The Gap Hates Christmas, Say Christians with Tunnel Vision

I mentioned a week ago that Liberty Counsel (a Christian group) put out their annual list of “Naughty & Nice” places to shop. “Naughty” were places that said things like “Happy Holidays.” “Nice” were placed that prominently displayed “Christmas” at the expense of everything else.

The Gap is mentioned among the “Naughty” places.

Gap – Web site: No mention of “Christmas.” Search revealed six non-Gap manufacturers? items that included “Christmas.” “Go Ho Ho” TV Commercial: Lighthearted but mentions several unrelated holidays. National boycott because the company repeatedly seeks to profit from “CHRISTmas” yet continues to offend Christians.

The emphasis is mine.

That commercial is below.

Please note the anti-Christian bigotry.



The lyrics:

Two, Four, Six, Eight, now’s the time to liberate
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.

Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, go whatever holiday you wanukkah.

The American Family Association is thrilled that Christmas is now mentioned in the ads and they’re now asking their followers to stop boycotting the store.

I’m just kidding.

Now, they’re even more pissed off.

AFA believes this ad to be completely dismissive and disrespectful to those who celebrate the meaning and spirit of Christmas. AFA asked Gap for a meeting to discuss the ad, but Gap has not responded.

If this is Gap’s answer to recognizing Christmas, we are deeply disappointed.

What. The. Hell.

They won’t settle for anything less than a commercial that says, “Fuck the Jews,” will they?

Dan Neil of the Los Angeles Times has the same reaction as so many of us:

It would be easy to get sidetracked into debating the merits of the War on Christmas. Why, for example, is the phrase “Happy holidays” so insufferable to Christian fundamentalists, but not the vulgar, surfeiting exploitation of Christ’s name to sell smokeless ashtrays, dessert toppings, Droid phones and trampolines? I’m not a theologian but I think the Gospels are pretty clear that Jesus was no fan of merchants.

But here’s the real question: Why attack Gap for not using the word “Christmas” in its advertising when in fact it does, and in a big way too?

When will Christian pastors tell their congregations not to support groups like AFA? Saving them the wasted money seems like a perfect holiday gift this season.

(Thanks to Jessica for the link!)

***Update***: muggle left a comment that deserves some attention:

… [The Gap's] customer service number (I didn’t find an e-mail) is 1-800-427-7895. Select more options then feedback to get a live person.

You have to pick on-line or in-store so I just picked on-line and talked to a very polite woman who I think was delightfully surprised to hear my praise for an all inclusive commercial. You could hear the fatigue in her voice when I said I was calling about the commercial and you could hear it disappear when I went on to praise them for having such a great commercial and that I appreciated their being all-inclusive of everyone. I even told her I don’t normally shop at Gap but I got my daughter and grandson matching t-shirts and will now go to Gap to get them jeans. I even told her to pass my comments along and be sure to tell them to stick by their guns and not give into AFA pressure. She was very pleasant and thanked me for the call.

Call and give support for this ad and if you’re going to make a purchase because of it, let them know. Best way we can counter this war on Christmas nonsense.


  • Beckster

    How dare anyone but true god-fearing christians have fun in December!

  • Matt

    Maybe they would be pleased if the ads said nothing but “Christmas”? As much as they may detest this fact, there are other holidays that are celebrated around December. Therefore, “Happy Holidays” is a general way to acknowledge all of the diverse celebrations coming up without listing all of them off in a short commercial.

  • alex

    AFA looks like a bunch of people with nothing better to do with their lives. I seriously feel sorry for them. Even though I do understand that it’s not just them, they are representative of this mindset enough.

    Oh, and also: why doesn’t the ad mention the New Year? As a godless commie, I am deeply offended by this. :-p

  • http://doubtfuldaughter.wordpress.com/ Doubtful Daughter

    Don’t you know Christmas is the only real holiday mentioned in there? They are offended because the other holidays are fake and made up.

    I think it’s a pretty good ad as far as an attempt to be inclusive. Growing up Catholic I never really thought before about how in-your-face the Christian holidays can seem to those of other faiths.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gettingfreeftw gettingfree

    Gap isn’t normally on my gift-shopping list, but now I feel compelled to buy from them in support.

    And as I shop, I can bask in the warm glow of the light of ever-increasing secularization in pop-culture. Go Gap!!

