Mayor’s Office Plunges Mobile into War on Christmas Debate

It is pretty rare that a Southern city engages in the politically correct battles of Christmas. But the Mayor’s office of Mobile, Alabama now know all too well what can happen when they use the nasty word “holiday” instead of “Christmas” in a newsletter.

A newsletter meant to spread holiday cheer caused a wave of emails to flood Mobile Mayor Sam Jones’ office.

The lighting of the tree in Bienville Square is a long-standing tradition in Mobile. However, this year the massive tree is at the center of controversy because of what the mayor’s office called it.

The city’s newsletter called it a holiday tree, and that didn’t sit well with some residents. Dozens of people fired off emails to Mayor Sam Jones and the city, upset over the term.

The office received so many emails the city issued another letter saying the previous one had been taken out of context.

“The newsletter said ‘holiday festivities’ … Some people said that meant the word ‘Christ’ was being taken out of ‘Christmas tree.’ That was not the case,” said Barbara Drummond, spokesperson for the City of Mobile.

Drummond said the newsletter was meant to notify residents about the upcoming events this holiday season. She said it was not meant as a display of anyone’s religious views.

“We at the City of Mobile won’t ever use this vehicle for someone’s religious preference,” Drummond said.

Still, FOX10 asked for the record: What is the tree downtown?

“Go look at it and whatever you want to call it, but we refer to it as Christmas and holiday tree in our newsletter,” Drummond said.

FOX10 only found ‘holiday tree,’ but the newsletter did say ‘Christmas’ and ‘holiday parade.’

Drummond said the newsletter was written by the City of Mobile’s Neighborhood and Community Services Department using language from previous years.

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