The American Family Association announced on Monday that it is officially ending its boycott against Gap Inc. after the company aired an "unambiguous" Christmas ad over Thanksgiving weekend.
"We're in this fight because we are disturbed by the increasing secularization of our culture in general and Christmas in particular," said AFA president Tim Wildmon in a statement. "We're gratified that Gap has responded to the thousands of phone calls, emails and petitions from Americans who share our concerns."
Wildmon said he hopes the conservative, pro-family organization can engage with Gap in dialogue over the next year to move the company from its "Naughty" to "Nice" category in its list of Christmas-friendly companies.
Since mid-November, AFA has called for a boycott of Gap Inc., which includes popular brands like Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, for "censoring" the word "Christmas" in its ad commercials and promotions. The conservative media watchdog group said it was offended that Gap Inc. used only the words "winter holiday" in its promotions and placed Christmas on the same level as Kwanzaa and the winter solstice in a recent commercial.
AFA called on Gap Inc. to recognize that the reason for the annual celebration each winter season is because of the birth of Jesus Christ.
On Nov. 24, the pro-family group suspended its boycott after a Gap executive sent an e-mail promising that the new Old Navy commercial airing Thanksgiving weekend would have "a very strong Christmas theme."
After watching the Old Navy ad, AFA agreed that there was an "unambiguous 'Merry Christmas'" message in the commercial. The commercial features store mannequins, dubbed "SuperModelquins," ice skating in alpine hoodies. At one point a group of the SuperModelquins say "Merry Christmas!"
The Mississippi-based organization says it will now direct its Christmas-recognition efforts to Best Buy and Dick's Sporting Goods.
"We're urging them to include 'Christmas' in their seasonal advertising," said Randy Sharp, AFA's director of special projects. "Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to buying electronics and sporting goods, and we think they're going to want to buy them from merchants who show respect for Christmas in their appeal to shoppers."
AFA is a pro-family advocacy group that claims over 2.5 million online supporters.