It’s been several years since the term “war on Christmas” entered the American lexicon, denoting the politically correct effort to remove all potentially “offensive” religious elements from the public observation of the “winter holiday” that falls on December 25. Certainly emotions on both sides of the debate run high between those who welcome the reaffirmation of a common Judeo-Christian common culture (leavened by believers in other faiths or none at all), versus those who subscribe to the notion that celebrating “diversity” trumps all other considerations.
For a long time, it seemed apparent that the latter were winning the argument. “Happy holidays” largely replaced Merry Christmas, “holiday displays” in stores supplanted areas once designated as “Christmas shops.” Even this year, there’s been the usual, “politically correct” nonsense. The City of Chicago pressured organizers of the annual Christkindlmarket into eliminating New Line Cinemas – the studio that released The Nativity Story – as a sponsor. A city staff member in Riverside, CA, silenced Christmas carolers lest Jewish ice skater Sasha Cohen, who was present, take offense (the staffer obviously hadn’t seen the invitation on Cohen’s website to "Join Sasha On Her Christmas Tree Lighting Tour"). Worst of all, Target continues to ban Salvation Army bell ringers from seeking donations in front of their stores.
Even so, this year – for the first time – there’s been a sense that the tide is starting to turn. Companies that once rejected “Merry Christmas” are now embracing more faith-friendly terminology. Major stores like Wal-Mart (which still welcomes the Salvation Army), Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Walgreen’s, Sear’s and Kohls are unabashedly referring to Christmas in their customer interactions. Food Lion, which had previously relied on messages referencing the “holidays,” likewise is using “Merry Christmas.” In general, “holiday” political correctness run amok no longer goes completely unchallenged; the Dallas Morning News condemned the city for erecting a “downtown holiday tree,” noting sarcastically that “synagogues everywhere are dusting off their holiday candelabras.”