Ancient History

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You still don’t have to tell me Merry Christmas

Last year, I wrote about a website devoted to judging retailers on their Christmas friendliness. The website was called Stand for Christmas.

My main gripe with defenders of Christmas is that the holiday was never intended to be an observance of you and your buying power. I wrote:

The idea is for people to rate major retailers as Christmas Friendly, Christmas Negligent, or Christmas Offensive. Registered users are invited to leave short comments describing their shopping experiences. Were Christmas decorations displayed? Did employees wish them a Merry Christmas? Was pro-Christmas signage hanging?

In other words, were independently-owned businesses and people making minimum wage tripping over themselves to give an insincere wish of merryment to you?

A few days ago, I wondered what happened to Stand for Christmas. Were they back for another attempt at changing the world, one judgmental comment at a time? I clicked on the link. It appeared the site hadn’t been updated in quite awhile, so I googled Stand for Christmas campaign 2010.

The Colorado Springs Gazette’s religion blog, The Pulpit, had an article about how Stand for Christmas is tackling the 2010 holiday season. They noted:

Last year, in a campaign called Stand for Christmas, Focus empowered shoppers to decide the naughty and nice list by casting their judgment on retailers at an online site.

But this Christmas season there will only be a nice list.

How novel to expect the best from people! It’s refreshing they aren’t looking for conspiracies where there are none. It’s a tremendous waste of energy to be constantly offended.

The 2010 version of the site, Rising Voice, encourages Christmas shoppers to submit the names of businesses which are socially responsible. The definition of socially responsible isn’t given, but a quick look at some of the retailers suggests some loose criteria: mostly local, hand-made, linked to charities or other programs that give back to their communities. Rising Voice targets Millenials, which is the generation behind Gen X. Me. I’m too old to wear ironic t-shirts and hipster glasses, but I do know a good thing when I see it through my aged eyes.

To me, this is a huge step in the right direction.

Of course, there will always be people and organizations demanding the world conform to their definition of Christmas cheer. The American Family Association has a color-coded chart to help you look down your nose at retailers who are under no obligation to wish you anything at all.

Merry Christmas isn’t a marketing slogan developed in a smoke-filled 1960s ad agency, but the American Family Association treats those two words as if they merely exist to signal a good deal and corporate friendliness. Sincerity isn’t an issue with them. There’s no way The Great Pumpkin would look at their patch and land.

They provide an email address to expedite your tattling needs. They only include nationally-recognized companies in their tally of the Naughty and the Nice, so if you want to report Mom and Pop’s Horse Statue and Sunglasses Emporium to the Christmas Court, you are out of luck.

Otherwise, one might get the impression they are bullies. Cough.

Maybe next year, they’ll adopt a different approach? Instead of tearing companies down based on their advertising, how about lifting companies up based on if they pay fair wages, don’t exploit people or resources, give back to the community, and promote values in line with the actual teachings of Jesus.

And here I am, tearing them down.

I’ll leave you with some building material:

Rising Voice

Advent Conspiracy

Samaritan’s Purse

Volunteers of America

Merry Christmas, here’s to many more.

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