Friend or Foe 2012

Liberty Counsel is back with their annual list of where you shouldn’t be shopping this year because some stores dare use the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” in their advertising.

Have fun reading the 10th annual “Naughty & Nice list.”

This year, you better not waste your time on Garmin:

Web site: “Christmas” search revealed 533 links to dated company blog posts on prior years’ advertisements for cash and car promotions. “Christmas” neglected throughout site. Contact Garmin to express your disappointment over the company’s non-acknowledgement of “Christmas.”

They only mention Christmas on their website 533 times?! WHY DO THEY HATE THE BABY JESUS?!

And don’t even think about going to Radio Shack (not that you really were, anyway…):

Web site: “Holiday Gifts in a Snap.” “Christmas” literally purged on web site, printed and circular ads. TV Commercial: very distasteful with no allusion to “Christmas.” Contact page

It wasn’t just purged. It was literally purged. The Radio Shack website people were pouring Wite-Out all over their computer screens on this one.

You might be asking, “But where can I shop?!”

Liberty Counsel has you all taken care of. Just go to Chick-fil-A. Or Hobby Lobby. Or Cracker Barrel. They’re all “Nice.” So is Mrs. Fields Cookies:

Web site: “Christmas Gifts” link on home page followed by “Christmas Gift Collection,” “Christmas list” and “Merry Christmas Bundle.” Contact Mrs. Field’s to encourage more promotion of “Christmas” and less use of the words holiday and winter.

Yeah! Because “winter” is one of those secular liberal commie words! Just like “snow”!

Liberty Counsel really believes Christianity is under attack every time someone says, “Happy Holidays.” They don’t give a shit that there are non-Christian customers out there and they certainly don’t care that there are other holidays being celebrated this December other than Christmas. With them, you’re either Friend or Foe, Nice or Naughty, Christian or “Other.”

And this list just shows that Christians (at least these crazy fundamentalist types) are incapable of connecting outside their bubble. To them, everything is a theological argument. And not honoring their God is an affront to everything they stand for.

Just once, I’d love to see a business campaign to get on the Naughty list. I want to see them fight to be so inclusive and tolerant of everybody that Liberty Counsel blows a fuse because “tolerance” is a four-letter word to them. How sweet would that be?

***Update***: Jeremy Hooper at Good As You notes that Chick-fil-A is actually switching sides in the War on Christmas:

So when do they get put on the Naughty List?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Dats3

    What’s interesting to me is I find myself not caring in the least about this phony war or it’s list. I want to tell Liberty Counsel, “Who cares?”  To be honest, I don’t even notice phrases in advertisements  like Happy Holiday’s or Merry Christmas when I’m shopping online or in a store.  My son says Merry Christmas and I’m okay with that as most of his friends do.  With the expection of the kids in my life I’m not sure I even say either phrase.  Maybe I’m too apathetic about it.  Having said that, anything that gets Liberty Counsel upset is a good thing.

  • BC3free

    Wait.  Aren’t these the same sort of people that are crying about contraceptive mandates being a violation of religious freedom?  But then try to intimidate businesses, including secular and non-christian, into adopting their religious views on Christmas?  I will never ever understand Christian (non)thinking.

  • Lana


  • Holytape

    What if you wish people “To have Chirstmas that is neither full of merry or sorrowful? ”  Do you go on the naughty or nice list? 

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Just to annoy them someone should email Liberty Counsel and tell them to be historically correct it should be advertised as “Happy Winter Solstice” or ” Happy Sol Invictus” or even “Happy Day We Co-Opted to get others to worship our god who used to be a storm detiy”

  • nakedanthropologist

    Ah, the “Liberty” counsel – its so nice of them to remind me that when it comes to bigoted blowhards like this, their basic message is “Don’t shop at X, there be tolerance!”  Screw you, Liberty Counsel – and thanks for the heads-up in letting me know about the companies that I will consider shopping at this year – especially the ones that don’t comply with dominionist bullshit.

  • vexorian

    Why is the lobby group that is dead set  on reminding us that Christmas is about Jesus, using Santa Claus in their banner?

  • Atoswald

    Sooo … they condemn EBGames for having a product that includes the word “nightmare” with Christmas, BUT they praise Disney for having the Nightmare Before Christmas movie advertised on the home page? Ummm …

  • Richard Wade

    Is there any credible data showing how much these clowns actually manage to reduce business for their disfavored companies? Do companies dread this like a bad review in Consumer Reports, or is this just a bunch of Christians fantasizing about their power over society?

  • Helanna

    It’s actually very simple to understand. You see, if it promotes Christianity, it’s good. If it goes against any Christian thinking in any way, it’s bad, no matter who’s doing it or whether it affects you at all. 

    I didn’t say it made sense, I just said it’s easy to understand. 

