As the seasonal retail admonishment goes, Christmas comes earlier every year. And that means the religious right has already launched their annual war against the war on Christmas. But this year, the ultra-conservative American Family Association is taking the crusade to new levels of shameless self-promotion.
With consumer spending expectations especially low for this holiday season, retailers are even more sensitive to customer proclivities. Some are trying to be more inclusive in their marketing and others are instructing their employees to greet customers with "Happy Holidays!" rather than specifying a religious event for people to be merry about.
Still other companies seem fearful of losing the militant Christian dollar. Sears created a "Christmas Club" card that rewards customers for saving up Christmas spending money destined for their stores. The American Family Association (AFA) insists the card is the direct result of pressure from their organization pushing retailers to openly use the word "Christmas."
Dismayed that the folks at The Gap and others will continue to eschew the word "Christ" in their holiday advertising, the AFA has come up with a new tactic to combat this terrible scourge on Jesus' birthday, which they're calling "Project Merry Christmas."
While it appears the campaign has been going since September, the AFA sent out an action alert last Saturday to let good Christians know about what they can do to fight the long-running war on Christmas:
Christians can take a stand and proclaim to our communities that Christmas is not just a winter holiday focused on materialism, but a "holy day" when we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
So how do they suggest combating the materialism of modern Christmas? By buying more crap, of course:
Here's how you can take a stand for Christmas. AFA is making available an attractive button and sticker that carry this thought-provoking, Gospel-focused message: "God's Gift: Merry Christmas."
Purchase enough buttons for each member of your church and enough glossy stickers for each family to have one to go on their automobiles. Urge your fellow members to wear their buttons and display the glossy stickers during the entire Christmas season.
They even suggest getting children into the act of marrying Jesus' birth to conservative capitalism, suggesting that "if you are unable to sponsor your church yourself, ask your Sunday School class to make it a class project." Yeah, that ought to teach kids the true value of Jesus.
The buttons are not offered at a huge discount, however, ranging from 52 cents to 90 cents a button, depending upon how many you buy. The stickers are even more expensive, ranging from $1.00 to $1.50 each. Moreover, while shipping is free, it also takes some three to four weeks to arrive. I very much doubt they are losing money on this deal.
And don't you worry; once the post-ascension blues sets in and the tannenbaum becomes a fire hazard, your vehicle can go back to normal, because the stickers are "easy to remove." So much for keeping Christmas in your heart all year round!