Bonnie Alba
Retailers say Bah! Humbug! to Christmas
By Bonnie Alba
December 11, 2008

At this time last year, I visited our local mall to do a bit of Christmas shopping. Lo and behold! Not a sign, a song, a word of Christmas! All I saw were signs of "Happy Holidays" proclaiming "buy, buy, buy!"

Stunned by this lack of recognition of "Christmas," I bought one gift and as the clerk rang it up, I asked her, "What happened to 'Merry Christmas'?" She shrugged her shoulders and as I left, she said, "Happy Holidays." I said "Merry Christmas" anyway.

A senior moment? I know I'm getting old, but I looked at my calendar to make sure. Yep! It was December and I saw Christmas printed right there on the 25th. I also noted that in 1870, Pres. Ulysses S. Grant was the first to declare Christmas a National holiday. Now here we are 138 years later, and we can't even say "Merry Christmas" in public.

A November 2007 Rasmussen survey showed that 67 percent of Americans supported "Merry Christmas" while only 26 percent favored "Happy Holidays." With few exceptions, retailers failed to reach their expected, end-of-year profits for 2007.

Of course the feds just made it official — we've been in a recession since December 2007. That's old news to most Americans. Millions of Americans did the same thing our family did, cut back on spending for Christmas gifts.

So what are we to do with this National Holiday called Christmas that we're supposed to pretend doesn't exist? Be patriotic and spend, or hard-time frugal? Is it possible the erasure of Christmas from the public square has anything to do with our decisions to cut spending?

Is there a connecting thread running through the lowered economic forecasts for this season and the now politically correct, secular holiday? Is it possible that if traditions are eliminated, in turn, we will spend less in the marketplace for gifts regardless of the economy?

In a recent Wall Street Journal column ( , Daniel Henninger expressed this theory about the economic meltdown and Christmas, "A nation whose people can't say 'Merry Christmas' is a nation capable of ruining its own economy." He later added, "It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous."

Utah state Sen. Chris Buttars recently spoke up. He told the Salt Lake Tribune, "I'm sick of the Christmas wars... We're a Christian nation and ought to use the word." ( )

This is a symptom of America gone amok, one who has forsaken any attempt to be what she once proclaimed to be, Christian. Political correctness and diversity rule our public lives.

Remember, "politically correct" speech and actions are "controlled" by someone or some group. They are not according to self-restraint and self-responsibility of a free society.

This season's gift buying is sure to weaken as Americans tighten their belts. We face an uncertain financial future as the economy moans and groans. At the same time, the public erosion of Christmas symbolism and traditions causes many to rethink their spending traditions. New traditions may rise in their places which don't include the spending orgies of the past.

Merchandisers, are you listening? You who promoted "Merry Christmas" and the spirit of giving for over 60 years have done away with the "reason for the season."

What it used to be: Just a short 4-5 years ago, some stores were still playing "White Christmas," "Silent Night," "Joy to the World" and other Christmas favorites. For most, there was a interconnection between the music and our shopping. Buying gifts for our loved ones, we were reminded of the special gift we had received from God.

A baby born over 2000 years ago remains the center of the Christmas season. He was God come to Earth to provide the greatest gift of all, his Grace and Mercy, and much more.

Perhaps it's time to simplify. Forego the Christmas shopping orgy and return to traditions of old. Gather your family together, dust off your Bibles and read the Christmas history aloud to your children in remembrance of Christ's humble arrival so long ago. Attend a church service. Spend time with your families sharing a communion meal together in the joy and love of Christ.

Maybe even go back to simple heart-felt gifts. And, if able, give your time, money and energy to local organizations who still believe in "Christmas" and work hard to provide for those in need, especially at this special time of the year.

Merry Christmas!

© Bonnie Alba


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Bonnie Alba

(Editor's note: Bonnie Alba passed away on February 12, 2017. You can read her obituary here.)

Bonnie Alba is a "politically incorrect" researcher-writer. Since 1995, her articles have appeared in California newspapers. Previously she served in various Department of Defense positions for over 16 years... (more)


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