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Another gift-swapping season* is here again

By Bill O'Reilly

*This holiday was once known as Christmas

Corporate America should get down on its knees and thank God that the baby Jesus was born 2,000 plus years ago. OK, how many people did I offend with that first sentence? Let's see, I mentioned praying to God, the baby Jesus and even hinted at the celebration of Christmas. Totally out of line, don't you think?

The federal holiday of Christmas is once again under siege this year by secular forces that want to wipe out any public display of America's Judeo-Christian traditions. And what a problematic situation this has become, especially for big business. Sears and Kmart will absolutely not mention the word "Christmas" in advertising this year. Wal-Mart will not either, along with scores of other retail stores. The reason these operations give for avoiding the C-word is that they don't want to offend anyone by mentioning a holiday they might not celebrate. These stores believe the greeting "Happy Holidays" is more "inclusive," although I'm sure there are some Americans who don't believe in any holidays, so what about them?

Frankly, the executives who have banished Christmas from their advertising are insane. By doing that, they are offending tens of millions of traditional Americans who respect the Christmas season and want it called exactly what it is - Christmas.

Back in 1870, President U.S. Grant signed a law making Christmas a holiday for all American citizens. That's why you have the day off. That's why no mail is delivered. Santa is the only designated delivery guy on Dec. 25. Can I say Santa? Is that inclusive?

There is a huge backlash brewing on this Christmas deal. Judging from reaction to my reporting on television and radio, millions of Americans have had enough of denigrating the birth of Jesus. The holiday honors peace and generosity in the name of a great philosopher who has had a tremendous influence on the U.S. Eighty-five percent of Americans call themselves Christians, and believe me, many of them are not happy with "Happy Holidays" as the imposed greeting of the season.

Federated Department Stores (that's Macy's, Bloomingdale's and others) learned its lesson last year when it pushed the "Merry Christmas" greeting out the door and sales suffered. This year, Federated is back in the Christmas spirit, so to speak, using "Merry Christmas" along with other seasonal greetings to advertise stuff.

It's all so blatantly dumb. All these corporate geniuses have to do is incorporate all the greetings into the store brochures and displays. Most Christians are more than happy to acknowledge Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Time or whatever. Use them all, and to all a good night.

But no. The incredibly dense grinches that run many American companies are so infected with political correctness, so afraid somebody might complain about the word "Christmas" that they throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater.

Well, humbug. You do that - I'm shopping elsewhere. Three wise men once came bearing gifts to honor a baby who would grow up to bring a great message to the world. If corporate chieftains are not wise enough to honor that message as well, they don't deserve any Christmas cheer. Simple as that.

Veteran TV news anchor and author Bill O'Reilly is a host on Fox News. His column appears on Friday.