As you know, Mom’s book — Good Tidings and Great Joy — includes yummy recipes, personal stories about our old bear stockings, and her take on about faith in America.
In one chapter, she writes about how some stores wish customers a “Happy Holidays” instead of a “Merry Christmas,” to make sure no one is offended. Here’s a little of what she says:
Christmas sales are good and vital to the health of retailers, and the prosperity of their employees. I don’t resent good marketing.
But the store gets it wrong with this generic response. Dave Barry pointed out the lunacy of the bland terms, when he wrote, “These days, people say ‘Season’s Greetings,’ which, when you think about it, means nothing. It’s like walking up to somebody and saying ‘Appropriate Remark in a loud, cheerful voice.’ But ‘Season’s Greetings’ is safer, because it does not refer to any actual religion. Some day, I imagine, even ‘Season’s Greetings’ will be considered too religious, and we’ll celebrate the Holiday Season by saying ‘Have a nice day.’”
I think what he’s trying to say is that the “all things to all people” philosophy isn’t as all-encompassing or neutral as these stores believe.
As my parents taught me, words matter.
Apparently The Gap recently made the American Family Association’s “nice list.” According to AFA’s Randy Sharp about 80% of stores used to ignore the word “Christmas” in ads. But things seem to be changing:
“We began working with GAP and Old Navy about five years ago when they adamantly refused to use the term ‘Christmas’ in any of their seasonal advertising.”
For that reason, AFA called for a boycott of the stores during the Christmas shopping season last year. It appears the pro-family group’s persistence has paid off.
“This week the American Family Association received a personal letter from Bill Chandler, who is the executive vice president for global corporate affairs at GAP Incorporated,” states Sharp, “and he is proud to let us know that this year things are different at GAP and Old Navy.”
According to that letter, evidence of the turnaround will be seen in Christmas themes and signs in GAP’s stores and “Christmas” sales. AFA applauds GAP for that decision.
“There are stickers and signs inside the windows of every single store saying ‘Merry Christmas.’ They’re planning Christmas-themed sales. They’re going to use the term ‘Christmas’ exclusively throughout the season. So it’s a huge victory for Christian families who want to do shopping with stores that recognize Christ is the center of the season and use ‘Christmas’ in their advertising.”
Way to go, Gap! And Merry Christmas to you, too.