Why do retailers fear using the word ‘Christmas’?

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Perhaps the most bizarre manifestation of the Christmas censorship, however, occurred online, at Amazon.com. Mark Steyn, writing at National Review Online, reported that instead of a “Twelve Days of Christmas” sale, Amazon is having a “Twelve Days of Holiday” sale. And when a customer wrote in to complain about omitting the word “Christmas,” Amazon, incredibly, sent out a canned apology for using the word “Christmas” elsewhere on its Web site. It read: “Please accept our sincere apologies if you were offended by the use of the word “Christmas” on our [Web site]. Our intention in referring to Christmas is to give specific ordering guidance for a specific holiday, not to exclude other faiths.”

But what Amazon and all these brick-and-mortar merchants don’t seem to understand is, in shunning the word “Christmas,” supposedly in order not to risk “offending” the at-most 10 percent of the population who are not Christians or don’t celebrate the holiday, they give the back of their hand to the 90 percent or more who are and do.

A former Jewish colleague, moreover, noted that Hanukkah is a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar, and not particularly a gift-giving occasion, so what other “holiday” are these reticent retailers referring to anyway with their “holiday sales”? The winter solstice? Boxing Day? Festivus?

Making it all the more inexplicable, radio stations across the country program Christmas music - some of them playing nothing but - for weeks leading up to Dec. 25, and seasonal classics like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” draw large TV audiences every year at this time. So again I must ask: Who, exactly, do PC-whipped retailers think is being “offended” (other than the usual ACLU types, who have made taking offense their raison d’etre) and why do their marketing and advertising departments insist on being Grinches?

Kohl’s and Rite-Aid deserve praise - and our patronage - for not following the retail pack mentality. If enough of us vote with our wallets in our last-minute shopping today and tomorrow, and let their staffs know why we’re there this Christmas season, perhaps the others will get the message, and put Christmas back in their “holiday” sales next year.

• Peter J. Parisi, an editor at The Washington Times, can be reached at pparisi@wash ingtontimes.com.

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