement for ‘Merry Christmas’; more along the lines of ‘may this Christmas be very merry’,” he told Hope 103.2. “I honestly think it has been a bit blown out of proportion.”
“I am a prep teacher (5 and 6 year olds) and if you ask any of my students, I am a massive Christmas tragic. I love everything Christmas and don’t shy away from it. We all know what the banners mean, they are fun and evoke the spirit of Christmas.”
Calls For City to be Proud of Christmas
However Mr Perrottet believes it’s hypocritical for the state to celebrate other religious festivals by “lighting up the Opera House for the Hindu festival of Diwali, for example, or hosting Ramadan commemorations at Parliament House”, and yet try to water down Christmas. He said the celebration of Christ’s birth is not offensive.
“it is deeply embedded in Australian culture as the biggest holiday on the calendar.”
“It commemorates the day when Christians believe a loving God came into the world in the fragile form of a child, taking on our humanity in all of its frailty,” he wrote. “And it is deeply embedded in Australian culture as the biggest holiday on the calendar — the end of the working year and the beginning of the summer break.
“Christmas is hands-down fantastic, and it is utterly bizarre that we should feel the need to hide it away.
“Last week it was reported in the UK that a Muslim family would open their restaurant to the elderly and homeless for free meals on Christmas Day. It’s a lesson to us all: if a family who don’t even celebrate Christmas can spread Christmas joy, then it’s high time those of us who hold it dear did at least that much.”
Mr Perrottet, who is the member for the Hawkesbury electorate, is an outspoken conservative and author of articles like ‘Why We Need a Conservative Spring’.
Immigration Minister Defends Christian Traditions
Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton (above) spoke out in defense of Christmas traditions too, after hearing that a school in his electorate held an end-of-year celebration replacing all Christmas carols with secular songs.
The lyrics of We Wish You A Merry Christmas were replaced with “we wish you a happy holiday”.
Talking to 2GB radio’s Ray Hadley, Mr Dutton called it “political correctness gone mad”, according to a Fairfax report today.
“Many of the people, regardless of their religious belief, would be there happy to sing Christmas carols, happy to enjoy the fact that we celebrate Christmas as a Christian society,” Mr Dutton said. “It has gone too far.”