November 10, 2006

Retail Giants Wal-Mart, Target Rediscover Christmas

In a sign that this week's GOP loss had nothing to do with a tide against conservative values, retail giants Wal-Mart, Target, and Macy's discovered their hearts and bottom-lines were two sizes too small and have rediscovered Christmas (video):
Wal-Mart made clear Thursday that it's kicking off the "Christmas" season.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers are giving the holiday's name top billing once more, replacing the presumably more politically correct and recently -ubiquitous "Happy Holidays."

The moves come after criticism last season by Christian groups, angry and worried that in losing the greeting, the stores were weakening the holiday's meaning.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. was criticized early last season by the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association for using the phrase "Happy Holidays" in advertising.

. . .

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is encouraging employees to offer up whichever holiday greetings are more comfortable or appropriate, from "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Kwanzaa."

Target has issued no greeting guidelines to its employees, Heath said.

"Team members can say whatever they feel is appropriate to guests," she said.
You mean that people have the freedom to acknowledge Christianity while still being inclusive, the way the founders intended? What a shock!

They also found out how bad ignoring Christmas is for business:
Wal-Mart has told its employees that it's OK to once again greet shoppers by saying "Merry Christmas" this holiday season instead of the generic "Happy Holidays."

CNN confirmed that Wal-Mart will announce Thursday that it plans to use the phrase "Merry Christmas" in products and around its stores this holiday season.

The announcement comes a year after religious groups such as The American Family Association and The Catholic League boycotted retailers including Wal-Mart last holiday season for excluding the word "Christmas" from products sold in stores.

"We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley told USA Today in a separate report. "We're not afraid to use the term 'Merry Christmas.' We'll use it early, and we'll use it often."
How will Wal-Mart, Target, and others spread the Christmas cheer this year? Here's how:
This holiday shopping season, Wal-Mart's specific references to Christmas will include:
• A 60 percent increase in seasonal merchandise selections renamed from "Holiday" and labeled with "Christmas."
• Renaming of the The Holiday Shop to The Christmas Shop, an area with items for shoppers' Christmas decorating needs.
• Addition of "Days till Christmas" countdown signs.
• Customers will see Santa and "Merry Christmas" on gift cards as gift-giving options this Christmas.
• Christmas carols piped in stores throughout the holiday season.
• Employees at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club are being encouraged to greet customers utilizing various glad tidings inclusive of, but not limited to, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah and Feliz Navidad.
• At Walmart.com, there will be dedicated pages for Christmas and other holidays, including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

• TARGET
All ads but one will use "Merry Christmas" as a tagline.
Ads in Spanish will wish shoppers "Feliz Navidad."
Some departments will be renamed - for example, what was "Holiday Music" last year becomes "Christmas Music."

• MACY'S
Adding Christmas signage in all of its department stores.

• KOHL'S
Playing up Christmas this year in its TV, print and radio advertising.
Last year, John Gibson's book The War on Christmas highlighted the growing PC "holidays" appellation and a creeping disdain by liberals, atheists and ACLU types for all things "Christmas". It appears the battle has shifted as marketing directors realized that given this country's large Christian population, Christmas should be embraced, not rejected or supplanted by meaningless platitudes like "happy holidays". These stores will recognize the other holidays occurring at this time of year, and will have products available for them as well.

The knee-jerk elimination of any reference to Christmas, especially in the retail context, for the sake of a handful of thin-skinned individuals unable to coexist with a few (million) dusty old Christians and in the name of multicultural/political correctness/diversity thuggishness is short-sighted financially. Glad to see that the bottom line, as well as a rediscovery of every retailers' target market--Christmas shoppers--puts Christmas back in the stores, where it belongs! Glad to see retailers acknowledge the views of one of the largest segments of their consumer population, and treat them with respect. The phrase is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. That is, of course, until the ACLU finds out about this nefarious "Christmas" scheme.

Merry Christmas! (only 44 days!)

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