  • Rovin’ Rockhound

    “77kids has been “Naughty” since 2009 because the subsidiaries of the
    American Eagle brand entices “Christmas” shoppers through use of the
    sights, sounds and symbols of “Christmas” yet offends the American
    majority Christian population  by using winter scenes that dominate
    their advertising”

    So Christians are offended because they show people wearing winter jackets in the snow? Next year they should have their models wearing parkas at the beach, in the summer. Don’t want to offend the Christians by using winter scenes to sell winter clothing.

  • Atoswald

    What if it both promotes Christianity and goes against it? Case in point, JC Penney seems to have made the nice list, even though they are supposed to be boycotting them for supporting gay marriage and for employing Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson. Is anyone as confused by this as I am?

  • Alexis

    Christmas 2025: Liberty Counsel announces that there are three stores in the USA that good xtians can shop at this holiday season…

  • Alexis

     And none of them are crowded!

  • Thomas Farrell

    I think I’m going to take up saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry christmas” just so I can wait for the day that some idjit pitches a fit at me about it, so I can burst into tears and sob about how I just wanted them to have both a merry christmas AND a happy new year and they had to go and be so MEAN to me about it.

  • Aimeejoe3

    I emailed them and thanked them for the list, as now I know which stores to “reward” with my humanist business. 

  • Emily

    I’m a little insulted that my place of employment made the “naughty” list last year but not this year.

  • C Peterson

    I like the way they use Santa Claus- the very symbol of a materialistic, secular Christmas- to deliver their message!

  • Marco Conti

    I just wrote Garmin to express my support. I think if we all wrote to these “bad” companies and told them that either we don’t care or that we actively support not using the word “Christmas” they may be able to offset the bad press and be able to retort that at least some of their customers approve.

    of course, they are still blood sucking corporations without a soul either way, but at least if they piss off the fundies they are better than the other blood sucking corporations that suck up to the christian lobby.

  • Minneapostate

    Oh noes….the world is truly coming to an end. According to, Chick-fil-A has joined the War on Christmas!

  • machintelligence

    And the crowd goes Meh!

  • Marco Conti

    Very good. I missed that one.

  • RobertoTheChi

    What a joke! Another year of the bullshit war on xmas. Thanks for giving me a list of stores that I can give my money to for being ‘naughty’.

  • Cranky Humanist

    The “naughty” list isn’t very long (so far?). It won’t be hard to send letters of support to all of them!

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    (Early, but…)

    Happy Yule, Hemant!

  • Thom Watson

    “Liberty Counsel has you all taken care of. Just go to Chick-fil-A. Or Hobby Lobby. Or Cracker Barrel. They’re all ‘Nice.’”

    Well, Liberty Counsel is even more hypocritical than usual, then. As Jeremy Hooper points out at Good As You, Chick-fil-A is using the words “holiday” and “season” instead of “Christmas”:

  • BeasKnees

    That was the first thing I noticed too.

  • Ida Know

    “Who is afraid to say it?”

    Love how they reinforce the “poor persecuted little ol’ us” message.

    Also love the irony in the name of their organization.

  • Octoberfurst

     These people really, really, really need to get a life. Did it ever occur to them that “holiday” means “holy day.”
      Because they make such a big stink about it I make it a point to NEVER  say “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season. I always say “Happy Holidays” just in the hope of pissing off a fundie Christian.

  • Gus Snarp

    Radio Shack still exists?

  • Bob Dennis

    When a store employee says ‘merry christmas’ I reply “Happy Festivus, from the rest of us”.

  • Uncoolmom

    I alway make a point to say “Happy Holidays” too, for the same reason. I guess it says something about my friends and coworkers that no one has ever thrown a fit about it. I always look for Christmas cards that say “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” too. I see it as a way to spread tolerance instead of hate. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about anyway?

  • Isilzha

    I never could understand why an xian could object to the word HOLIDAY!  Do they not know what it means?  I’m such a ‘militant’ atheist that I refuse to send out ‘Happy Holiday’ cards…I will only send out cards with ‘Season’s Greetings’!

  • Coyotenose

     With pagan origins, no less!

  • Ms Loree
  • Bellj

    Wow. Even when I was a Christian I couldn’t figure this one out. I mean, who cares? They just want to take the joy out of the season for everyone. If it’s fun, we’re against it!! Most of the wackier ones don’t even celebrate Christmas with the traditional tree and gifts. They just rail against those who do. Especially non-christians.
    Speaking of which, they act like non-christians are stealing Christmas and changing the meaning when they do the same with Halloween. They say the holiday is Satanic but most of them throw huge autumn parties for the kids with costumes and candy and do pretty much the same thing without that “pagan” trick-or-treating. How is this different?

