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Forbes reports this morning that “big chains aren’t as timid as they once were to market by wishing their customers a ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of the bland ‘Happy Holidays’.”

According to tracking done by the American Family Association, a conservative group that could be described as pro-Christmas, 60 of 84 major chains are said to be “Christmas friendly,” 14 unfriendly and 10 neutral. “The criteria: the company’s willingness to invoke Christmas in its print and broadcast advertising, its website and store experience (will you be greeted by signs and employees actually willing to wish you a ‘Merry Christmas?’).

“The list’s pro-Christmas bent is a reversal from six years ago, when the AFA scouted America’s 100 largest retailers and found that the vast majority were exclusively or primarily using ‘Happy Holidays’ in their marketing.”
KC's View:
I’ve always thought that this is something of a canard, just like the old “war on Christmas” argument that some people make.

The thing is, smart marketers know who their customers are. If you know that your customers celebrate Christmas - and the vast majority of Americans do, whether in a religious or secular fashion - then it makes sense to say “Merry Christmas.” And even non-celebrants won’t be offended by this. If your customers are likely not to be celebrating, however, it makes sense to perhaps be a little less specific in one’s promotions.

This is all about common sense. To follow up on something I said yesterday about a different - but, I fear, related - story, I just wish people would spend more time in the act of celebration and less in demonization.