Retailers Taking The Christmas Out Of Christmas

Anyone surprised?

And with the holiday that dare not speak its name almost upon us, nowhere is that phenomenon more noticeable, or more indefensible, than in the advertising sales circulars of the national retail chains that come by the dozen in newspapers, especially on Sundays.

A review of those sales brochures from the day after Thanksgiving – aka Black Friday – through this past Sunday, shows that among major retail chains, only Kohl’s and Rite-Aid have used the word “Christmas” regularly and prominently in their advertising.

Beginning with Black Friday, so named because it’s supposedly the day on which retailers finally make it into the black for the year, retailers’ sales brochures have been bedecked with Christmas iconography – red ribbons and bows, tree ornaments, strings of lights, mistletoe and holly, Santas and the like – but with few exceptions (given due credit below), none have had banner headlines proclaiming Christmas as the reason for the buying season they were so desperately encouraging.

Now, personally, I do not mind when people say “Happy Holidays!” and retailers use “holiday(s),” depending on their intent. It is the holiday season, and I remember growing up and people using those words and phrases as a way of denoting Thanksgiving, Hannukka, Christmas, and the New Year. Of course, growing up in NJ, people often said “Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas!” But, sometime over my 41 years, the intent, particularly from retailers, has changed. Now, they just do not want to offend anyone, as the article points out. Heck, you go in to many retailers and all you see are snowflakes and such, not even a Christmas wreath in evidence.

And because the companies are afraid to say “Christmas,” the people working there are often afraid to say. They have been conditioned not to. I know I rarely do at work, unless it is a customer I know, or the customer says it to me first. And, consider this: I went in to Party City yesterday for a gift box and a big gift bag. The bag said “Merry Christmas!” Obviously, I celebrate Christmas. Yet, as I was leaving, the clerk said “Happy Holidays!” It was like she was afraid to say “Merry Christmas” or the phrase had disappeared from her lexicon. Double heck, if you think about it, how many times have you even been greeted with “Happy Holidays!” when you are out shopping?

Another big phrase is “Season’s Greetings!” Like Happy Holidays, it was meant to denote all the holidays during this time of year, but, now it is used as a copout because the reason for the season must not be mentioned!

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