Just in time for Black Friday shopping, American Family Association (AFA) has released its annual "Naughty or Nice" list of retailers who either embrace Christmas in their seasonal shopping campaigns or leave it out in the cold.
With the goal of keeping Christ in Christmas, AFA has reviewed the websites, media advertising and in-store signage of the top 100 national retailers in an effort to help consumers know which companies are Christmas-friendly and which are acting like "Scrooge."
"There are concerted efforts in our country to eliminate 'Christmas' because the word itself is a reminder of Jesus Christ," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "Those who hate Christ want to eradicate anything that reminds Americans of Christianity. That is why it is important to remind companies to keep the word 'Christmas' alive. AFA wants to keep Christ in Christmas and Christmas in America."
AFA rates the retailers in four categories. AFA "5-Star" retailers promote and celebrate Christmas on an exceptional basis. These include: Belk, Hobby Lobby, Lowe's, Sears and Wal-Mart.
"Nice" retailers use the term "Christmas" on a regular basis and are considered "Christmas-friendly." The "Nice" list includes about 45 retailers, from Amazon.com to Zappos.com.
Thirteen retailers this year made the "Marginal" list, meaning these companies refer to Christmas infrequently or only in select advertising mediums.
The 11 retailers on the "Naughty" list may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as companies, do not recognize it. These include: Barnes & Noble, Family Dollar, Foot Locker, Limited Brands, Maurice's, Office Depot, Office Max, PetSmart, Staples, Supervalu and Victoria's Secret.
Last week, AFA announced a Christmas shopping boycott of the national pet retailer PetSmart for omitting any references to Christmas in its shopping promotions.
"PetSmart has ignored the pleas of its shoppers and AFA for years and doesn't deserve your business," Wildmon said. "As consumers, let's tell PetSmart that we won't be doing any Christmas shopping for Fido and Fluffy in its stores this year."
AFA reached out to PetSmart in 2007 and 2011 regarding its glaring omission of the word "Christmas"—with no response.
Soon after AFA sent the PetSmart Action Alert to its one million-plus friends and supporters last week, PetSmart sent a promotional email to its own consumer list, using the word "Christmas," but PetSmart's newfound "Christmas" spirit appears relegated to this one email and a small gift labeled "Merry Christmas" in a television commercial, with no indication of any real change on the part of the retailer.
In 2013, AFA encouraged a similar boycott of the Christmas-unfriendly Radio Shack, which saw dismal electronics sales and was forced to close 200 locations this year. In fact, many of Radio Shack's franchise owners joined AFA in urging the company to include "Christmas" in its marketing. This year, the shopping season at Radio Shack looks much different. The tech retailer began using "Christmas" well before the end of October. In fact, in a press release dated Oct. 22, Radio Shack promoted an "exclusive lineup of Christmas gifts."
In the past, AFA has called out Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Sears, urging them to use "Christmas" in their marketing efforts. Wal-Mart responded by stating, "We learned a valuable lesson. Next year, we will use Christmas early and often." Today, all three retailers are on AFA's "5-Star" list and have even set up Christmas shops inside their stores.
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