Gap to wish shoppers 'Merry Christmas'

Gap had decided to say 'Merry Christmas' in its holiday advertising, not just 'Happy Holidays.'
November 20, 2013 6:28:25 AM PST
With the holiday season comes the annual controversy over whether people should say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." This year, Gap finds itself in the middle of that debate.

For the past few years, conservatives have said people they call "secular progressives" are waging a war on Christmas. Now one faith-based group says the Gap is joining their side, although the San Francisco retailer doesn't quite see it that way.

It's the busiest shopping time of the year and when retailers try to lure consumers, the American Family Association wants their advertising to say "Merry Christmas."

"People buy gifts for Christmas, that's a tradition so there is nothing wrong with acknowledging Christmas in your promotions advertising and greetings," Tim Wildmon said.

His organization issues an annual "naughty or nice" list of companies. For the first time, Gap is listed as nice. Wildmon is declaring victory for what he describes as a policy change after years of talks with the gap.

"They are going to make a conscious effort to say 'Merry Christmas' in their advertising and their stores," he said.

Gap is not admitting to bowing to pressure, simply saying, "This season we are including a number of seasonal greetings such as Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah and Joyous Kwanza in our messaging to customers."

Veteran advertising executive Bob Pritikin thinks a more inclusive message is the way to go.

"I'd go to "Happy Holidays" because in this community there are thousands of Muslims and Jewish people," Pritkin said.

Shoppers seem fine with either greeting.

"I don't care one way or the other," one shopper said. "I can say 'Merry Christmas,' or 'Happy Holiday' or something in another language."

ABC7 News looked at a Gap commercial from last year and it included 'Merry Christmas,' along with other holiday greetings.


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