  • martin

    So is their next plan of attack to move the Winter Solstice since it interferes with celebrating the birth of Christ? How dare they mention it in an ad along with Christmas, or even at all!!!

    BTW, I love how on their site they take the credit for Gap making the ad, like they are some important group that real shoppers even listen to.

  • muggle

    What a wonderful commercial!

    Not only am I going to drop them an e-mail to tell them so, I am going to make a point of buying something for the grandson and daughter from them this year. I already got them the matching I Love Cheeses t-shirts that someone had linked on the t-shirt thread. Maybe I’ll toss in a couple of pairs of more-expensive-than-we-usually-get jeans too. After all, it’s the time of year to treat those we love.

    Hell, I’m in bad need of some jeans myself.

  • JD

    Fundies are a sad parody of their religion.

    If you want to tweak them, use X-mas in the place of Christmas. You’re bound to offend some of them, particularly as most Christians seem ignorant that “X” (more accurately, the Greek letter chi) was historically used by Christians as an abbreviation for Christ.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Maybe the fundies wanted The Gap to mention Christmas first. Wait… Christmas is mentioned first. Never mind.

  • http://www.distant-angel.co.uk Kris

    We hear so much whining about the whole “Happy Holidays” thing from Christians with nothing better to do, but we never hear from those who celebrate other holidays at this time of year. This is particularly remarkable when you consider they have a far greater right to be upset because their holidays were around long before Christianity, and have largely been subsumed by the relentless stomp of Christ Inc.

    I reckon a company that makes sex-toys should do the most Christian ad possible, just to see how they’d cope with it :) Cue the jingle: “Christmas christmas christmas christmas christmas jesus jesus christmas christmas jesus jesus christmas christmas dildo christmas christmas christmas jesus jesus jesus – for use within the context of a loving marriage only – christmas christmas jesus jesus christmas christmas”

  • Matt

    This “War on Christmas” is a bunch of exaggerated nonsense to energize the flock. I love how they take credit for The Gap supposedly changing their ad, despite the fact that stores normally have multiple ads for certain events. Seriously. I’m sure The Gap is so concerned about what this obsessive group has to say about the supposed War on Christmas.

    I guess some Christians aren’t able to acknowledge that other holidays are celebrated around the same time. It’s a smart strategy to say “Happy Holidays” if you’re directing that comment to a religiously diverse audience. Like they would understand.

  • atimetorend

    Wait, what about the plastic tree manufacturers? “Go plant a tree”??? What’s with that and where are the righteous protests?

  • http://angelofharlots.blogspot.com N

    I saw this commercial and my first thought was that a bunch of people are going to be pissed off that they mentioned holidays other than Christmas.

    My second thought was how cool that they mentioned Solstice, which is an actual astronomical event.

    I may have to do my holiday shopping at Gap this year.

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    It’s simple: everyone, whether Christian or not, needs to only mention Christian related holidays and nothing else. Ever. It’s a pretty simple request and completely understandable.

  • Valdyr

    Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest … with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold. Jeremiah 10:2-4

    The AFA should protest bookstores that sell the ultimate text in the War on Christmas: the Bible.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    As the cross merely symbolizes a burial site (for all), Christmas merely symbolizes the religious winter holiday (for all) acording to Justice Scalia’s logic.

  • Ugh

    So typical it’s hardly even worth the trouble but I feel like commenting anyway.

    The mere IDEA that some people believe different things is extremely offensive and appalling to these people.

    Classic case of “our way, or the highway.”

  • muggle

    FYI: (yes, I ran over to their site)

    gap.com is having 25% off on-line sales until 11/22.

    and their customer service number (I didn’t find an e-mail) is 1-800-427-7895. Select more options then feedback to get a live person.

    You have to pick on-line or in-store so I just picked on-line and talked to a very polite woman who I think was delightfully surprised to hear my praise for an all inclusive commercial. You could hear the fatigue in her voice when I said I was calling about the commercial and you could hear it disappear when I went on to praise them for having such a great commercial and that I appreciated their being all-inclusive of everyone. I even told her I don’t normally shop at Gap but I got my daughter and grandson matching t-shirts and will now go to Gap to get them jeans. I even told her to pass my comments along and be sure to tell them to stick by their guns and not give into AFA pressure. She was very pleasant and thanked me for the call.

