“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” so goes the 1963 hit Christmas song made popular by the late singer Andy Williams. Many would argue, however, that the holidays are just another push among retailers to sell more widgets and electronic gizmos.
Aside from all the hoopla around Black Friday, and now Small Business Saturday, a quieter more subtle movement is emerging: Merry Christmas.
Advertisers, business organizations and even political figures over the years have replaced “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” to be more inclusive and politically correct. This always has irked many of those who celebrate Christmas and feel that the true meaning of the holiday has been watered down to fit a mass retail audience.
According to a Pew Research poll conducted in 2008, 60 percent of Americans choose to be greeted by “Merry Christmas” when entering a store or business, while only 23 percent prefer “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” Still, ads and marketing efforts continue to push the “Happy Holidays” theme, even though nearly half of Americans (45 percent) have no greeting preference when specifically given “doesn’t matter” as a polling option.
Not so, says former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in her new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” who calls for bringing back the freedom to express the Christian values of the season. The push to “bring back Merry Christmas” also is evident in Canada as online polls, websites and even a Facebook page is dedicated to restoring the holiday greeting to national prominence.
Whether Sarah Palin and America’s conservative right have enough marketing muscle to reignite the war on Christmas remains unclear, although a book tour while the holiday season gets into full swing is a great start. Either way, Santa will be watching.