The American Family Association (AFA), a Christian non-profit, has published a "naughty or nice" list of businesses the organization claims to be “against Christmas,” in what seems to be part of a larger discourse on whether retailers are trying to completely recast the Christian holiday.
The organization’s website launched a list of stores that fit within three categories: “Companies FOR ‘Christmas,’ ” “Companies marginal on ‘Christmas’ ” and “Companies AGAINST ‘Christmas.’ ”
As far as the first category goes, AFA defines it as follows: “Company uses the term ‘Christmas’ on a regular basis, we consider that company Christmas-friendly.” Stores falling within that category include Kmart, Target, Macy’s, Marshals, JC Penney, and Best Buy.
The “marginal” companies refer to Christmas “infrequently, or in a single advertising medium, but not in others.” Businesses in that category include Starbucks, Whole Foods and Bath & Body Works.
The third category means that the businesses included in it “may use ‘Christmas’ sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as a company, does not recognize it.” Among these companies, AFA includes Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Gap, Foot Locker, Office Depot, Old Navy, Radio Shack, Staples, and Victoria’s Secret.
The selections were made based on current advertising, AFA said in a statement published on its website. It also promised to keep updating the list in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
“AFA reviewed up to four areas to determine if a company has 'Christmas-friendly' in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company's ad had references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach 'Christmas' shoppers,” the organization's statement reads.
The initiative fits into the “War on Christmas,” in which, according to some members of the Christian community, certain businesses have been looking to eliminate the Christian aspects of the Christmas tradition from public life.
The alleged “War on Christmas” includes the dispute over whether stores should greet their costumers with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” during the holiday season, which coincides with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and pagan celebrations of the winter solstice.
In another example of what has been labeled as the “War on Christmas,” Christians in Tulsa, Okla., have been fighting to keep the word “Christmas” in this year's parade, as its name has been changed to the “Holiday Parade of Lights.”
AFA, founded in 1977 by Donald E. Wildmon as the National Federation for Decency, is currently one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country with over two million online supporters and approximately 180,000 paid subscribers, according to the organization's website.