Robert Knight

’Twas the Night Before,
Near the end of the craze,
As shoppers bought for Christmas
Not “happy holidays.”

December 24 is that wonderful day of the year when all but the most stubborn holdouts drop the “happy holidays” charade and use the word Christmas, as in Christmas Eve.

Before then, the sound of “happy holidays” rang with the same frequency as cash registers, all for the holiday that dare not speak its name.

Resistance is growing to the secularization of Christmas, as evidenced by more advertisers inserting the word Christmas here and there. Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal advocacy group based in Lynchburg, Virginia, has a “Naughty & Nice List” that tracks whether retailers acknowledge Christmas or stick to the strictly secular. As of this week, the list had 62 “nice” retailers, contrasted with only 23 “naughty” ones. Several on the “nice” list, such as Costco, came over from the dark side after the American Family Association and other pro-family groups alerted their members. Macy’s, the home of Miracle on 34th Street, came around in 2006 after California civic activist Manny Zamorano targeted the chain with a national campaign to “save Merry Christmas.”

Other individuals, too, are challenging the imposition of secular, generic greetings.

A Panama City, Florida resort property employee was fired on Dec. 10 for refusing to answer the phone with “happy holidays.” An Air Force veteran and Christian, Tonia Thomas had asked her employer to let her say “Merry Christmas” or to use the firm’s standard greeting. The employer, whom we’ll call, oh, “Scrooge, Inc.,” showed her to the door. Merry Christmas.

Thomas is not alone in her aversion to the nauseatingly ubiquitous “happy holidays.” The phrase has morphed from cheerful inclusiveness into a symbol of enforced secularism, dishonesty and fear. Yes, fear of offending anyone, at any time, for any reason. It’s one of the sacraments of the perversely misdirected American civic religion of Tolerance.

Even with the growing list of Christmas-citing retailers, the vast majority of advertisers still use the politically correct “happy holidays.” An observer from Mars might be forgiven for not guessing that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of their religion or lack of it, celebrate Christmas.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.