The War on Christmas continues

A Washington Times editor admits "retailers' sales brochures have been bedecked with Christmas iconography" but still finds reason to complain.


Alex Koppelman
December 23, 2008 11:25PM (UTC)

Maybe it's just me, especially since I don't watch Bill O'Reilly anymore (the show got boring a couple years back) but I feel like we're not hearing as much about the evil liberal War on Christmas this year. And that's too bad, because -- as you all surely know -- there really is a dastardly liberal plot to undermine Christmas. As I understand it, this plan will culminate in the successful presidential campaign of a Democrat named Barack Hussein Obama.

Fortunately, the Washington Times' Peter J. Parisi is on the case. Though he admits that "retailers' sales brochures have been bedecked with Christmas iconography," he still finds plenty of reason to worry about the desecration of the holiday:

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[W]ith 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...

At J.C. Penney, it was an "After Thanksgiving furniture and mattress sale," Sears touted a catchall "Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving sale," and at Lowe's, the home-repair and hardware chain, it was "Let's Holiday" - as if holiday were a verb. Office Depot similarly turned "gift" into a verb: "Gift smarter. The holiday gifts they really want." Not to be outdone, Old Navy proclaimed an "Extravaganza humongous honkin' 3-day BIG weekend sale..."

On Sunday, Nov. 30, it was business as usual for the rest of the pack. Macy's announced its "The More the Merrier Sale" - "merry," as in, well, you know. Circuit City boasted of having "The Most Wanted Gifts of the Season" (what season, it doesn't say). Toys R Us claimed to have "The Lowest Prices of the Season" (ditto). The Sports Authority: "Only 25 Shopping Days left" ('til what?); By contrast, Kohl's again proclaimed a "Christmas Countdown Sale."

Parisi goes on like that for quite a while before asking, without any apparent irony, "Who, exactly, do PC-whipped retailers think is being 'offended' (other than the usual ACLU types, who have made taking offense their raison d'etre) and why do their marketing and advertising departments insist on being Grinches?"

Fortunately, there are some more level heads out there. At the conservative blog Hot Air, Ed Morrisey wrote, "I’m at a loss to understand the offense taken here by Parisi and the Times... [S]uddenly we measure the depth of commitment to Christmas by the way retailers exploit the birth of Jesus to sell goods? If we’re arguing on those grounds, haven’t we already lost?" Morrisey also points out, "Retail chains use the 'holiday' reference more often for commercial reasons, and in this economy, that makes some sense."


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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