Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A few thoughts on the coming season....

If you're like me, you've noticed lately that Christmas has all but disappeared in the retail world - replaced with the generic term, Holiday, as in Holiday Trees, Holiday cards, Holiday decorations. Of course there's nothing wrong with Holidays but it does move us away from thoughts of what Christmas is all about - the "Reason for the Season."

I have noticed in some places they have deliberately added Hanukkah in their marketing. I think that's great, but don't mention that one by name while eliminating Christmas. It's OK to acknowledge both (and all other) occasions.
I don't think we should water down all tradition to the point the origin disappears. We can celebrate all varieties of beliefs and customs. We should be able to have Christmas parties and carols sung at school - even those songs with the traditional "real" messages. And we can also teach the children about others' beliefs and sing their songs. Why are we afraid of Christian traditions? In the name of freedom of religion we have come to accept that this must mean America is free from Religion.

Home Depot responded to an appeal by the AFA:

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. As we discussed, The Home Depot has not censored Christmas. The Home Depot has and will continue to include the word "Christmas" in a variety of communication efforts, including advertising, store banners, our Web site and point of purchase displays near such items as Christmas trees.

We also use the word "holiday" in our outreach to customers, as many of our store displays and other marketing efforts cover more than one holiday from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and stay in place throughout the entire holiday season from November through January.

With that said, we are adjusting our Web site to make “Christmas” more prominent and to make our site more aligned with our advertising and point-of-sale in-store signage
. Customers will start seeing the adjustments later this week.
I applaud Home Depot and others who aren't afraid to use the word, Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. I realize that I'm late to this party. Sorry. But I do need to comment. Bill O'Reilly is credited as the guy who got everyone upset about the "War on Christmas". He's a nutjob, and his employment relies on getting people excited about controversial issues.

    Consider that the holiday season includes Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and other religious and cultural celebrations. To term it "The Christmas Season" would be inaccurate for retailers as they are targeting more than just Christians.

    The issue is even bigger in public schools where the December Dilemma is faced every year: teach about the religious and cultural celebrations while remaining true to the constitutional requirement of remaining religiously unbiased.

    It reminds me of when BYU shut down their women's gymnastics program because they didn't have a men's gymnastics program and that got them in trouble with their athletic conference (WAC? I forget) because that's unfair to guys. But they couldn't find enough guys interested in gymnastics, nor sponsors to fund men's gymnastics, so they had to shut down the women's team in order to obey the rules. I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the switch from WAC.

    Anyway, how do you teach unbiased religious celebrations without teaching the songs of all of those cultures, even if there isn't anyone in the class/school/district familiar with the other religions? (That there aren't any Jews in a particular school/class/district isn't the point. There doesn't have to be for the sole observation of Christmas to be unbalanced.) In order to teach all the songs of all of the religions that celebrate at that time of year you would have to do nothing but music time in December. Hardly fair.

    Is the system perfect? Not even close. But keep it in perspective with the problems they face, instead of just criticizing the way they've handled it. I mean every retailer operates in fear of litigation from the religious if they don't mention Christmas, and the athiests if they do. Christians creating an uproar because a retailer didn't mention Christmas in an ad just makes the situation worse. Spread the Word through your own efforts, without trying to force corporations to do it for you.

    (I'm using the universal/generic "you" here.)

    - Jon


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