Starbucks faux outrage: When did this “War on Christmas” start anyway?

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Photo by CMFRIESE via Flickr creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/free-zee/22239197094/

Photo by CMFRIESE via Flickr creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/free-zee/22239197094/

Photo by CMFRIESE via Flickr creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/free-zee/22239197094/

Photo by CMFRIESE via Flickr creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/free-zee/22239197094/

The brouhaha surrounding Starbucks and Christmas is a tempest in a coffee cup. And it’s not one that would have occurred ten years ago.

No one is actually upset about the latest red cups at Starbucks. Yet so many people believed that conservative Christians were upset over the cups. And why not? Outrage over the so-called war on Christmas is an American holiday tradition.

But it is a recent tradition.Ten years ago, no one had heard of a “war on Christmas.”

In 2006 John Gibson (then at Fox News television) placed the “war on Christmas” into our lexicon.

Gibson’s book, War on Christmasclaimed to show “how the liberal plot to ban the sacred Christian holiday is worse than you thought.” Small acts such as saying “Happy Holidays” became signs that Christmas was under attack.

To the relief of children everywhere, Christmas survived the Battle of ’06. And the Battle of ’07. And every battle since. According to most experts, it is expected to survive the Battle of Starbucks, too.


READ Christmas Day 1914: Soldiers all together in no man’s land


Since Gibson’s book, there is an annual tradition among some conservatives to bemoan the loss of Christmas in American society. The bookshelf includes Sarah Palin’s Good Tiding and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas and War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression by Answers in Genesis’ Bodie Hodge.

Each year, the American Family Association informs consumers on which retailers are “nice” and “naughty.”  WalMart is nice. Foot Locker is naughty. Starbucks isn’t on either list—it’s on their “marginal list” for retailers who don’t fully embrace the holiday.

If you want the story of how Christmas survived true government suppression, however, read Stephen Nissenbaum’s Battle for Christmas. Puritans actually outlawed Christmas because of its connections to drunkenness and wassailing.

Put that in your coffee cup and drink it.

Portions of this post were published in an earlier post.

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  • Wallace

    “Since Gibson’s book, there is an annual tradition among some conservatives to bemoan the loss of Christmas in American society.”

    In other words, the alleged “war” is a way to raise profits and increase membership in the same way the “Grandma’s Day” is a fake holiday designed to sell greeting cards.