A “countertrend” of retailers using the word “Christmas” in their promotions was evident this season, largely in response to a campaign by Christian organizations pressing for renewed recognition of the holiday. The National Catholic Register (December 3) reports that in recent years it has become commonplace for retailers and other public institutions to avoid using the greeting “Merry Christmas,” during the holiday out of concern of giving offence in a multicultural society.
The concern about the trend became great enough that many conservative commentators took up the cause of restoring use of the term and allowing for public Christmas displays (such as fighting against the term “holiday trees”) in public places. Several Christian organizations called for a boycott of Wal-Mart, America’s largest retailer, over its “Happy Holidays” campaign that excluded mention of Christmas.
This season, Wal-Mart announced it would be using the word “Christmas” again in its marketing efforts, while Macy’s, Target, Sears, Kohls, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, A.J. Wright, and Bob’s Stores, are all once again recognizing “Christmas” as part of their holidays. Christmas activists have more recently been targeting stores such as Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond for their refusal to use Christmas. Meanwhile, legal battles are continuing over the allowance of Christmas displays in public schools and other public and government places.
(National Catholic Register, 432 Washington Ave., North Haven, CT 06473).