16 Once-Popular Holiday Practices Now Seen as Inappropriate or Harmful

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Everyone loves a charming holiday that offers a break from the daily chaos of life. These holidays accompany various traditions and customs rooted in joy and happiness. However, some past holiday practices have been scrutinized for their inappropriate nature, impact on safety, and mutual respect. Issues ranging from environmental concerns to cultural appropriation, modern-day society advocates for inclusivity, encouraging a more respectful approach.

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Fake Snow

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People often use fake snow during Christmas in regions without snow. Fake snow is made from materials such as polyacrylate polymer, which harms the ecosystem and poses health risks. Repetitive inhalation of these smaller particles results in fatal consequences in the respiratory system, especially in children. Such practices are now viewed as harmful, and alternatives, such as biodegradable snow, are being used.

Excessive Drinking

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Meeting your extended family and friends after a long time is indeed a joyous occasion, but binge drinking can lead to several problems. There is always the lingering risk of accidents and injuries under the influence of alcohol, harming oneself and others. Moreover, drinking outside, especially in foreign environments, unaware of their local laws, can put one in trouble. Other issues, such as impaired judgment or drowsy driving while returning home, may lead to possible accidents.

Inappropriate Costumes

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We all love festivals as they allow us to dress in lovely outfits, embracing the festive spirit and glutting down tasty goods. However, inappropriate customers who are explicit and revealing in nature during festivals like Halloween are not accepted. Many kids visit houses to trick or treat, and such outfits only negatively influence them. Other instances may be dressing up with offensive customers, such as blackface or as a caricature of an ethnic group.

Offensive Decorations

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Many important religious and cultural symbols are used as decorations, but using offensive ones can tarnish and ruin the meaning of festivals. Using offensive symbols and items are decorations that hate a specific ethnic, religious, or racial group disrupts harmony. Inclusive, respectful, yet fun decorations should be installed to welcome and spread love to everyone.

Ignoring Pet Safety

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During holidays, pet safety is a key concern when people burst firecrackers or dress up in costumes on the streets. There is also the danger of pets eating harmful items, like chocolates, which could be fatal.


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Littering and discarding waste management should be avoided during holidays, be it gift paper, food packets, or decorations. Plastic wrappers and waste impact the environment, causing long-term hazards as they slowly degrade. These harm the wildlife and pollute the water bodies, leading to the loss of aquatic life. Following the principle of recycling and reusing, waste should be discarded appropriately to promote a sustainable, eco-friendly environment.

Gender-Specific Work

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Assigning gender-specific work roles, such as restricting the women to sort out the cooking, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and cleaning, may contribute to inequality. Women may be great at setting up outdoor decorations and handling finances; men may be phenomenal cooks. Imposing unfair workloads or following a rigid division of labor may limit participation in the respective activities. Mutual understanding and equitable distribution of work should be practiced regardless of gender.

Cultural Appropriation

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Intentionally or unintentionally, people often misinterpret sacred and important cultural elements from various groups, which can come off as disrespectful. Examples may extend to traveling with these as customers and accessories, which may not be appreciated as it strips their meaning. Understanding the underlying meaning is critical rather than superficial imitation and turning cultural objects into party and fashion favors.

Offensive Gifts

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Distributing ‘gag’ gifts or offensive gifts for humor can ruin the spirit of gifting and are insensitive. While gifts meant to bring joy should not cause any issues, those that mock someone’s identity, beliefs, or values can cause distress. Previously, such sexist and racist gifts were not taken very seriously, but with the changing societal norms and values, they are seen as inappropriate.


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This might not be a popular opinion, but firecrackers should be eliminated to improve our environment. Green firecrackers have been launched to reduce the harmful pollutants that harm the overall air quality index. Loud firecrackers, which contribute to air pollution and affect life, should be replaced by silent ones. These use dust suppressants to reduce the emissions, which can be used to celebrate festivals and occasions.

Gender-Specific toys

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Have you ever wondered why boys are gifted the latest set of Hot Wheels while girls are gifted Barbie and kitchen sets? Gifting gender-specific toys reinforces traditional gender roles that limit individuals based on stereotypes rather than interests. Their passion and enjoyment may lie elsewhere; hence, children should receive diverse gifts. Allowing children to pick their toys will allow them to pursue their talents, boosting their development.

Drunk Driving

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The drive back after heavily partying and drinking from the club or your relative’s house may be the last ride of your life if you are not careful. Driving under the influence of substances or alcohol not only puts the driver and passengers at risk but other pedestrians on the road. While holidays may be an excellent opportunity to enjoy to the fullest, safe driving programs to avoid tragic accidents are advised now.

Mistletoe Kisses

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Previously, the tradition of mistletoe kisses was practiced, which featured kissing under the mistletoe on Christmas day at midnight. In modern times, this might create uncomfortable situations where people may feel pressured into kissing relatives under the mistletoe. This practice may become awkward in mixed settings with colleagues or acquaintances, invading personal space. Such traditions are now avoided, and other forms of greetings, such as hugs and handshakes, create a more respectable atmosphere.

Secret Santa Pressure

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Secret Santa activities, which are a popular medium of gift exchange in corporate or local settings, are still a very famous practice. However, many employees may feel pressured to spend money beyond their financial means. Furthermore, some may publicly criticize the gifts others choose as unwanted or useless, ruining the atmosphere.  While this activity may relieve stress, imitations of sending caps should be maintained.

Body Shaming

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Gatherings of the past used to be way more rowdy with explicit language, vulgar words, and insults such as body shaming. Nowadays, remarks about weight or comments about appearance, often disguised as concern or humor, are very hurtful. Only people suffering from weight issues or body dysmorphia understand the pain of body image issues. Today’s society upholds a culture of kindness and respect, where struggles are tackled and not mocked.

Bad Diets

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During holidays, everyone drops their diet and goes on a spree of overeating, devouring unhealthy food, and ignoring a healthy diet. Modern health standards advise a balance and encourage mindful eating, whether on holiday or in the daily lifestyle. Influenced by the festive mood, people ditch nutritious food options and disregard dietary needs, which may cause short-term discomfort and spoil eating habits. Excess sweets, oily food, and carbonated drinks must be consumed in moderation.

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