Along with joy and thanksgiving, the Christmas season can bring along intense debate over which companies and brands are “naughty” — and which are “nice.” In conservative circles, this generally centers on whether retailers and businesses are willing to acknowledge “Christmas” without using more general phraseology like “Happy Holidays,” or even avoiding Christmas festivities altogether.
The American Family Association, a Christian nonprofit, releases a list each year of the “top retailers and how they recognize Christmas.”
Five outside companies this year earned a “five-star” blue designation, finding themselves on the nice list are:
3. Hobby Lobby
A sixth business topping the “nice” list is the American Family Association’s own online store.
Fifty-five other companies have been designated “Christmas-friendly” as well.
While only 11 companies landed on the red, or “naughty,” list, some of them are among the most popular and well-known: Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, Pet Smart, Radio Shack and Victoria’s Secret.
Brands are given one of four color-coded ratings. Companies labeled blue are considered celebratory of Christmas “on an exceptional basis.”
Green means companies routinely use the term “Christmas” and are considered friendly toward the holiday. Yellow indicates a deficiency in the use of the term “Christmas,” and red means a company doesn’t really recognize the holiday.
There’s apparently a calculated method the American Family Association uses to determine where these companies fall. According to The Christian Post, the designations are based on four areas of advertising: broadcast media, print media, company websites and visits to stores. If the word “Christmas” doesn’t make it into these ads, the American Family Association assumes Christmas censorship.
American Family Foundation President Tim Wildmon said the list highlights a problem in America with political correctness.
“We’ve become a society that is overly concerned that something we say, even when true or right, might offend someone,” Wildmon said. “The truth is that America was built on Christian principles and our nation has enjoyed much of our economic success because of the tenets of our founding fathers. When stores try to be politically correct by pushing Christ out of Christmas, it’s time to shop somewhere else.”
The “Naughty or Nice” list has one notable change this year. The Gap, which usually lands on the “naughty” list, is for the first time being labeled pro-Christmas. Wildmon told KGO-TV in San Francisco that the company was bumped up because it’s changing its holiday ways.
“They are going to make a conscious effort to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in their advertising and their stores,” he said.
The Gap specified to KGO that the company has chosen to acknowledge all of the major holidays this year.
“This season we are including a number of seasonal greetings such as Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah and Joyous Kwanza in our messaging to customers,” the company said.