The American Family Association reported today that Costco Stores won't acknowledge Christmas. When asked whether Costco used the word Christmas in its advertising, on its signs, or anywhere in its stores during the Christmas season a Costco representative replied, "I guess the answer would be no."
Costco's not alone. AFA publishes a list of Naughty (against Christmas) and Nice (for Christmas) companies at its website.
Forget the myriad other arguments, now that America is officially in a recession, ignoring Christmas is just a plain stupid business decision. By acknowledging the reason for the season smart businesses can attract America's 140 million church-goers and their Christmas spending. Ignore Christmas--one of the two defining holidays of the Christian faith--or try to present "holidays" as an acceptable alternative, and you insult the people who hold that faith dear. Need an example? Check out the comments following the story at the free republic website.
To put this in perspective, imagine the outrage if Costco refused to acknowledge that Martin Luther King Day had anything to do with a black man who fought for civil rights while simultaneously asking African Americans to commemorate the "holiday" by purchasing gifts for each other. Ouch!
In an attempt to be "inclusive" many well-intentioned businesses wind up excluding Christians by removing references to their sacred holiday altogether. True inclusiveness means keeping Christ in Christmas even as you acknowledge other people groups whose holidays fall around the same time.
Political correctness is out. Economic correctness is in. If businesses will recognize Christmas for what it really is--Jesus' birthday--then believers (2.1 billion of them world-wide) will reward them with their patronage. It can be a powerful competitive advantage at a time when businesses desperately need one.
Spread the fire and Merry Christmas. GS
Note: My next book, co-written with Bob Hutchins, is called Faith-Based Marketing. Wiley and Sons will publish it in April 2009.