In perhaps one of the only legitimate beefs in the so-called “war on Christmas” it appears the good guys actually won one. Malls across the country have attempted to capitalize on the Santa business by installing what they call “the Santa adventure” and charging parents fees from $35 to $50 just to get their children in to see Santa Claus. In the most high profile of these cases Cherry Hill Mall near Philadelphia famous imposed the charges and then faced a brutal customer backlash that went viral on social media. The mall has since made Santa a free attraction, as he has been in the past.
The backdrop to all the Santa controversy comes courtesy of Dream Works who launched an enhanced Santa attraction described as a first-of-its-kind holiday experience that features Shrek, Santa and interactive storytelling with cutting-edge technology.
Shrek and friends take families on an enchanting journey to the North Pole. Five captivating rooms within the Adventure to Santa experience keep families engaged and entertained, including a cinematic adventure featuring a wrap-around screen and motion-based effects sure to excite guests of all ages. Once families complete the activities in each room, Adventure to Santa culminates in a special moment where children and their families enjoy a private visit with Santa.
Dream Works and malls featuring the service have been providing touring school groups with free access in order to build buzz and goodwill about the attraction. The problem comes when a mall allows Dream Works to control access to Santa — where seeing him requires an online reservation, a process that in turn requires the purchase of a photo package at a cost between $35 and $50.
Will the Dream Works attraction catch hold? Will parents actually pay $35 to give their children what amounts to a commercial experience with Santa Claus?
That remains to be seen.
What appears to be settled is that malls will continue to offer free access to Santa for those parents who can do without “the experience” or the cost.
Liberty Counsel, a staunch defender of Christmas and religious liberty, has published their annual Nice and Naughty list of retailers and their use of the word “Christmas”.
TJ Maxx, The Limited, Radio Shack (which is nearly dead), Old Navy, J Crew, Gap, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and American Eagle round out the list of retailers shunning Christmas this year.
In years past this list was big media news but the fight against retailers being so politically correct has been so effective that the “naughty” portion of the list has diminished significantly. Liberty Counsel’s efforts have to be credited for these changes.
Liberty Counsel’s name frequently gets cited in some of the highest profile cases in the War on Christmas as they jump to the aid of schools, families and individuals whose religious liberties are threatened in their celebrations of Christmas.
It is interesting to note that Liberty Counsel is considered a hate group in some quarters because of their support of traditional marriage and the defense of controversial figures such as Kim Davis.
This Christmas may go down as the year of the Home Owner’s Association — that dreaded Grinch accused of dousing Christmas from coast-to-coast. While there have been high profile cases of HOA’s killing off Christmas lights in Idaho, Washington, and Indiana the best response to a HOA has to be this video made by a man disputing a complaint from his HOA that he put out his garbage can too early.
Justin Porter says he received a nasty gram from his HOA for putting his garbage can in his driveway on a Wednesday, the night before garbage pick up on Thursday morning. So in response he went to Youtube and made this hilarious public response (warning: some graphic language in this festive video):
We live in a funny world. The American South is embroiled in a Christmas controversy over Confederate flags in community Christmas parades because many now define that flag as offensive, even though it has been in past parades for decades without a batted eye.
But their Yankee cousins aren’t free from the offensive things of Christmas either. Just because they come from a store doesn’t mean this stuff should be paraded around, at least according to some. This is the odd tale of two Christmas sweaters. The first many know about.
Target Corp came under fire weeks ago for selling a bright red Christmas sweater with the tagline of “OCD — Obsessive Christmas Disorder” emblazoned on the front. Like the Confederate flag, this is not a new item on the shelves of Target at Christmas. It is also a meme that has floated around on social media for years. But 2015 is the year of being offended and those with the very real mental disorder of OCD are now really upset at Target for mocking their disease.
While some people would like to see it pulled from store shelves, Target says it plans to keep selling the sweater during the holidays.
Meanwhile, another store has a Christmas controversy over another sweater. Uber-snooty Nordstrom’s — yes, those uppity merchants who every year make hay by claiming to “celebrate one holiday at a time” and refusing to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving — had to quickly remove a Hanukkah it had for sale on store shelves (in November??). The Nordstom’s sweater was by the label Faux Real that reads “Chai Maintenance” followed by “Hannukah J.A.P.,” referring to the abbreviation for Jewish American Princess. Needless to say, customers on Nordstrom’s Facebook page were not pleased, with one poster calling the slogan “degrading.”
Nordstrom’s — fearing the discovery that they actually DO celebrate holidays prematurely — quickly removed the item from their shelves.
“We made a mistake by not looking more closely at the words on the sweater before we posted it — had we done so, we wouldn’t have offered it,” said Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow. “As soon as we heard from customers, we removed it from our site right away. We’re terribly sorry for offending people and sincerely apologize.”
No word yet on whether or not Sons of Confederate Veterans plan to wear these sweaters to Christmas parades held this year in the South.
A Louisiana mayor is under fire — and being applauded — for banning the confederate flag from the City of Natchitoches Christmas Parade scheduled for December 5th. For more than 20 years the Sons of Confederate Veterans have marched in the parade with a float and a rifle company with upwards of 40 people all carrying Confederate flags. They will be sitting this one out, unless attorneys file a first amendment claim.
“As mayor, I am accountable to all citizens who live in our city, and for many the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate, bigotry, violence and division,” Posey said during a news conference attended by about 50 people in the Natchitoches Arts Center. He said that while there will be many confederate flags flying he cannot allow the “flag of controversy”, even if such was permissible in the past.
“To be clear, the city of Natchitoches has not banned the Confederate flag from public display,” Posey said.
“The only thing we have banned is the flag being marched in the Christmas Festival parade.”
The parade “should be a symbol of the Christmas season and should be associated with peace, love and unity,” Posey said.
“I truly believe that our Christmas festival should seek to bind us, not divide us,” he added.
Earlier this month, Posey wrote to the Christmas Festival Committee to ask that the flag be banned from the parade, saying the flag “could cause substantial disruption or interference with the parade.”
Posey said he knows some members of the community disagree with his decision on the flag.
No word yet on whether the ACLU will take up the case of the Sons of Confederate Veterans on the basis that they have a right to express free speech, but that argument has been made and the idea forwarded by many.