We are all readying ourselves for the hectic Christmas season. One of things we do is buy gifts for family and friends — a tradition handed down through the centuries from the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh the magi gave Jesus shortly after the Lord’s birth (Matthew 2:11-12).
Christmas is retailers biggest sales quarter with many selling as much merchandise in this period as they did the rest of the year.
Just before Christmas, US-based Liberty Counsel publishes its ‘Naughty or Nice List”, that they have put out annually since 2002. The list is in response to the politically-correct climate that in recent years has tried to pressure companies and governments to remove any religious references in their Christmas messaging.
Though Christmas Day is undoubtedly not Jesus’ true birthday, nevertheless the fact December 25 rose to prominence as a Christian religious holiday is undisputed.
To determine a company’s response to Christmas, Liberty analyses how many times they use the word ‘Christmas’ on their advertising, merchandise descriptions and website compared to the politically-correct term ‘holiday.’ They also study how much they cite Biblical themes such as the nativity scene and/or Jesus.
Liberty says polls show 70% of consumers prefer hearing the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ at a retail store over ‘Happy Holiday.’
So what businesses have caved to the politically-correct mantra and removed or reduced any historical connection to Christmas and the birth of Jesus this year? Understand these are all American based and subsidiaries in Canada and other countries may have different policies.
The ‘Naughty’ list includes:
American Eagle Outfitters is on the ‘naughty’ list. Liberty notes that the term ‘holiday’ is predominantly used to describe the Christmas season and the word Christmas is only found a few times. This is the ninth year the company has made Liberty’s naughty list.
Liberty could not find a single reference to the Biblical account on Gap, Inc., as it only uses the word ‘holiday’ to describe this year’s Christmas season. Gap, Inc had been on the Liberty ‘naughty’ list for several years, but in 2013, its company president sent out a letter during the season that mentioned the word ‘Christmas’ nine times. He asked his retail stores to prominently display ‘Merry Christmas’ signs. However, since then the store has fallen back into its old ways that resulted in the store being on the ‘naughty’ list for nine years.
J. Crew Outfitters is also on this year’s list. Liberty could not find the word ‘Christmas’ or any reference to the Biblical story and the company’s home page does not even display red and green – the traditional Christmas colors.
Others on this year’s naughty list include RadioShack, Old Navy and TJ Maxx.
What is encouraging is that this year’s ‘nice’ list is substantially larger than the ‘naughty’ list as more businesses embrace the true historical roots of Christmas.
Liberty’s ‘Nice’ list:
I was delighted to see that one of my favorite stores, Bestbuy, made the list. According to Liberty the term ‘Christmas’ is used equally with the term ‘holiday’ to describe the festive season. The company is also not scared of citing Jesus and the Biblical story.
At one point, Walmart forbid its employees from even saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to consumers, but now the company is on Liberty’s ‘nice’ list. In fact, Walmart took it to the next level and according to Liberty the word ‘Christmas’ is used nearly twice as much as the term ‘holiday.’ Its advertising (including TV) and displays prominently feature Christmas and Biblical themes.
According to Liberty over the last couple of years, CVS Pharmacy has made some significant changes resulting in its addition to the ‘nice’ list. The usage of the word ‘Christmas’ has increased yearly and there are even references to Biblical themes.
JC Penny almost references ‘Christmas’ as many times as ‘holiday,, and that along with its inclusion of Biblical themes such as the nativity resulted in their inclusion on the ‘nice’ list.
Another of my favorites, Home Depot, also made the nice list and features the term ‘Christmas’ equally with the word ‘holiday’ and even uses ‘Christmas’ on its homepage.
Other companies making the ‘nice’ list include Lowes, Staples, Barnes and Noble, Bath & Body Works and CVS Pharmacy.
Click on this link for a complete listing of this year’s ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ list.
According to its website, Liberty is a registered charity dedicated to preserving Christian and individual liberty in the US and around the world. As part of this mandate, Liberty has a legal arm that will use the courts to preserve these freedoms.
As an example of this, it took on the case of a Bible Study club at Westfield High School in Westfield, MA. The school’s superintendent suspended six members of the club after they distributed candy canes to classmates (outside of class hours) with a message that described the true meaning of Christmas and candy canes.
The superintendent suspended the students because they violated the rights of people who did not want to know about Christmas.
According to Liberty Counsel, if left in place, the suspensions could have impacted the students graduating that year. It may have prevented one, who was a honors student, from receiving college scholarships and the suspension may have hindered a second student’s desire to attend military college.
Liberty Counsel represented the students as they took the case to court. Liberty writes:
“After a hearing, the judge issued a 67_page preliminary injunction and found in the students’ favor on all counts. The judge found that the district’s actions were unconstitutional and ordered the suspensions to be removed from the students’ records. The students were able to distribute their message with the candy canes because of the judge’s order. The school then settled the lawsuit and changed their literature distribution policy.”
I don’t do this very often, but if you are interested in making a Christmas donation supporting the work of Liberty Counsel, you can do so by clicking on this link.
- Are the Stores on Your Shopping List Naughty or Nice?: Liberty Counsel
- 2016 Naughty or Nice Retail List: Liberty Counsel
- Liberty Counsel Sample listing of Christmas Issues: Liberty Counsel