‘Tis the season to be boycotted

Every year, Christmas seems to be thrust into the center of the culture wars as businesses determine how to promote their goods to us and we decide just how upset we are at being wished a Happy Holiday.  My concerns began with an email alert I received from the American Family Association regarding the lack of the word “Christmas” in Costco’s holiday, er, Christmas, marketing campaign.

TAKE ACTION

Send your email to Costco.

Let Costco know that you will exercise “your privilege” of shopping only at stores that recognize Christmas. Remind Costco that their competitors are vying for your business too, and you will shop accordingly.

So far as I can remember, I’ve never set foot inside a Costco, so my scathing emails and promises to “shop accordingly” would mean very little. Of course, they don’t need to know that, but that is what started my musing. That and being told to boycott. That sort of strikes at my rebellious nature and really isn’t the best way to get me to do much of anything…especially when it comes in the form of an email newsletter I can only assume I signed up for at some point.

Anyway, that led to the Naughty and Nice lists put out by The American Family Association and The Liberty Counsel.  And I just noticed this, but what am I to do with Barnes and Nobles? They made the AFA’s “Naughty List” and the Liberty Counsel’s “Nice List.”

I’m a rather conservative Christian. Perhaps a bit too conservative even for the AFA and The Liberty Counsel for as I look down the Nice List, I’m not impressed by well-meaning companies paying honor to my Lord and Savior.  Instead I see a list of companies who would very much like to replace any Christian meaning there may be in the season with the Almighty Dollar. The name of my Lord and Savior is slapped on sales, bath soaps, cookbooks, linens and toys, all to be delivered in time for Christmas in hopes of clinching a sale. I wonder sometimes what exactly Christ would say if he were to walk through the “naughty” Bloomingdale’s or the “nice” Macy’s.

How dare you remove my name from your holiday flyer!

Er, Christmas flyer.  That seems stranger yet. And a bit out of character. But as a Christian, I’m supposed to “take on the mind of Christ.” To be His light to a fallen world. And it really seems there are ways to do that which are much more effective than engaging in what comes across to me as a publicity stunt to garner attention to a cause outside of the mission of the Church.

No man will live or die, be saved or condemned based on the welcome phrases used at a place of business.  If I had my druthers, I would much prefer to have the name of Christ connected with missions to aid the poor, the widows and the orphans than to have it connected to boycott after boycott of issues which are little more than expressions of cultural dissatisfaction and do nothing to help those who are truly in need.


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Rick Fisk
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I’m pretty sure that Jesus doesn’t care whether or not he’s on the marketing pap of some corporation.

Dana Hanley
Guest

I think this sort of thing would have frustrated me more ten or fifteen years ago, but I didn’t think about things in term of whether the Gospel of Christ was furthered or hindered by any particular action.

Rose
Guest
Amen! Friends forward me these letters and I want to gag. Sometimes I do! Thanks for putting my feelings into a very well written statement. “No man will live or die, be saved or condemned based on the welcome phrases used at a place of business” I am all for remembering God’s most amazing gift, that baby Jesus. But I don’t know what Old Navy has to do with that rememberance. And Old Navy telling me Merry Christmas doesn’t make me think they understand the significance this time of year could have. All they see is $ and if Christians… Read more »
Mrs. C
Guest
OK, but I draw the line at calling it a “holiday tree.” I got an ACTION ALERT a little bit ago because there was an ad in a gay magazine for Campbell’s. It seems gay people actually eat soup and other food-related items and I was supposed to be outraged. Howcome nobody’s boycotting Saudi Arabian oil? Because they never wished me a Merry Christmas. I think some of these boycotts are about the organization expressing power. Notice they don’t go for Saudi Arabia or anything like that. You can’t even pass out Bibles there, good grief. And we’re worried about… Read more »
Sunniemom
Guest
During Subwaygate we discussed the idea of boycotting. I don’t ‘boycott’ anything for any reason, but instead choose services and products that best fit our needs, and when possible, those that support things we believe in. As for Christmas- my dh and I don’t consider Christmas a ‘Christian’ holiday (as in something we Scripturally should observe). IMO it’s basically a marketing scheme with questionable origins- it’s roots in paganism, adopted by Catholicism and shaped by consumerism. It would be very inconsistent of me to be offended at some retailer saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. I don’t support Doomsday… Read more »
Sebastian (a lady)
Guest
Nice post Dana. While I do appreciate the frustration that some people feel at how their religious holiday has become corrupted, it does seem not the way to go to turn and insist that there be a closer tie between a holy celebration and department stores. My personal thought is that I should be turning more and more to having two separate celebrations, one of gift giving and celebrating family in the dead of winter. Another marveling in the incarnation that is the backbone of my faith. I wonder what a store would do if people started to complain about… Read more »
Mary
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I wholeheartedly agree with the original post and subsequent comments, especially this by Sunniemom:
“As for Christmas- my dh and I don’t consider Christmas a ‘Christian’ holiday (as in something we Scripturally should observe). IMO it’s basically a marketing scheme with questionable origins- it’s roots in paganism, adopted by Catholicism and shaped by consumerism. It would be very inconsistent of me to be offended at some retailer saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.”

