The War on Christmas Cards

The Mail might have finally been forced to admit that Winterval wasn’t the the pagan plot they’ve always claimed it was, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop publishing spurious “War on Christmas” stories whenever the fancy takes them. Today they turned their attention to Christmas cards and really didn’t like what they saw.

The headline was “Stores ‘ashamed’ to sell religious cards… but obscene ones litter the High Street“. The Mail have apparently had staff out on the high streets counting the number of religious Christmas cards on sale in various shops. They calculate that just half a percent of the cards for sale had a religious theme. They then took this information to “Christian leaders” for comment. This included well-known Christian nutter Stephen Green whose comments were every bit as intelligent and nuanced as we have come to expect.

I can’t believe this is being led by consumer demand.

I believe there is anti-Christian prejudice in the buying departments involved.

There’s too much of this multicultural indoctrination and too much of an idea that if they put out Christian cards they will alienate or discriminate against or offend other faiths.

There’s a kind of militant atheism and nasty secularism at work in this country which is completely opposed to Christianity.

He’s totally wrong, of course. This is completely lead by consumer demand. Shop owners aren’t stupid. If there was a demand for religious Christmas cards then they would meet it. If there aren’t many religious cards for sale it means that no-one is asking for them. Christianity is in decline in this country. That’s a simple fact that Christians (and the Daily Mail) are just going to have to accept.

But a lot of that article seemed a little familiar. And a little digging revealed Stores airbrush Christ out of Christmas cards from December 2010. Same writer, same survey, almost identical quotes from Stephen Green and other “Christian leaders”. I hope Andrew Levy wasn’t paid the full rate for both articles. Oh, and there’s another article on the same subject from 2006.

Something that was new to this year’s version of the article was the comparison to other Christmas cards that were on sale. Not only are religious cards in short supply, but the Mail was very distressed to find the shelves apparently packed with obscene cards with messages like “Merry Fucking Christmas”. With it’s useful sensitivity the Mail wanted to make sure that its readers knew exactly how disgusting these cards were so it listed plenty of examples – making liberal use of asterixes in certain words, but leaving us in no doubt what the real words were.

However, the Mail railing against these obscene cards seemed more that usually ridiculous when another article appeared on their web site later in the day. This new article was a celebration of the “bawdy” Christmas cards designed by Donald Gill at the start of the twentieth century. Surely the difference between “bawdy” and “obscene” is just the passage of time. I wonder if it’s worth searching the British Newspaper Archive for Mail stories from a hundred years ago complaining about Gill’s work?

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