November has started and shops all around us will load up their displays with Christmas gifts and decorations soon if they haven't already. In the Netherlands we first have another celebration on December 5th, called Sinterklaas. Both very traditional festivities, but parts of it are under attack for being offensive. Controversy over holiday greetings seem to resurface every year. Christmas is always seen as a time of goodwill and cheer for all, but last few years it it seen as an offense by some. The political correct side who think that Merry Christmas wishes might offend others of different faith, like Muslims or Jews or even atheists. We should say Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings instead. On the other end there are traditional Christians who say that being political correct is attacking their religious beliefs and the traditions their country is based on. To them it is just another attempt to de-Christianize society. In the United States, the battle over holiday greetings is most aggressive. Texas even passed a bill called the "Merry Christmas Bill" that protects the use and display of Merry Christmas for years to come, especially on school grounds. While the discussion in the United States is about being political correct the controversy in the Netherlands is about whether Black Peter, who is the loyal helper of Sinterklaas, is a racist outing. In literature, parades and commercial outings Black Peter appears as a black moor, usually played by white people wearing an Afro wig, black painted face and red lips. He is dressed in colorful Renaissance style clothes. He is exposed as less intelligent and he embodies stereotypes, said by some, but others emphasize his kind nature and the fact he distributes candy and sweets. While the majority of the Dutch stand by the tradition of Black Peter the Dutch government earlier this year was forced to modify the tradition because of a small minority that took offense to it. They stated that Black Peter is a tradition that is understood and perceived differently by people and that is the reason it should be adapted. Last month an Amsterdam court agreed with findings by a Dutch discrimination vetting board and a UN advisory panel that Black Peter's look is offensive. But Sinterklaas is not only celebrated in the Netherlands. One of the largest Dutch celebrations in the country takes place in British Columbia, Canada. In 2011 the Sinterklaas celebration was cancelled there because their black community took offense to it. Three days before Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands the Counsil of State will rule if Black Peter has to change it's color and form. A lot of Dutch cities await this before taking a stand if they are modifiyng Black Peter in Purple Peter or even Cheese Peter. Historians say it is a shame because 'It's a popular family event, celebrated by millions of people who want their kids to experience what they experienced as children: it's more of an emotional than a rational debate,' What is your opinion? I wish you all Merry Everything and Happy Always, just to be safe.