- Holidays and Celebrations
Christmas or Holiday?
Get ready! Christmas is approaching and soon we will hear the merry sounds of people…objecting to the use of the word. They instead would rather use the term “holiday.” Uh, what holiday are they referring to, Halloween, Easter? Apparently a Christmas tree should be called a holiday tree even though it is only put up during the Christmas season.
But, all political correctness and atheistic views aside, are people not aware where the word holiday came from? OK students, let’s break the word down and see. Why, the first 3 letters could be a clue! That’s right, the word comes from an old English term meaning "Holy Day." Actually, the original word was spelled Hāligdæg and referred only to special religious days. Is it reasonable to assume some may now start searching for another name to take the place of “holiday?”
It should be obvious we’ve become a nation of oversensitive, thin skinned people. For centuries the term Christmas was used and nobody seemed to care. After all, it’s a day named after the person whose birth it commemorates.
However, over the last several decades that has changed. And nowhere has it been more apparent than in the business world. For fear of losing customers who object to using the word "Christmas," some stores and businesses began using the term “Holiday.” (See paragraph 2. Same difference.)
In fact, based on current advertising, there is an annual list put out by the American Family Association (AFA), a conservative Christian organization, identifying those businesses who expressly avoid using the term “Christmas” in their advertising.
However, AFA does not list local or regional companies, just nationally-recognized companies and it only reflects a company's "Christmas" advertising policies. They refer to it as their “Naughty and Nice” list. But to be fair, they also list businesses using the term “Christmas” in their advertising and holiday décor as well as those straddling the fence, so to speak.
AFA studies four areas to determine if a company is "Christmas friendly." Print media; broadcast media; website exposure and personal visits to a store. According to their criteria, if a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas such as trees, wreaths and lights , it’s considered an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers. But, if it has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word in their advertising then they are considered as censoring "Christmas."
As to be expected, some object to the list declaring it to be nothing more than “bullying tactics.” One example of a website having this view can be seen at: “The Adventures of Skippy the Skeptic.” http://skippytheskeptic.blogspot.com/2010/11/more-christmas-nonsense-from-afa.html Of course, there are many others.
Skippy is up front in admitting he's an atheist and skeptic. Nothing wrong with that. But, here’s what he says about the AFA’s “Naughty and Nice” list. “…the American Family Association is a conservative Christian organization that combines hilarious oversensitivity with enormous amounts of free time in order to scour thousands of advertisements to root out companies that don't expressly use the word "Christmas" when trying to get you to buy their products. Apparently they think Jesus gets angry if he isn't mentioned by name in the Victoria's Secret catalog with all the sexy Santa costumes in it.”
In actuality, AFA is merely advocating every American’s right to boycott and freely express their opinions, a time honored tradition. The same rights extend to those holding alternative views. Nobody is forced to celebrate Christmas or any other holiday. (see paragraph 2) But, they should have the right to observe it in any fashion they so choose if they want to…and vice versa.
According to the Director of Special Projects at AFA, Randy Sharp, who believes they are winning the “War on Christmas,” in the past five years the group has seen the percentage of retailers recognizing Christmas in their advertising rise from 20 % to 80 %.
Following is the AFA list of so called “naughty” businesses as of this writing:
· Banana Republic
· Barnes & Noble
· Foot Locker
· Gap Stores
· L.L. Bean
· Limited Brands
· Office Depot
· Old Navy
· Radio Shack
· Victoria's Secret
And now, here is Skippy’s “Naughty and Nice” list:
· The Nice List:
· The Naughty List: Pretty much every store in the entire country.
Perhaps we should all collectively “grow up” and stop sweating the small stuff. Can’t we all just get along?