12/25/2011 08:18 EST | Updated 02/23/2012 05:12 EST

War on Christmas Reaches Defcon One


Is it just me, or did the War on Christmas ramp-up to Def-Con 1 status this year?

Item: School buses in Kingston, Ont., are forbidden to display any sort of Christmas decorations. Safety first, you understand. After all, that Santa Claus poster affixed to the roof of the bus might somehow impair the driver's vision.

Item: Home Hardware is marketing something called a "pre-lit tree" that looks very much like a... Christmas tree. No, I've never heard of a "pre-lit tree" either. Still, isn't there a bigger issue at play? Presumably, only Christians are in the market for Christmas trees in the first place. Why would a retailer think that calling a Christmas tree a "Christmas tree" would be offensive to Christian consumers of Christmas trees? It simply does not compute.

Item: In August, I drove by a York Region police station with a video message board wishing everyone a "Happy Ramadan." I don't have an issue with the cops wishing those of the Muslim faith a Happy Ramadan. But it would've been quite jolly to see that same video board wishing folks a Merry Christmas come late December. Instead, motorists are greeted with the lame "Happy Holidays" salutation. I really hate to be a nitpicker, but if Christmas is rebranded as a generic "holiday," then shouldn't Ramadan simply be referred to as a "holiday" too?

Of note, I pursued the matter regarding the double standard when it comes to the holiday double standard. Here's the official explanation courtesy of Tracy Smith of York Regional Police: Ramadan is identified by name is because "Ramadan is the only holiday in August" whereas December encompasses Christmas, Hanukkah, and the even the fake holiday of Kwanzaa; thus, the police just want to be "inclusive."

I informed Smith she is either misinformed or lying for there is indeed another holiday in August -- Simcoe Day. Her reply: "I'm sorry you feel that way."

Item: Without doubt, the Jump-The-Shark Award regarding this year's War on Christmas marketing goes to Christine McGee of Sleep Country Canada. In radio ads promoting Sleep Country's Boxing Week sale (already underway), the CEO rhetorically asks, "Why wait unit after the holiday [singular]" to take advantage of Boxing Day discounts? It's an uncanny statement given that Boxing Day, by definition, always occurs on December 26. That's the day after Christmas -not the day after Hanukkah or even the day after Festivus. And yet, even in this scenario, McGee just can't bring herself to utter the "C"-word. Amazing.

Still, the point of my rant isn't to merely bemoan the War on Christmas. That's old hat. Rather, I want to suggest an option when it comes to standing up to those waging war on Christmas. Namely, fighting back. The weapon of choice: your pocketbook.

Thus, during this "holiday season", I decided to go out of my way to patronize only those merchants that actually used the word "Christmas" in their TV, radio, or newspaper ads.

It's slim pickings, but there are still some merchants that aren't terrified to say "Christmas."

So it was that I purchased a table from Bad Boy and a set of headphones from 2001 Audio Video. And I made certain to tell the clerk in each case why I selected their store. (As a side note, neither clerk was Christian, yet they both agreed that avoiding the "C" word at Christmastime was ludicrous. So kindly remind me again: Who are we protecting from being offended?)

I also plan to write the CEOs of these chains, informing them why I chose to patronize their stores. As an army of one, it will be hard to make headway. But if enough people do likewise in the Decembers to come, maybe there's a chance we can collectively make a tangible difference regarding the War on Christmas.

Won't you join me?