The American Family Association — a name as familiar in the War on the War on Christmas as the Freedom from Religion Foundation — really doesn’t want you to shop at The Gap or any of the stores associated with them (Banana Republic, Old Navy, etc).
Their crime? Shunning the word “Christmas”.
Sure enough, a quick look at websites and ads by these stores reveals a liberal use of the word “holiday” and a seeming drought for the word “Christmas”. It is almost like they purposely have scrub all reference to Christmas from everything associated with them. For this the AFA doesn’t want you buying any of your Christmas presents from The Gap.
The boycott does not appear to be affecting things much at The Gap. They recently announced encouraging results for the 3rd Quarter. And while exact Black Friday results have not yet been shared all faces are smiling at Gap offices in San Francisco (offices that are not, by the way, decorated for Christmas).
So what does this all mean? Does it mean the Gap can lower their expectations for the 4th quarter because their “holiday” sales will lag because of a boycott? Or does it mean the American Family Association is becoming less and less relevant as a focus on Christmas?
The American Family Association is one of the regular agitators in the so-called War on Christmas. Give them a media microphone or a television news camera and they will expound on the War on Christmas like it is a Hamas rocket shower on Israel. They will stir the hearts of Christmas purists while at the same time profiting from their passion by selling them yard signs, bumper stickers and t-shirts that say “It’s OK to say Merry Christmas”.
We are bigger believers in letting the market-place decide. Christmas is not what the AFA or The Gap defines it. It is what the Christmas celebrant defines it. If the Gap is not Christmasy enough for the average Christmas shopper, guess what? They won’t go there. But as long as the AFA continues to promote themselves from one position of extreme they will continue to make everything else good that they stand for seem a bit more ridiculous.
America has bigger problems to solve beyond a contrived war on Christmas.
Feuds of Christmas displayed on public grounds is one thing. But to complain about a bank not decorating for Christmas? Is that really a problem?
To some Canadians, it is.
Customers of a bank called RBC Financial Services are complaining that bank personnel claim it is against company policy this year to decorate for Christmas. A multi-branch check of the situation reveals that yes, indeed, RBC is not decorating for Christmas this year and employees state is it is company policy not to do so.
They don’t want to offend anyone.
So what’s happened.
Well, people are offended.
A company’s avoidance of “Christmas” isn’t a new thing. In fact, for years in the United States lists have been kept of companies that refuse to use the word “Christmas” in their seasonal advertising, who won’t allow their employees to say “Merry Christmas” or who just don’t decorate at all during the season. But rarely have we seen these types of reports coming from Canada.
As for the bank they say it is all a misunderstanding about a directive to keep holiday decorations tasteful.
We’re not sure how the leap is made from “keep it tasteful” to “keep it non-existent”. And we’re not sure, frankly, just how important it is that a bank decorate for Christmas in the first place. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t appear to be that important.
However, by flat out refusing to decorate and to have that policy forwarded by bank representatives to the public, well, that’s another thing altogether. That IS offensive. After all, if hearts can be plastered on the windows at Valentine’s Day why can’t there be a tree in the lobby? Banks sure process a lot of money during the Christmas season. It would seem prudent to keep that part of the business from being offended.
When Governor Lincoln Chaffee incited the wrath of political conservatives and Christmas purists alike last year by calling the lighting of the State tree a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree” nobody expected Rhode Island to change this year. And they haven’t. But perhaps a little gamesmanship is being played to downplay the controversy this year.
The announcement on Tuesday that the state would hold a tree-lighting ceremony in Providence came just 24 hours after the governor’s spokeswoman said the annual event had been scrubbed. Last year, protesters interrupted the ceremony with demands the conifer be officially referred to as a “Christmas tree.” Could the state be trying to avoid the controversy by putting out conflicting information?
Spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger blamed the confusion on a staff communication error and said there would in fact be a “holiday tree” lighting at an unspecified date.
“The governor has stated his position very clearly: He believes “holiday” is more inclusive,” she said. “It’s in a building paid for by all Rhode Islanders.”
Chafee’s decision not to use the word Christmas in reference to the tree drew criticism from conservatives last year, including one state lawmaker who dubbed him “Governor Grinch.” Some Christians see the trend towards “holiday” parties, cookies and trees as part of a secular drive to scrub the lexicon of references to Christmas.
The governor has argued that the term is consistent with the state’s history of religious tolerance, and Hunsinger noted that Chafee’s predecessor also used “holiday tree” on official invitations to the ceremonial lighting.
Take heart, Rhode Islanders. We understand they have Christmas trees in nearby Massachusetts.
Technically, Louisville, Kentucky is in the Bible belt. People know a Christmas tree when they see one.
But as local media reports citizens are having to remind the city that a Christmas tree is not called a Community Tree. A press release issued recently by the city calls the tree a “Community Tree”, a fact that was not lost on TV reporters and local residents who immediately took to social media and letters to the editor to protest the political correctness-run-amok accusations.
The city says is was a mistake (how refreshing). They claim they have always called it the Community’s Christmas Tree. We’re waiting for the news to surface that the city was threatened in a letter or an email — usually by someone out of the area — for using the word “Christmas” in official city communications.
Mistake or not, a Christmas tree will still be called a Christmas tree in Louisville this year.
What is it about Christmas trees this year? A fake tree in Michigan has people scratching their heads and in Belgium a what-is-that-thing-tree has traditionalists all upset, too. Now Toronto is in on the act with this tree:
We’re not too sure what the big deal is with this tree but as society continues to wander more and more away from the traditional Christmas we suspect we’ll see a lot more opinions expressing frustration that Christmas is “changing”. See the full store here.