Retailers, like Macy's, Changing Tune with Traditional Holiday Greetings

December 9, 2006

Author: Glenn Lovell

Source: The Mercury News

The battle over Christmas in major retail stores across America was fought, and Christmas has won -- at least for now.

After last year's store boycotts launched by conservative religious groups angered by the secularization of the holidays, the number of national chains that are now using Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in their ads and store displays, as well as on Web sites, has grown significantly.

Among the twinkly wreaths and decorations at Macy's, for example, are mannequins backed by the traditional ``Merry Christmas'' greeting.

Wal-Mart has changed its ``Holiday Shop'' to ``Christmas Shop'' and once again allows it employees to welcome customers with ``Merry Christmas'' and what it calls ``other glad tidings.'' Wal-Mart's online shoppers have Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa alternatives. Select Kwanzaa and ``The Rugrats' First Kwanzaa'' and other books about the African-American holiday appear.

After years of grumbling, the Catholic League and American Family Association took to the trenches last Christmas, calling for a boycott of Wal-Mart for replacing ``Merry Christmas'' with ``Happy Holidays.'' Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly then weighed in, accusing retailers of an ``anti-Christian bias'' at Christmastime.

There was even a book tabulating the drift toward what has been called a ``neutered'' holiday season -- ``The War on Christmas'' by Fox anchor John Gibson.