    Call and give support for this ad and if you’re going to make a purchase because of it, let them know. Best way we can counter this war on Christmas nonsense.

  • Ugh

    @muggle

    I really do feel sorry for CS people.

  • Colin

    This commercial is in near constant rotation here, but at least its good. Kind of like their khakis commercial… impressive choreography.

    And Christmas gets top billing! You know that if they had put Christmas last in their list, they would be complaining about that. I appreciate the shout out to solstice, though.

    Anyway, maybe there is a god… my prayers have been answered. It seems like my most cherished fashion trend of the 90′s, flannel, is back in style! I’ll have to pick up a few and wear them until they are once again badly out of date.

  • JJR

    They forgot Happy Saturnalia…

    Still trying to think of a clever punchline with (God of the) GAP[s]….

    Anyway, good job w/ the commercial, GAP.

    Almost as good as Verizon’s Christmahanukwanzica, which cracks me up every time.

  • http://MERESKEPTICISM.BLOGSPOT.COM STACY

    I made the man of the house rewind when he forwarded thru this commercial on the DVR last night. I love it! I was hoping that the lyrics were “Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go WITHOUT a tree”, so I could explain to my kids why we aren’t having a tree this year. :)

  • Kelley

    I just sent this email to their Advertising/Marketing department:

    I just wanted to drop you a note (whoever you are, reading this behind the customer service scenes at Gap) to say that I absolutely ADORE your new Holiday ad campaign. What a great way to acknowledge the holiday season inclusively while staying light-hearted and joyful. I’m a broke-as-a-joke college student, so I won’t be buying much this holiday season, but the next time I have the cash to spare and need some new clothes, I will definitely go out of my way to shop at the Gap.

    Thanks for the excellence and creativity. Love it.

    I’m sure they’ll be getting plenty of nasty feedback from the crazier more extreme side of the rabid religious right, so if you appreciate the ad and want to let Gap know, maybe consider shooting them an email: custserv@gap.com

    Put Marketing and Advertising in the subject line.

  • Cherilyn

    I actually love this commercial for its all inclusiveness (hey, it even includes the pagans! go solstice!). I dont see how anyone can be offended by it… basically they are offended because it doesnt ONLY mention christmas because anything else is an attack on christians. Righttttt *headpalm*

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com Eamon Knight

    Just another example of what Fred Clark (a throughly enlightened guy, aside from the god-and-Jesus bit ;-) ) calls the Paradox of the Persecuted Hegemon — the folks who cry persecution whenever they’re not given unquestioned pride of place.

    As it happens, we encountered a sheaf of old, um, holiday cards the other day, among the jetsam from my wife’s (Jewish) grandparents’ house (you know: boxes of crap that you stick in the basement and ignore for a decade or so). Her Zaide died in 1985, and the cards range from then all the way back to the 60s. I can therefore confirm with documentary evidence what my own memory tells me: “Happy Holidays”, “Seasons Greetings” etc. have been around since long before Bill-O and the AFA noticed the affront to their rightsprivilege.

  • martin

    I sent an email showing my gratitude, also, I usually don’t like to wear clothes with the companies name on it in huge letters, but this year I might just go out of my way to pick up a GAP sweatshirt with GAP in huge letters because of this ad!!

  • martin

    OK, I was looking at the AFA site and they have a form to send your letter to GAP about their holiday advertising. I think it would be great if we all use their form to contact GAP and tell them what a great job they did this year to be inclusive!

    Here is a link to their contact form.
    https://secure.afa.net/afa/activism/TakeAction.asp?id=280

    I played with the wording they had in their template and came up with this.

    Dear Chairman Murphy:

    It is very unfortunate that the AFA feels the need to publicly “boycot” GAP because GAP has decided to include everyone this holiday season and not just the Christians.
    Your actions to include many holidays that take place during the “christmas” season give me a reason to go about shopping in Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores. I will also alert my family and friends about your practice and how they should support the efforts by you and your advertising team to be inclusive of everyone despite what beliefs they may hold. There are many stores that recognize Christmas only and fall prey to the intolerant practices used by groups such as the AFA and I commend your group for not succumbing to this fear mongering. I am glad an open-minded tolerant company like GAP and its affiliates will appreciate my business.

