Glad tidings: Christmas is saved. Sure, this season has seen its grinches. But after last year's "holiday" attack, we've mostly run them back to Mt. Crumpit. Wal-Mart has prominently replaced last year's "Happy Holidays" greetings with "Merry Christmas," and promises 60 percent more Christmas-labeled merchandise.

"We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," a spokeswoman told USA Today. Target, Macy's, Carson Pirie Scott, and other stories are also getting out of the holiday spirit in favor of Christmas.

One of this year's early battles was short-lived. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation initially rejected a gift of 4,000 biblically themed dolls, then changed its mind after a brief uproar. "We realized it's a lot less time-consuming to find homes for the dolls than it is to answer media and complaints," foundation veep Bill Grein told The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, last year's "holiday tree" at the Michigan Capitol is once again a "Christmas tree," a once-banned nativity float has returned to Denver's Parade of Lights, and a momentary manger omission in St. Albans, West Virginia, has been rescinded.

Even the U.K. is seeing a backlash against a generic holiday. The Royal Mail's seasonal stamps may omit religious imagery, and some town councils may have renamed their celebrations "Winterval," but now even Muslims are calling for more Christ in Christmas. The Christian Muslim Forum, headed by leading clerics from both religions, argued: "Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, and we wish this significant part of the Christian heritage of this country to remain an acknowledged part of national life. The desire to secularize religious festivals is offensive to both of our communities."

But is hearing "Merry ...

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Tidings
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
Previous Tidings Columns:
July/August
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Christianity Today
The Year Conservatives Saved Christmas
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January 2007

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