Boycott a Business for Christmas…Seriously?

The other day while looking at Z’s blog (which you should be reading too; he’s swell), I came across a post talking about Stand for Christmas. Here’s a bit of info from the StandforChristmas.com:

In response to the secularization of Christmas and the trend of censoring public references to this time-honored holiday, Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action began to speak out on the issue in 2007...In recent years, Focus on the Family has evaluated the advertising of major retailers and assigned ratings based on their level of “Christmas-friendliness.” We provided these ratings in an annual shopping guide. The response from consumers – and media outlets – has been remarkable.

This year, we’re excited to present a Christmas campaign with a twist!

We’re placing shoppers in the driver’s seat. Through this site, customers can provide feedback directly to retailers and share their experiences with fellow shoppers! [emphasis mine]

Okay, seriously, who thinks this is actually a good idea?

I don’t want to come across as throwing fellow Christians under the bus, but seriously, this is silly.

I’m sure we can all agree that we live in a ridiculously P.C. culture where being as inoffensive and inclusive as possible are our highest virtues; but I also know I’ve never met anyone ever who has been offended by using the term “Merry Christmas.” Likewise, I’ve never seen someone lose their mind because someone said “Happy Holidays.”

I suspect that most people don’t really care that much either way.

Something I frequently need to remind myself is that I can’t expect my non-Christian friends, family and neighbors to hold the same convictions as I do; it’s silly to think that they should. And the fact is, for the majority of people (including many of us who profess to be Christians), Christmas is not about Jesus. It’s about stuff.

But if you want people care Christ in relation to Christmas, the way to do it is not by boycotting stores.

Perhaps a better way would be by taking opportunities to share the gospel, as well as be a bit more considerate toward the overworked and underpaid staff of the stores we frequent.

We can learn our barista’s name at Starbucks and not be in a panicked hurry to get in and out of a store as quickly as possible.

And maybe we can even say, “Merry Christmas” like we really mean it.

Just a thought. Am I out to lunch?

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  • Wes

    Couldn’t agree more, Aaron.

    I’d go a step further and say this: maybe the people we should be reaching out to are fellow Christians who think that, like you said, Christmas is all about “stuff”. Seems to me that most people who celebrate Christmas get caught up in the material luxuries that surround the holiday. It irritates me that this is what it is; what we’ve reduced our God to. Sometimes I want to curse the name of St. Nick and his giving of presents…

    But I digress. The emphasis shouldn’t be on the fact that we live in a PC society. It should be on the fact that we worship consumerism and material wealth. Which is why I have a tough time supporting groups like Focus on the Family. They mean well, but their focus is off (pun intended).

    Boycott specific stores? Not sure if I agree with that. By another name, that’s corporatism. But for a family to say that they’re not buying ANYTHING for Christmas, and instead are going out to serve at a soup kitchen or hang out with homeless people on the street… that’s something I can support.

    • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

      Yeah, this is definitely one of those things that frustrates me about Focus on the Family. They actually make good points on a number of issues and provide a lot of helpful resources, but stuff like this… it doesn’t sit well with me.

      It gives the impression of trying to conform people to a certain morality without the transformation needed to do so.

      Something our family’s done this year is make donations in lieu of gifts with Compassion (http://compassion.ca/shop); we’re slowly trying to introduce concepts like this into our extended family, but it takes time.

      • Wes

        My wife and I did the same thing last year for Christmas. Like you said, it takes time to encourage your friends and family to go along with it… especially when certain in-law’s are consumed by materialism…

        My wife and I want our son to grow up in a home that makes it a point to serve and to give, not just to receive gifts for Christmas like we grew up with. We’ll be doing the donations again this year and we’ll be trying to encourage others to do so as well. I appreciate that you’re of the same mind.

        • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

          Likewise – it’s really encouraging to see others looking at Christmas differently.