November 9, 2006, - 8:05 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Remember how, last year, the mere mention of Christmas was out at Wal-Mart, Macy’s, and Target?
Well, this year, Holiday Season Political Correctness is out. Buh-bye.
Wal-Mart and Macy’s, at least, have learned their lesson. They heard you, and they are bringing Christmas back in a big way, Wal-Mart plans to announce today. From USA Today:
Wal-Mart will put “Christmas” back into the holidays this year, the retailer plans to announce Thursday.
A year after religious and other groups boycotted retailers, including Wal-Mart (WMT), for downplaying Christmas, the world’s largest retail chain will have an in-your-face Christmas theme this year.
“We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year,” says Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley. “We’re not afraid to use the term ‘Merry Christmas.’ We’ll use it early, and we’ll use it often.”
Wal-Mart told about 7,000 associates of the plans at a conference last month and “was met with rapturous applause. … We know many of our customers will feel the same,” says John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of marketing.
Among the things Wal-Mart will feature:
* A TV ad trumpeting Christmas will air for the first time next week. Wal-Mart also will air TV ads along with the Salvation Army mentioning Christmas.
* The name of the department with Christmas decorating needs will change from The Holiday Shop, which it was for the past several years, to The Christmas Shop.
* Store signs will count down the days until Christmas, and Christmas carols will be piped throughout the season.
* About 60% more merchandise will be labeled “Christmas” rather than “holiday” this year over last.
So, Wal-Mart apparently has the Christmas thing down. Now, if only the store could stop using illegal aliens (details here and here). Then, I’d recommend you shop there.
But not until then.
As for Macy’s, its execs learned their lesson, too:
Macy’s, the largest U.S. department store chain, plans to have “Merry Christmas” signs in all departments. All of Macy’s window displays will have Christmas themes. At New York’s Herald Square, the theme will be “Oh, Christmas Tree.”
“Our intention is to make every customer feel welcomed and appreciated, whether they celebrate Christmas or other holidays,” spokesman Jim Sluzewski says. . . .
The Catholic League, one of the groups fighting what it calls the Christmas Wars, says a member alerted it that Macy’s was pitching a “Happy Hanukkah” gift card but not a “Merry Christmas” one.
After he was contacted by the group, Sluzewski determined a production “glitch” meant the Merry Christmas gift cards were available everywhere but in its Western region, where there were plenty of Happy Hanukkah gift cards.
“We are correcting the problem,” Sluzewski says. “Of all the cards to have a glitch with.”
One odd thing, though:
As at Wal-Mart, Macy’s employees are encouraged to consider wishing customers holiday greetings that are appropriate to their race or religion, including Happy Kwanzaa or Feliz Navidad.
Does this mean they will greet all Blacks and Hispanics with these respective greetings? Sounds a little bit bigoted. How about just a blanket, “Merry Christmas”? As a Jew, I would not be offended by that. This is supposed to be a Christian country, after all.
The only major retailer left is Target, which refused to recognize Christmas at its stores, last year (details here, here, here, and here.) Let’s see if they change their policy. While Wal-Mart is partnering with and promoting the Salvation Army, this season, Target grinches continue to ban the group.
It’s “Merry KwanzRamadaNukkah” at the Bull’s-Eye Chain, where the preferred religion starts with an I, ends with an M, and has an S-L-A in the middle.
Tags: Catholic League, Chanukah, Christmas, Debbie Schlussel Remember, department store chain, Executive Vice President, executive vice president of marketing, Jim Sluzewski, John Fleming, Kwanzaa, Linda Blakley, Macy's, New York's Herald, religious and other groups, retail chain, Salvation Army, spokesman, spokeswoman, United States, USA Today, vice president of marketing, Wal-Mart