Thursday, November 09, 2006

December is for Christians

The war is over. It was angry, nasty, and blessedly brief. I am talking of course about the War Against Christmas.

Last year Christmas was besieged by the oh so generic Happy Holiday Warriors for a Politically Correct Winter Debt Fest. These radicals demanded a December that was made all Americans feel welcome. Bowing to these bandits of the bland, Wal-Mart and other retailers instructed their employees to eschew “Merry Christmas” for “Happy Holidays” or the even more universal “Have a Delightful December”. Rising up to defend their heritage, Christian soldiers demanded that Christmas be restored to its proper place as America’s foremost December celebration. They brought Wal-Mart to its knees (figuratively if not literally).

This week Wal-Mart announced that it will celebrate Christmas once again. Linda Blakley, Wal-Mart’s spokeswoman said, “We’re not afraid to use the term ‘Merry Christmas.’ We’ll use it early, and we’ll use it often.” Hoo-rah!

While some of you may not be happy with the Christian focus of Wal-Mart’s November/December marketing, I find it most helpful. According to Ms. Blakley, Wal-Mart will be labeling 60% more merchandise as “Christmas” rather than “Holiday” merchandise. This makes shopping much less stressful for me, as I worry that as a Jew I might inadvertently buy a Christmas items masked by the generic “Holiday” label. Now, like cigarettes marked with the Surgeon General’s Warning, I will know which things are “Christmas” and therefore dangerous to my Jewish health.

Macy’s, too, is jumping on the Christmas sleigh. Promising to fill all its store windows with Christmas themes, Macy’s is making it clear that December belongs to Jesus. Of course how that jibes with the company’s express desire to “make every customer feel welcomed and appreciated, whether they celebrate Christmas or other holidays” is still a mystery to me, but I am sure they will come up with something.

Another victory of the Christmas crowd is the customer greeting. Last year employees were urged to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” in hopes of not offending the nonChristian. This year both Macy’s and Wal-Mart employees are being instructed to tailor their season’s greeting to the person being greeted: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Feliz Navidad being four possible choices.

I worry, however, that employees will have trouble figuring out which greeting to use, and will resort to some variation of racial or ethnic profiling. To avoid both profiling and greeting gaffs, I urge shoppers to wear buttons clearly identifying their holiday preference. Jews, for example, might where a blue and white button that reads, “Kiss Me, I’m Chosen.” Or African Americans might wear a black, red, and green button that reads, “Habari Gani?” And Hispanic people might where the colors of their native land with the words “Spock is an Alien; I live here” printed on it. I’m sure you can come up with your own slogan, and whatever you choose please be gracious to these poor salespeople who are simply trying to get by on an unlivable wage.

4 comments:

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Claire Petersky said...

I wrote about my feelings about Christmas on 43Things, over here: http://www.43things.com/things/view/1127412