  • Mary

    I called them up and thanked the customer service gal for the all-inclusive commercial. She said, “Oh, well that’s an unusual one. Let me pull up my feedback form.” I went on to tell her that I appreciated that they even included solstice for us non-believers. She was very nice. :) I actually noticed this commercial the first time I saw it and thought it was great! I also knew right away that the Christians would not be so impressed. *sigh*

  • Polly

    We noticed this particular commercial and – as interruptions go – it’s a good one.
    My wife, not being one of those Xians blessed with a persecution complex, thinks it’s great that they advertised inclusively.

    I thought this:

    Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,

    said “don’t have a tree” at the end. That would fit better with the arm gestures at that point.

    In the back of my mind I had a suspicion that this would give someone a shit-fit.

  • ChrisZ

    Being inclusive and everything is nice, but I think this is one of the most annoying commercials I have ever had to listen to. I have to mute it every time it comes on. I just can’t take the chanting. Not sure if it’s the rhythm or just the lack of tonality or something else, but I want to never hear this ad again.

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    I’m supporting the GAP why? Because some group of morons thinks their ads aren’t Christmasy enough? I imagine that in a free country the Liberty Counsel has the right to shop wherever the hell they want, and that the GAP has the right to annoy me with any commercial they want, but I don’t see that I should care a great deal about empty headed culture warriors or the pointless and annoying commercials that offend them.

  • Sakura

    Following Kelley’s advice on sending an email (as I’m at work and have other phone calls to attend to), I sent an email to the marketing department praising their inclusiveness in this ad. Way to go GAP!!

  • muggle

    Me too, Ugh, me too. I’ve worked customer service enough to know it can be the pits. They take a lot of crap for shit that ain’t their fault.

    I screwed up entering my credit card on-line and had to call to place the order. When an even nicer than the first one asked at the end if there was anything else (and, yes, they made sure I got the discount and free shipping) I reiterated that I was buying specifically because of the ad. She too pulled up a comment form to forward my message along. So that’s two from me.

    DD, because those are the kind of merchants we want available, not those that can be bullied into giving preference to Christians. I was a Target shopper long before Target got targeted by them a couple of years ago for saying happy holidays instead of merry christmas and it only made me glad I choose them regularly over Walmarts.

    Gap is expensive so not everyone can afford to and I usually don’t shop there because of price and because a bit too plain for my taste. (I came of age in the ’70′s; what’s that tell you?) But I went on-line and got a nice pair of jeans for my daughter and my grandson. I feel lucky to be able to. Not everyone can and, honestly, I couldn’t do much more than the two pairs.

    But I do pay attention to who favors Christians and uses their money to further Christian political agendas and will pay more to stay away from them even if it means going without. After all, I’d much rather go without things than freedom. I don’t shop Walmart’s or buy Domino’s Pizza for exactly that reason. Well, Walmart’s also because of how they treat their employees. All retail is bad but they take it to horrorible levels. I’m damned if I’ll support oppression.

    My shopping dollars may or may not make a difference in the big picture. Honestly, who knows? But in any case, my money is not going to support businesses who would gladly oppress me, at least where I know of it and can help it.

    Kelley, thanks for providing the e-mail and excellent note. Same to you, Martin, and I love the way you amended that!

  • martin

    OK, it seems you should ignore the site I put up. Probably outdated but it just sent me a delivery notification that it has been delayed so no go there.

  • http://seangill-insidemyhead.blogspot.com/ SeanG

    I’m offended by christians waging war on my Newtonmas celebration :-P

    Despite the solstice nod I still don’t think I can bring myself to shop at the GAP. I can barely tolerate setting foot in a shopping mall.

  • Siamang

    Geez, the ‘War on Christmas’ season seems to start earlier each year.

    Can’t we enjoy the ‘War on Thanksgiving’ before being bombarded with this stuff?

  • Sakura

    I received a reply from GAP:

    Dear Sakura,

    Thank you for your e-mail and compliments on our recent marketing
    campaign. We really do work hard to bring our customers innovative and
    entertaining advertising, and praise like yours encourages us to keep
    doing our best. As you noticed, we aim to appeal to a broad
    cross-section of consumers and be respectful of a variety of traditions
    and faiths during the holiday season. We value all feedback we receive,
    and appreciate the
    time you took to share your thoughts with us. We will be happy to pass
    your comments on to our creative team.

