Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Personally, I Would Prefer Retailers Wish Me "Happy Holidays" Instead of a "Merry Christmas"

In recent years much has been made of the secularization of Christmas in stores. Some outspoken, self-avowed conservative Christians have expressed outrage toward retailers that openly and prominently favor slogans such as "season's greetings" and "happy holidays" to "merry Christmas" and "happy Hanukah." These critics are rightly concerned that culture is sucking Christ out of Christmas (or, for that matter, the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire out of Hanukah), but I think their efforts are misguided.

My inner Republican says that businesses aim to select decor and advertising copy that will appeal to the most, and offend the fewest, customers. Some people will shop, some will boycott, and the free-market economy will sort everything out. If the 85% of Americans who identify as Christians really want their shopping malls and junk mail to tell them "merry Christmas," they'll eventually get their wish.

Frankly, however, as a Christian, I favor any effort to separate Christmas and commerce. The birth of the Christ child needs not be associated with the plethora of once-trendy gadgets that fill America's attics and basements and tacky sweaters and jewelry that fill our nation's thrift stores and pawn shops. Jesus doesn't care whether your parents have a George Foreman Mean, Lean, Low-fat, Grilling Machine, nor does he care whether you buy it at Dillards or Sears. Actually, Jesus would probably be offended that we spend so much money on superfluous junk in his name.

So, as a Christian, I would prefer that stores not wish me a merry Christmas.


Blogger John said...

Even as an atheist I found great meaning and importance in Christmas. It was the height of the year for me. Even then, it deeply irritated me to see "Merry Christmas" replaced with "Happy Holidays". It was a denial of the worthiness of Christmas in our culture.

1:58 PM  

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