  • Kay

    I hope they have a list of businesses that mention Hanukkah, because I wouldn’t want to offend my Jewish friends by buying them gifts from a company that neglects Hanukkah!

  • Cafeeine

    Because I’m a cynical man, Liberty Council is a non-profit, right? Is there any way to check their finances and see how many of the companies in the nice list show up in their benefactors?

  • Tracy Bradley

    I got an email forward today with the usual tripe about how not saying ‘christmas’ is tantamount to religious persecution, and what really stood out to me were these lines: “Inclusive, sensitive, di-ver-si-ty / Are words that were used to intimidate me.” (yes, it was a fundie rant in poem form)

    So there it is – the problem is they are intimidated by inclusiveness and diversity. Shocker, I know. 

  • Phil

    Goes to show you how Groupthink works when the group, in this case half-baked religious fanatics, is universally dimwitted.

  • James Buchy

     And another thing, the only reason Santa has a red suit is because Coca-Cola wanted  him to be used in their ads wearing Coca-Cola color.

  • Deven Kale

     That’s just an Urban Legend. Not only does Coke deny that claim, but Snopes agrees with them. Even Wikipedia says so now as well.

  • jdm8

    “Seasons Greetings” could easily be spun to be pro-Christian too, you know, “the reason for the season”, despite the fact that Solstice is the real reason for the season.

    I wonder what they’d do with a “Happy Hanukkah” greeting? It has to send at least some of them twitching a bit.

  • Robster

    This Liberty Council mob have ruined the word “liberty”.

  • LifeinTraffic

    You don’t know the half of it. Liberty U does “ScareMare” at Halloween, which is a haunted house based around the 7 deadly sins  and hell (and a few other biblical nightmares), designed to  literally scare people into being “better Christians.” They flat out say this. It’s very gory, it’s put on with huge amounts of cash, and it ends with a prayer session.

    Talk about fucked up.

  • allein

    My company’s not on either list :(

    I like how half the naughty list also seems to be each Gap brand listed separately (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and PiperLime are all on there).

  • Mairianna

     “Waaaa!  I’m sorry!  I didn’t know what religion you belong to!  I couldn’t tell by looking at you!  God didn’t WHISPER it in my ear!  How was I supposed to know??????????” 

  • rlrose63

    Thank Goodness isn’t on that page anywhere or I’d have to leave the house to go Solstice shopping!  While they do have “Christmas stockings” and Christmas tree ornaments,” they also have a Cthulu ornament, which I’m sure would have them on the Naughty list all on its own.  I’ve done my holiday shopping exclusively on ThinkGeek for 5 years running now… LOVE that place!

  • rlrose63

    I was thinking of emailing the Naughty companies as well but I just don’t have that kind of time… I’ll pick out a few that truly care about and drop them a line.

  • rlrose63

    I keep it simple and I say, “Happy Solstice to you, too!”  Hubby and son hate that I do that and shrink away, accusing me later of wanting to cause a scene and provoke and argument… but really, if they can tell me I’m blessed or that I should keep Christ in Christmas, why I shouldn’t I return the favor and hope that their Solstice is happy as well?

  • Cbug87

    Ok, I’m about to overanalyze: This is just stupid and nonsensical… most of their “naughty” list consists of clothing stores… clothing stores sell clothing and no one but my great aunt buys “christmas sweaters” anymore so of course clothing stores have relatively few items labeled “christmas”. And target/walmart etc is on the “nice” list in part because they sell bibles? Yes… they are supercenters… supercenters sell books, the bible is a popular one.

    I’m not religious, but to a certain extent, I understand people getting annoyed at stores how go out of their way to relabel things “holiday” that are clearly “christmas”. Scoring based on sheer number of “christmas” mentions makes no sense, but I can understand noting those stores that are being obnoxiously PC. For example, if you’re a person who’s going to buy ornaments for a tree, chances are you’re calling it a christmas tree, so the store should go right ahead and call them christmas ornaments. Because frankly, if you’re an atheist who still puts up a tree to hold with childhood traditions and you throw a fit about people calling it a christmas tree, you’re the one who needs a reality check.

  • kaydenpat

    Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Cracker Barrel, and Mrs. Fields Cookies.

    What interesting Christmas gift choices.  At least Christianists have places to get their “Merry Christmas” on.  Otherwise, what a tragedy!

  • kaydenpat

    You should have replied to the email with a cheery “Happy Holiday”.

  • Earl G.

    Last time someone got on my case for saying “Happy Holidays,” I replied “Fine, then.  I hope your New Year’s sucks!”

  • jdm8

    I didn’t know they were different brands of the same parent company. Some of those affiliations, it’s not readily known. I think it’s possible either they didn’t know that, or they didn’t expect their members to know that. That said, I wonder if their members are even the kind to patronize those stores.

  • Bill Anderson

     I also emailed Garmin to show my support.