Good-Bye Bell Ringers-Hello “Family Trees”

December 1st, 2007

Christmas is my favorite holiday – hands down. Not just because I am a christian and cherish thisBah Humbug Target! special time of year because of my beliefs. I also find it a favorite because people find themselves being kinder to their fellow men & women. People open doors, smile, and are generally nicer at this time of year.

Strangers showed us kindness this week. Our family is experiencing the holidays without a job. Although my husband is looking hard, he hasn’t found anything yet. Our plight had been heard from another homeschooling family. They in turn told others. We got a call earlier this week (from a local church) that our family had been nominated to receive a Christmas dinner. That someone else thought we were in need and could use the food. Although this touched my heart more than I can say, we asked only for prayer and that the food that was meant for us, goes to another family. As we have worked at our local food bank and seen real need, we felt that we weren’t there “quite yet”.

How beautiful a gesture that was. To think of others that are having a rough time and help them out. THAT is what people should be about. Helping, giving, and sharing. However, not everyone feels this way.

One of the things that our family looks forward to each Christmas is hearing the familiar bell ringing of a Salvation Army volunteer. These people stand out in the cold and wind with this bright red kettle and ring to their hearts content. They wish everyone Merry Christmas and don’t harass you if you can’t spare change. However, if you feel called to, they thank you for your kindness. Just hearing that bell ring makes us realize that the “season of giving” is here. Can you spare some change for those that don’t have as much as you do? For those that need a hot meal, warm jacket, or a soft blanket?

Apparently, not every business or customer feels the same as our family. Target, for example, has banned Salvation Army from their stores. Their reason is that they don’t allow solicitation. I guess Target has confused kindness and generosity with panhandling? Maybe they are afraid that spare change should go to their merchandise, and not to the needy? Shame on you, Target. I know it won’t hurt you at all, but this family won’t be shopping at your store ever again.

We also found that our local mall won’t allow the bell ringing any longer. They will let the Salvation Army volunteer stand at the mall entrance with his shiny kettle. However, there is NO RINGING ALLOWED. Why you wonder? Someone complained to the mall that it made them uncomfortable. The mall said that the ringing had to stop or they would ban the buckets. How policially correct is that?

Salvation Army started ringing bells in 1891 . Money collected through the red kettles are used to help the needy, the sick, the aged and other less fortunate individuals, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Has our growing national fear to “not offend – no matter the cost” made this 100+ yr. old tradition objectionable?

Family TreesIf we get on the subject of “not offending – no matter the cost”, let’s look at the recent situation with Lowe’s. An ad went out stating that you could buy “Family Trees”. The term appeared in the company’s 2007 holiday catalog. Haven’t they always been called Christmas Trees? Is the word “Christ”mas politically incorrect now? Lowe’s says that they didn’t catch the wording error until after it went to print. I’m sorry. I used to work in an R.O.P. print shop, and my husband worked for 2 print shops when he graduated. We both know that MANY EYES check type and ads before they go to print. That is for even the smallest jobs. Typesetters, pressmen, binders, cutters, the BOSS…they ALL check the ad and wording. Lowe’s saying: “Ooops! How did that get in there?”, just doesn’t cut it. They were pushing the “let’s not offend” envelope. Looks like Lowe’s was trying to go the Target way. What a shame that your public found offense in THAT, huh? Maybe if you hid it in the back of your weekly circular, it might pass. Give it a try next year. It just might squeak through the “wacky, christian radar”. Umm, I don’t think so.

It seems that our nation is becoming obsessive about offending. We teach our children about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Vesak, Ramadan, etc. However, we are absolutely NOT ALLOWED to talk about Christmas or Easter? If we are going to be a country that loves and cares for one another, shouldn’t we respect ALL ASPECTS of our backgrounds, faiths, and cultures?

I find that I have become so sad with the state of things when it comes to being “politically correct”. We condemn one religion, and educate about others. Shouldn’t it be about honoring, and caring for each other? No matter if we are jewish, muslim, sikh, hindu, shinto, buddhist, baha ‘i, lutheran, and many more. Our religion and practices may be different, but we all believe that life is special and needs to be honored. That there is something greater than ourselves. It really boils down to recognizing that we are all different, but all the same.

I say: let the bells ring, the Christmas trees be decorated, the menorrahs be lit, let the oil lamps shine, the prayer flags wave, the feast of thankfulness be abundant, and the prayers be many. It isn’t about who is right and who is wrong. It is about realizing that we are all special and unique. Stop being offended and start giving goodwill to all.

See Target’s response regarding Salvation Army here: http://slimyfish.net/?p=105

3 Responses to “Good-Bye Bell Ringers-Hello “Family Trees””

  1. sahmcal Says:

    A well written blog!

    My husband and I whole heartedly agree with you! This country NEEDS to change their perspective because these bell ringers are the ones who are helping those who need the BARE NECESSITIES! I’m sure their views would be totally different if they were in a situation where they needed some help.

    Thanks for opening up my eyes to Target and Lowe’s about these things that are happening. I will not be shopping at either one of these again either.

  2. Paul Says:

    I often think that we are more known by what we are against than what we are for. I wonder if this is the best witness.

    By the way, Target works with Salvation Army, has donated over $1,000,000 to the Salvation Army in 2006, has an on-going program to raise more money for the Salvation Army, and also donates about $2,000,000 weekly to local community charities.

    Merry Christmas

  3. Shan Says:

    In all fairness, a reply from Target
    (Shan can admit when she wasn’t 100% on the mark. However, she is still peeved about the bell ringing…). Read:

    http://slimyfish.net/?p=105

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