Q: We work in the health services office of a large university with a very diverse student population. For fear of offending others, some administrators want to institute a policy that would forbid us from putting up Christmas decorations, including Santas, garlands, lights and Christmas trees, and in the spring they want no bunnies, chicks or eggs for Easter. We're not offended by other religious celebrations or their decorations, and feel anyone should be able to decorate and celebrate holidays as they see fit. What are your thoughts on the matter? -- Puzzled employees

A: In my opinion, you're right and they're wrong. Bring on the Christmas trees and Hanukah menorahs. I'm not offended by twinkling lights! I don't even wish people "Happy Holidays." I say, "Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah or Happy Winter Solstice, whichever applies." Then, instead of just passing by, I often get into an actual conversation.

Displaying crosses at work to celebrate Easter, or manger scenes during the Christmas season, does cross the line, but even these things don't make my blood boil. Let's reserve our expressions of outrage for starving kids and drive-by shootings. Merry Christmas a little early, and Happy Hanukah a little late!

NOTE FROM MG

My recent column on funny church signs generated a flood of responses. Here are some new entries in the competition:

From L.: My church once put up a sign that said, "GOD CREATED MOTHERS BECAUSE HE COULDN'T BE EVERYWHERE."

From D.: Seen outside Christ Episcopal Church in Guilford, Conn.: "PARKING FOR CHURCH BUSINESS ONLY. ALL OTHERS WILL BE SPIRITED AWAY."

From C., somewhere in South Florida: "COME AS YOU ARE. GOD WOULD HAVE YOU NO OTHER WAY." (Note from MG: Yes, but my column on sloppy dress for church received more responses than even the funny church signs column. Whatever happened to wearing your "Sunday best" to church rather than a T-shirt saying, "Honk if you want a beer"?)

From M.: I just wanted to share another sign I saw right after Pope John Paul II passed away: "REVIVAL CANCELLED DUE TO DEATH." I like the formality of the Catholic Church. I like that we don't have "catchy" signs out front. I enjoy reading other churches' slogans but they don't draw me in!

J. does not agree: On my way to work every morning, I pass a Protestant church with a catchy sign and I think what warm and happy people must congregate there. I was raised a Catholic, but when my sons were born, I raised them as Protestants. I pass this church "billboard" every day and think I might like to stop by some Sunday. The signs make me smile. One example: "DIDN'T GET WHAT YOU WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS? BE GLAD YOU DIDN'T GET WHAT YOU DESERVE."

D. wrote: I saw this sign, "GOD WANTS FULL CUSTODY, NOT JUST WEEKEND VISITS"

From S.: As long as the wisdom exceeds the wit, I don't mind the occasional good church sign. One I recently saw said, "WHEN YOU THROW MUD, YOU LOSE GROUND."

M. saw a sign in front of a Catholic Church that was unintentionally funny: "CHRIST HAS RISEN. BINGO BEGINS TODAY AT 7:30 PM."

L. wrote: The sign I liked the best read, "DON'T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE. GOD." I would reply, "Could you please do that soon?"

Another L. wrote of a sign reading, "FREE TRIP TO HEAVEN. INQUIRE WITHIN."

W., of Warsaw, N.Y., wrote: Recently, I saw two different signs at different locations. One said, "BLESS AND CURSE NOT" and the other said, "YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BEHOLD."

B., from Commack, Long Island, was on vacation in Kauai, Hawaii, and sent me pictures of two church signs: "DON'T BOTHER TO GIVE GOD INSTRUCTIONS; JUST REPORT FOR DUTY," and this one, which is deep but not funny: "NO THORNS, NO THRONE. NO GALL, NO GLORY. NO CROSS, NO CROWN."

My runner-up winner is wordless. G., of West Babylon, N.Y., sent me a photo of a church in Bay Shore, Long Island. Right next to the tall steeple on the roof was a satellite TV dish almost as tall as the steeple. G. wrote, "Talk about getting the word first hand!"

And now, my personal choice for the grand prize, from Clays Mill Road Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky.:

"WHOEVER STOLE OUR AC UNITS, KEEP ONE. IT IS HOT WHERE YOU'RE GOING"

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