By M.F. Hanson
Freedom From Religion Foundation
It’s that time of year: Bells ringing, carolers singing, cozy fires crackling, snowflakes falling, and guns blazing because the annual, one-sided War on Christmas has arrived! As we’ve said before, there’s never been a “war on Christmas.” That’s a Fox News fabrication. However, we do occasionally like to toss a few soft snowballs at the paranoid defenders of a Christian-centric holiday season, and remind them that the Christians really “stole” Christmas.
Recently, the Liberty Counsel, an evangelical Christian organization, began its annual Friend or Foe of Christmas Campaign. The organization claims the campaign’s aim is to guard the freedom to celebrate Christmas, promoting the outrageous idea that inclusivity will destroy the spirit of Christmas.
As part of this campaign, the group released its 2016 Naughty-or-Nice list of retailers. Here are nine “naughty” places to support or thank this season if you want to help FFRF keep Christ out of Christmas!
▪ American Eagle
Outfitters American Eagle has held its place on the Liberty Counsel’s “naughty list” for eight years, defying the Christian group’s call to infuse biblical references in every store nook and advertisement.
“Only a handful of ‘Christmas’ references appear in products or advertising while the term ‘holiday’ is abundant,” writes Liberty Counsel. To protest American Eagle’s battle on Christmas, or their ideal way that Christmas should be marketed, Liberty Counsel is encouraging its members to call American Eagle at 888-232-4535 or to email the company.
We encourage you to do the same! If the holiday spirit moves you, send thanks to American Eagle for being inclusive to all beliefs and nonbelievers this holiday season!
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▪ Dick’s Sporting Goods
With only a sprinkling of “holiday” references in their seasonal marketing approach and no reference to Christmas, Dick’s Sporting Goods has landed on the Liberty Counsel’s Naughty List for a second year in a row. The organization expressed dissatisfaction with the store’s usage of “generic Christmas colors”.
FFRF, however, commends the store’s refusal to tailor its marketing solely to practitioners of Christianity. To express appreciation to Dick’s Sporting Goods for staying inclusive during the holidays, call the store at 1-877-846-9997, email them or live chat with a customer service representative.
▪ Gap, Inc.
Gap is back on Liberty Counsel’s “Naughty List” for making “no references to ‘Christmas’ or any biblical elements within products associations and advertisements.” According to the evangelical group, this marketing indicates that Gap is a foe of Christmas.
The group asks that Christians politely encourage Gap to rebuild the bridge it has burned with Christmas by calling (800) 427-7895. However, at FFRF we salute Gap for spreading holiday joy to all religious and nonreligious communities with its seasonal marketing. If the season moves you, call the company to say thank you!
▪ J. Crew Outfitters
J. Crew Outfitters has let down the Liberty Counsel for using the include term “holiday” instead of just “Christmas” and for leaving out any biblical elements within product associations and advertisements.
Far from snubbing the holiday season however, J. Crew has a festive “gift-guide” tab on its online page. Furthermore, the store’s reference to “holiday” over “Christmas” promotes warm inclusiveness. Call 800-562-0258 if you would like to thank J. Crew for its reasonable seasonal marketing.
▪ The Limited
The Liberty Counsel has found a streak of heathen spite in The Limited’s vague reference to “Christmas,” specifically in its holiday products and ads.
FFRF tips our hat to The Limited’s nonspecific expression of the holiday season so that customers of all faiths or no faith feel welcome! Call The Limited at 1-877-583-1963 or else contact them on their store website by filling out the contact form or click the “Live Chat” option on the right side of their site’s contact page if you would like to thank them for their festive and unprejudiced winter marketing approach!
▪ Old Navy
The Liberty Counsel has marked Old Navy as a naughty dissenter of Christian-aimed marketing for the holiday season because of the store’s lack of “Christmas” references in their merchandise and advertisements.
“Old Navy displays a disappointing aversion to using the term ‘Christmas’ and anything more than generic winter symbolism,” writes the organization. FFRF, however, approves of the store’s secular business approach.
Call Old Navy at 1-800-653-6289 if you want to say thank you for their inclusive marketing to non-Christians this holiday season.
The Liberty Counsel has found RadioShack’s lack of reference to Jesus, nativity, or biblical elements in products or advertising appalling enough to punish the store with a spot on their “Naughty List.” In reality, RadioShack is exemplifying the smart business strategy of marketing to a variety of faiths during the holidays.
If you would like to applaud the store’s effort to keep the holiday season inclusive, call 800-843-7422 to thank RadioShack for not equating Christmas with Christ.
▪ T.J. Maxx
T.J. Maxx has let down the Liberty Counsel yet another year with its lack of references to “Christmas” in its marketing strategy. “‘Christmas’ is not found at T.J. Maxx, just gifts,” laments the Liberty Counsel.
However, T.J. Maxx has captured the essence of the holiday season of giving and connecting with people of all backgrounds and beliefs in its marketing tactic.
Although it didn’t earn a spot on the “Naughty List,” Starbucks and the canvas of its paper cups have come to represent ground zero for the fictitious “War on Christmas.” Last year’s cheery but plain red cup incited outrage by Christian Right organizations that claimed the company was sending an anti-Christian message. The company disputed accusations, noting that the blank paper cup “welcomes all stories.”
This year, Starbucks is marketing 13 festively decorated red and white cups that it chose from a crowd-sourced selection of customer designs on Instagram. The coffee chain will be standing by its plain red cup as well to uphold its welcoming and open-minded holiday philosophy.
Next time you’re hitting up Starbucks for a cup of Joe, thank a barista for keeping the holiday season inclusive.
The Liberty Counsel lists 26 retailers on their “Nice” list who they feel are marketing and capitalizing on Christmas the way that the Christian Christ intended. The full list of these businesses can be viewed online.
Here are a few that have gone to needless lengths to “keep Christ in Christmas”:
- A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts
- Best Buy
- Bronner’s CHRISTmas WONDERLAND
- CVS Pharmacy
- Neiman Marcus
Feel free to tactfully let these stores know that you would like to see a little less Christ and a little more seasonal inclusion in their holiday merchandise. It isn’t an attack on Christmas to exclude biblical elements in the promotion of the holiday season. It’s inclusive and, with 23 percent of Americans practicing no religion, it’s good business.
These lists may also benefit you as a practical guide for deciding where to give your business this holiday season based on which retailers have products that reflect your values, beliefs or lack of beliefs.
May your holiday season be filled with less Christ and more reason!
To complement the War on Christmas, another bogus Yuletide war has broken out just in time for December. On Nov. 29, Kellogg’s pulled its ads from Breitbart, the alt-right news platform that has promoted a potpourri of hateful bigotries. Kellogg’s made its decision on the grounds that the news outlet did not align with the company’s values, to which Breitbart responded by calling the move “an escalation of war.” FFRF would like to offer a special thanks to the Kellogg’s brand for pulling its ads from Breitbart and spreading the spirit of kindness, inclusiveness and reason this season.
FFRF is a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping state and church separate and educating about nontheism. For more information and a copy of our paper, Freethought Today, please click here.