Vanessa
Guest

I think I agree with you on this. Commercialism and the love of money doesn’t promote the cause of Christ in any way possible, and slapping the name of Jesus on it doesn’t sanctify it in any fashion or form. I’m content to let the world have their “Happy Holidays”, because that’s all this season means to them anyway. I think that being nitpicky over words is a bit of overkill.
Good post!

Shauna
Guest

Some people aren’t happy unless they’re outraged.

Dana
Guest

Shauna, I had to laugh:

Some people aren’t happy unless they’re outraged.

I get that feeling too, sometimes. I think people get frustrated for a variety of reasons, some of them probably quite good, and then you have organizations capitalizing on that by stirring the pot. I don’t like appeals to emotion which seem the dominant means of communication in these e-lerts.

Obviously, it works or it wouldn’t seem so standard. It just turns me off, however.

Daisy
Guest

ITA! Great post. Maybe we should just focus on sharing the love of Christ with others this season. If we share the Gospel and lives are changed by the power of God, we may find that we hear, Merry Christmas, more often.

Dana
Guest

Thanks, Sunniemom. I wondered if that would come up anywhere but in my direct messages over at Twitter. 🙂

JJ Ross
Guest

Dana, reading you and your regular commenters gives me real hope for homeschooling being able to build an identity as intelligent independence from group think of any kind. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Dana Hanley
Guest

Hey, thanks! And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you as well!

Dana Hanley
Guest

I will say that I noticed when Hobby Lobby decided to close on Sundays so their employees could worship or have a day with their families. That doesn’t seem as commercial-driven and more about caring for their employees.

Luke Holzmann
Guest

Excellent points.

On the other hand, what bugs me about “holiday trees” and avoiding “Merry Christmas” sentiments is the PC nature of it all. I love what you say about Christ, His mission, and what we should be focusing on–completely agree. But it does bug me when people work so hard not to “offend” others that it boarders on offensive to the original group.

…I don’t think that paragraph made sense. Hopefully what I am trying to say comes through clearer, but I can’t think of a nicer/easier/better way of saying that. Sorry.

Just ignore me if I’m blathering. [smile]

~Luke

Dana Hanley
Guest
I understand what you are saying. 🙂 And sometimes I wonder if that isn’t more where some of the frustration stems rather than anyone truly being upset that they’re wished a Happy Holiday or that other holidays are observed this time of year. I don’t know. On my informal Twitter poll, some expressed frustration at this trend, but all who responded agreed that boycotting was a bit extreme. A few made the point that it seemed weird to try to force non-Christians and secular institutions to say Merry Christmas. I haven’t been able to find anyone all that upset about… Read more »
Milehimama
Guest

I recieved the same email, but ignored since I don’t have a Costco card AND went to the Costco website where they had Christmas trees as well as “Christmas ribbon for your holiday tablescape”.

Truthfully, I’m more annoyed that the upstart Kwanzaa gets equal press than I am to hear people say “holiday”. After all, the etymology of “holiday” is Holy Day!

JJ Ross
Guest

With my black devil’s advocate hat on, here’s something folks upset enough to boycott could REALLY be upset about (if they’re not already boycotting Psychology Today anyway) — a business professor’s argument that religion itself is a product being marketed this time of year, and especially being marketed to kids who we parents otherwise consider too young to be bombarded with advertising that plays on their undeveloped critical thinking skills.

And hey, don’t shoot the messenger, it’s Christmas! Peace on earth, good will to men. . .
😉

Rebecca
Guest
There is a bit of a double standard, isn’t there, both on the part of us Christians and on the part of businesses. Frankly I consider the chit chat between myself and a salesperson to be a personal interaction with Brian or Susan or whoever it is across the counter that has little or nothing to do with Old Navy or Sears. I’d rather have a sincere greeting of any sort from a real person than a stilted one because some CEO told them what they could and couldn’t say. Guess I’m overdue for my annual reading of Lewis’ Lost… Read more »