Group’s Annual ‘Naughty and Nice’ List Shows More Merchants Acknowledging Christmas

By Penny Starr | December 1, 2009 | 6:12 PM EST

( – If Santa is making his list and checking it twice, he may be surprised to find that for the first time since 2005, more American corporations are celebrating Christmas as a part of their seasonal marketing and ad campaigns.
The conservative religious freedom group Liberty Counsel released its annual “Naughty and Nice” list last week, putting businesses in the “naughty” or “nice” column based on whether Christmas is included in advertising and in-store displays.
“There’s far more on the nice side than the naughty side,” Mathew Staver, founder and president of the counsel, told
Staver said that his organization began its Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign seven years ago to support Christmas and fight its censorship in the public square. Then in 2005, a year Staver said seemed to represent the pinnacle of anti-Christmas sentiment, a spruce bound from Canada to Boston inspired the first “Naughty and Nice” list.
A banner on the front of the flatbed truck hauling the tree read “Merry Christmas Boston” – until it reached Boston’s city limits and someone changed the sign to say “Happy Holidays.”
“Then it became evident that the retailers were calling these trees holiday trees,” Staver said of the first list compiled four years ago.
That year stores like Wal-Mart, Sears and K-Mart made the “naughty” list for forbidding their employees to wish customers “Merry Christmas” and using the label “holiday” in stores to describe Christmas merchandise ranging from trees to decorations.
But since then, Staver said the trend has been that more and more businesses have been putting Christmas back into their seasonal promotions and moving from the counsel’s “naughty” to its “nice list” – including Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Sears.
The first year, the “naughty” and “nice” lists were about the same length, but this year the “nice list” is significantly longer, Staver said.
Almost 30 businesses, however, remain on the “naughty” list for Christmas censorship, including J. Crew Outfitters, which Staver said has not responded to the counsel’s communications on the subject.
“They said that they were trying to be inclusive and sensitive,” Staver said. “The fact is, they’re being insensitive to a holiday that’s celebrated by the majority of Americans and people around the world.”
Staver said it’s really up to consumers to send a message by supporting businesses who support Christmas.
“Every consumer should make a list and check it twice, stop patronizing retailers which are naughty and shop at those which are nice,” Staver said in a press release announcing the release of the annual list. “Retailers which seek to profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist should realize they have offended the vast majority of Americans who enjoy Christmas.
“Customers have a choice, and they will not patronize corporate Scrooges,” Staver said.