Will retailers say "Merry Christmas" this year, or will they tell their clerks to say "Happy Holidays" instead?
According to the American Family Association (AFA), last year, some major retailers did say Merry Christmas. Among them were Bass Pro Shops, Lowe's, Home Depot, Macy's, Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, and Nordstrom. The AFA keeps track of these things and also noted a number of retailers that did not say Merry Christmas. Among them were Barnes & Noble, Pet Smart, Staples, and Victoria's Secret.
The battle over what to call Christmas seems to be a long one. Bill O'Reilly, who has been reporting on the war for about 10 years, declared victory in 2014. He announced on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" that 2014 was "the only year we have not had a store that commanded its employees not to say Merry Christmas," said O'Reilly. "It's over. We won."
This writer hopes so. The tradition of this holiday depends on keeping it tied to its religious roots. It is the day of Christ's birth we celebrate - not the beginning of winter or the first sign of snow in Michigan.
The Christmas season will be upon us soon. Let's prepare our minds to give to others and be festive. It is a time of joy. And let's remember why it is a time of joy. It is the moment when God became a human baby so He could redeem people from the darkness and loneliness of sin. So buy some lights and stoke up the fireplace. Bake those special treats and prepare those tasty meals. Decorate your home and, while you're at it, your heart. Be generous and kind and share your joy and good fortune with those in need. Pray for peace.
As we approach October, memories begin flashing by me like the passing landscape from a speeding train. I see the faces of my children decorating our house for Christmas, smell the stuffing we have at Thanksgiving, and feel the cold glass on my nose as I press my face against the window of a downtown store. I hear those special Christmas stories from radio shows long ago and remember the magic of snowy urban nights. I jump from childhood, to the days when my children were young and then to a more recent holiday moment. From October 1 to December 31, I live somewhere between now and my past.
I suspect other people feel the same way although I know some people may feel extremely lonely during this time of year. If you are among them, this blog is for you.
I want to help create a Christmas experience for you. Between now and the end of the year, I will do what I can to share all kinds of fun things related to the holidays - particularly Christmas. Please stay in touch or subscribe to my RSS feed to see what is coming. I may not post at the same time every week, but I will be posting often and I will be looking for your input.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!