    We look forward to shopping with you soon at gap.com.

    If we may be of further assistance, please contact us via e-mail at
    custserv@gap.com or by calling 1-800-GAP-STYLE. Our Customer Service
    Consultants are available 24 hours a day for your convenience.

    Sincerely,

    Lesly
    Customer Service Consultant

    Apparently the positive feedback is helping!!

  • Michael

    Like I’ve been saying for quite a long time…… It’s time to start telling the Kristian worms to crawl back under their rocks!!!

  • ichabod’s cranium

    Heck yeah, come on.
    It’s clearly Kwanza, Hanukkah, & the winter solstice that drive sales during the winter months. Christmas is just one forth of that 4 cylinder machine that is diversity during the holiday season.

    And if you believe that you’re one of the deluded sheep agreeing with the kind atheist.

  • Menyambal

    Erm, does anyone remember Thanksgiving, the semi-religious holiday next week? The Christians claim that holiday, too, and worship the Pilgrims as the moral founders of this country. But they forget that the Pilgrims hated Christmas and all its pagan trappings. They also forget that the Puritans who stayed in England cut the head off King James’s son, and would have nothing to do with his version of the Bible.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gettingfreeftw gettingfree

    @ichabod’s cranium
    “over one in five Americans age 18 to 25 identify with no religion” (http://thenewhumanism.org/authors/greg-epstein/articles/why-the-new-humanism)

    So actually, they do need to start marketing to a variety of view points.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    Ugh, don’t get me started on the AFA. They are the least Christian of Christian groups, protesting and boycotting if a company so much as mentions anything to do with gay rights. They need a swift kick in the pants, followed by a stern talking to about Christian ‘love’ and how being a bunch of whiny babies just makes them look spiteful.

    That stated, Gap commercials have always bothered me, and I’m not surprised that the AFA is going raging about a commercial that doesn’t preach the gospel of Christ to the unwashed masses.

  • muggle

    Not to mention, Ichabod, that you’re entirely overlooking Christians who aren’t quite as hateful and delusional. In other words, all those Christians who do like this commercial and its inclusiveness. Plenty are getting fed up with the horrific image the extremists give of their worldview.

    Glad I could help, Hemant!

  • http://kaessa.com Kaessa

    I just sent them an email and made a quick post on my blog. I’m so tired of this made-up “War on Christmas” crap.

    Go Gap. I’ll be shopping there for a few holiday gifts this year. :)

  • Kev

    G-reat
    A-theist
    P-lace

    The real reason for the boycott.

  • jolly

    The AFA is just a bunch of Glen Beck’s teabaggers with winter coats. Ignorant even of the subject that they are upset about.

  • http://negativentropy.blogspot.com/ Jennifer Gray

    I sent this e-mail using the AFA’s link:

    Dear Chairman Murphy:

    My family seems to get caught up in the imaginary “War on Christmas” every year, and my sister forwarded me the link to the AFA’s call for a boycott of Gap stores because of your recent TV advertisement. I feel that I should send you a positive e-mail to counteract this nonsense.

    Thank you for being inclusive and acknowleging that non-Christians also shop for the holidays. To take a line from the AFA’s form letter (but with some key changes):

    Your actions make me feel great about doing my shopping at Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores this holiday. I will also alert my atheist, agnostic, Jewish, and more tolerant Christian friends about your practice. There are too many stores who acknowlege intolerant groups like the AFA, and for that, they should be ashamed.

    Go Gap!

  • plumberbob

    And to think that the early church moved their Xmas celebration from sometime in the spring or summer when sheep are in the fields to the solstice to compete with Saturnalia.

  • Mark Greene

    “Holiday” is just “holy” and “day” made into one word, so why are the religious even complaining? They get their way regardless.

  • http://littlelioness.net Fiona

    I think that’s a great ad. First time I’ve seen it – need more of them! :D

  • Tina

    It says “go without a tree” not “go add a tree”

  • FS

    Christians should look to history and to Jeremiah in their bible for real problems with Christmas. It is such a hypocritical holiday and surrounds innocent children and lies.

  • Laura

    It still shocks me that an ad like this is some sort of coup. I already spend too much money at Banana Republic, but now I can pretend that I’m doing so as a ‘pro-cott.’

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