Most of us recall growing up surrounded by a decent amount of Christian related “Christ”mas products used for decoration, display and/or gift giving.
Depictions and images of nativity scenes, baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the three Kings, shepherds and sheep, the manger and “Merry Christmas” salutations were widely commercially available at retail outlets. Wrapping paper, ornaments, nativity sets, outdoor displays and Christmas cards were common, in addition to the more abundant PR and Hollywood media creations of Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Reindeer, snow and wildlife scenery and the liberal or atheist driven term “Happy Holidays.”
Yet while waiting for a refill prescription at a local CVS store and having recently read a “Christ in Christmas” article, I was startled at not being able to find a single ornament, decoration, nativity set or wrapping paper that had any depiction, imagery or resemblance of the birth of Jesus in four large decorating aisles.
How could this be possible, in light of a 2012 Gallup poll in which 77% of the US population identify with a Christian religion and the fact that the $612 billion “Christ”mas shopping holiday originated and is based upon the belief and celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ?
Another 2012 Gallup poll finds that 95% percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, and of these, 51% describe the holiday as “strongly religious.” That’s been trending upward since 1989. This study finds 62% attend religious services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, 65% who display decorations with a religious meaning, and 78% who take time to reflect on the birth of Jesus.
Being curious, I went on a sixteen location shopping survey to eight different holiday decoration retailers to ascertain the policies, differences and availability of Christian themed decorating merchandise.
Designated items were only those that directly depicted the birth of Jesus; the manger, Mary & Joseph, the three wise men, shepherds, etc. or had a bible verse passage. I didn’t consider imagery or items such as doves or ornaments with words like “believe,” “peace” or “joy” that some may consider religious.
Most Christians probably haven’t fully realized that the vast majority of all traditional Christmas decorative items celebrating the birth of Jesus have been incrementally and subtly replaced over the years with politically correct new age spiritual designs and do not depict the actual Christianity Christmas. A serene snow scene, candle or a cuddling dove’s ornament are now considered deeply religious when compared to choices of a $14.95 “Elsa” Ornament from the movie Frozen, a lighted Santa Mickey, or a Grinch stocking. Baby Jesus isn’t invited to his birthday anymore, yet the party tab each year is some $600 billion.
- Hobby Lobby- It wasn’t a surprise to see the company that successfully challenged Obamacare and its abortion provisions had the most abundant availability of Christian Christmas decorations. They have a double entrance with a lobby that was full of several sets of prominent high quality nativity scenes, Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph paintings with about an equal balance of Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty depictions and displays. Not as many ornaments as I would have thought and no wrapping paper.
- Walgreens Drugstores- All three stores had the same single $9.99 nativity set (made in China) occupying less than ten inches of total shelf space width, but each store also had a large end cap display totally dedicated to Hanukah that had at least eight to ten feet of shelf space and 20 unique items. No ornaments or outdoor displays. They had a higher percentage of Christian-themed card sets and individual cards than CVS.
- CVS Drug Stores- I went to four newer large stores and couldn’t find a single nativity set or Christian Christmas imagery in ornaments, decorations or displays. Card Sets were limited and individual cards were found in the religious section only that was separate from the holiday card area and were hard to find. One of the store managers lamented and stated; “CVS is a strictly Happy Holidays company, they don’t even allow play of traditional Christmas music in their stores.”
- Super Walmart and Big Kmart- Despite both stores having massive holiday display sections, I was surprised not to find a single nativity set, ornament, decoration or outdoor display. Walmart did have one small unsold rack of figurines consisting of only two of the three kings, but no Mary or Baby Jesus? It was also disappointing to see almost thirty-plus lighted and inflatable outdoor displays that depicted Santa Yoda, Santa Spider-Man, Santa Snoopy, Santa Minnie & Mickey, Santa Polar Bears, Santa Darth Vader, Owls and Reindeer and about 10 different versions of Santa on sleighs, rockets, boats and palm trees but not a single nativity themed or Christian oriented outdoor display. Walmart also had a black woman Angel for tree tops. Hey wait a minute… how come there aren’t any men angels? When do you think we will see LGBT ones?
- Sears- Despite a huge holiday decorating section I couldn’t find a single ornament, nativity set or outdoor display. They do have a couple nativitys on their website. I found it ironic that they had a special area of many square feet dedicated to expensive, highly detailed miniature towns, buildings, Mickey and Minnie village, country store, alpine ski and snow sceneries, yet didn’t even offer a cheaply made nativity set somewhere.
- Dollar Tree- exactly what you would expect but one bright spot was that they did have some high quality nativity card sets that were made in the USA. One store did have little balsa wood nativity stable sets but all seven of them had only one or two plastic unrecognizable resin figures standing inside?
- JC Penney- A very small holiday decorating area with limited merchandise and no nativity sets, cards, or Christian theme ornaments. There was an expensive porcelain nativity set in a different section of the store. A couple traditional nativity sets were available online only.
It was surprising not to find any Christian themed wrapping paper anywhere. It surely would sell and I vividly recall seeing it in my youth. Friends and relatives’ gifts were always in some nativity theme and all of Santa’s morning gifts were in elf, Rudolph, Frosty or Santa sleigh wrapping paper that was always well hidden by Mom. Also, What ever happened to the little Drummer Boy?
For those of you who don’t feel that there is a subtle but distinct cultural war on Christianity please explain:
How or why have many Christians, who comprise 77% of the population, have come to generally accept that the birth of Jesus and nativity is politically incorrect and possibly offensive if displayed in retail stores, while if someone takes offense to Hanukah gift displays that are widespread in most retail centers, it could be considered anti-semitic even if the Jewish faith is only 2.2% of the country?
What is the difference between liberals’ or atheists’ view of a mythical Jesus that’s offensive to them vs. the other dozens of mythical Hollywood created figures stockpiled on retail shelves that have taken over as holiday displays and ornaments?