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Companies Embrace "Merry Christmas" or Face Wrath of Angry Retail Gods

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WAR ON CHRISTMAS
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Ad Age reports that the war on Christmas is just about over, with “Merry Christmas” dominating holiday messages this year instead of the more politically correct “Happy Holidays” or “Yay for December!”

"I think the pendulum is kind of swinging back now,” Anna Hodges Smith, owner of the PR firm Hodges Associates, tells the The Fayetteville Observer. “We've had clients who insisted that they don't offend anybody. I think we're kind of shifting the other way now. People are like, 'I'm going to promote what I believe.' "

Perhaps. But a more likely explanation for why companies are embracing “Merry Christmas” is that it just makes smart business sense. The National Retail Federation found that 91% of consumers celebrate Christmas, compared with 5% for Hanukkah and 2% for Kwanza. In this tough economic climate, retailers can’t afford to offend their largest audience.

Not to mention, any company that fails to embrace Christmas runs the risk of angering the American Family Association, which, through its use of organized boycotts, has already persuaded companies like Target and Gap to include “Christmas” references into its advertisements.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Gap tells Minyanville, "Old Navy is the only Gap Inc. brand that is running television advertising this holiday, and four of these ads specifically refer to Christmas. 'White Christmas' and other holiday songs are playing in Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores – just one way we’re bringing the holidays front and center.  Many stores have displays that include Christmas trees, Christmas lights, wreaths, ornaments and other winter decorations."

Phew!

Ad Age reports that the AFA has been so successful that its “crusade could conclude in the next year or two.”  Typically, crusades last anywhere between 180 and 200 years, so we'll just have to wait and see.

In any event, if the AFA does wind down its War on Christmas it would make shopping a lot more difficult. Because where else are we going to find a comprehensive list of companies that are anti-Christmas?

That’s right, the AFA keeps such a list and it includes not just companies that are “for” and “against” Christmas, but also companies that are “marginalizing Christmas,” whatever the hell that means.

Anyway, here’s the list in all its glory:

Companies FOR "Christmas"

Amazon.com, Bass Pro Shops, Bed Bath & Beyond, Belk, Best Buy, Big Lots, Books-A-Million, Cabella's, Collective Brands, Costco, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dilliards, Family Dollar, Dollar General, H.E.B. Stores, Hallmark, Harris Teeter Stores, Hobby Lobby, JC Penney, JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts Stores, Kmart, Kohl's, Kroger, Lowe's, Macy's, Meijer, Menard's, Michael's Stores, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Office Max, Petsmart, Pier One, Imports, Publix, QVC, Rite Aid, Sears, Scheels Sporting Goods, Super D Drug Stores, Target, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart/Sam's Club

Companies marginalizing "Christmas"

Bath & Body Works, Dollar Tree, Hy-Vee Stores, Old Navy, Limited Brands, Safeway
Starbucks, Walgreens, Whole Foods

Companies against "Christmas"

Banana Republic (NEW!), Barnes & Noble, CVS Pharmacy, Foot Locker, Gap Stores (NEW!), Hancock Fabrics, NASCAR, L.L. Bean (NEW!), Office Depot, Radio Shack, Staples, SUPERVALU, Victoria's Secret
Useful stuff.  But what if you're shopping for someone who DOES celebrate, say, Kwanza? Simple. Taking a cue from the AFA, we thought it would only be appropriate to create a similar list for companies that are for, against, and marginalizing Kwanza.

Companies FOR “Kwanza”
Companies marginalizing “Kwanza”

Companies against “Kwanza”

Amazon.com, Bass Pro Shops, Bed Bath & Beyond, Belk, Best Buy, Big Lots, Books-A-Million, Cabella's, Collective Brands, Costco, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dilliards, Family Dollar, Dollar General, H.E.B. Stores, Hallmark, Harris Teeter Stores, Hobby Lobby, JC Penney, JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts Stores, Kmart, Kohl's, Kroger, Lowe's, Macy's, Meijer, Menard's, Michael's Stores, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Office Max, Petsmart, Pier One, Imports, Publix, QVC, Rite Aid, Sears, Scheels Sporting Goods, Super D Drug Stores, Target, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart/Sam's Club, Bath & Body Works, Dollar Tree, Hy-Vee Stores, Old Navy, Limited Brands, Safeway, Starbucks, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Banana Republic Barnes & Noble, CVS Pharmacy, Foot Locker, Gap Stores Hancock Fabrics, NASCAR, L.L. Bean Office Depot, Radio Shack
Staples, SUPERVALU, Victoria's Secret

Anyway, now that you've got all the info you need to make educated choices about which companies to avoid like the plague, just get out there and enjoy the shopping season!

After all, this is what the holidays are all about.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.
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