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December 9th, 2010
07:50 AM ET

Grinch Alert?

As you head out this holiday season (shopping, working, or simply hustle-and-bustling) is it “beginning to look at lot like Christmas”?


Well, now you can “out” the Scrooge you may encounter for the entire world to see on the website GrinchAlert! However, the pastor of a Dallas church (and creator of takes it even a step further. He feels that many businesses are all too “P.C.” for the holidays:

When companies use misplaced political correctness to halt the celebration of Christmas, they belong on the “Naughty List.” (from

Did the car salesman not say “Merry Christmas”? Or... did that multi-pierced barista pouring your half-caff-mocha-skim latte, in fact, say “Happy Holidays”? GrinchAlert says: both to the Naughty List!

Now to be clear: nominations for this Naughty list are limited to businesses and organizations, so your neighbor is not a candidate (lucky for you, Steve! You know who you are...)

First Baptist’s Reverend Robert Jeffress’ created the website to expose those who you may encounter that are resistant to putting the “Christ in Christmas.” Those who are in the Christmas spirit go on the Nice list.

At least one non-Christian religious leader has responded to GrinchAlert, saying the site tends to “remind me and people like me we are second-best members of this society.”

We want to know what you think? Are you offended when you hear “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”? Does the website go too far or do you feel these are necessary steps to keep the “Christ in Christmas”?

Leave a comment below and Fred might just read it in our 10 o'clock hour.

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Amy

    Have these people been to any retail store since October? The only way that there could be more promotion of Christmas would be if there was a star above the store to guide the way.

    December 9, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  2. David

    This is a prime example of intolerance and religiocentrism. Pastor Jefferies assumes that everyone must celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday. Where does this leave Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, atheist, and agnostics? He and his followers are using a type of blackmail against Dallas businesses: acknowledge Christmas or we will put you on the Grinch list. It doesn't matter that some of these businesses have made large donations to needy families. Such intolerance is both un-American and un-Christian.

    December 9, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  3. Dan

    David, what do you think Christmas is? CHRISTmas, CHRISTian.
    I am a CHRISTian, and celebrate CHRISTmas. I don't celebrate Hannukah, Ramadan, etc, but I don't disrespect their religious beliefs.
    All are entitled to their religion.
    And yes, CHRISTmas has gotten to secular, to much money involved.
    You can find all kinds of Frostys, Santas, Rudolphs, but try and find a nice Nativity display at Walmart or Kmart. Good luck.

    December 9, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  4. Sam

    Christmas Is FREE!, Christmas is a gift to the world,........ as with many gifts.........sometimes it's not what you wanted,.....sometimes it's not what you needed,........sometimes you just don't like it .........and sometimes it's perfect, so the next time someone offers you a Marry Christmas, You can always just say , No thank you,.......... that is unless you are 10 years old and your parents make you ware that ugly sweater that Granny made you for Christmas, So who is it that's, making You do anything ?

    December 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  5. James

    I encourage everybody to visit and do two things:

    First, submit FBC-Dallas to their own Naughty list. The fact that they are focusing their resources on something so petty as whether or not a cashier said "Merry Christmas" shows that they have, themselves, missed the true meaning of Christmas.

    Second, if your own religious congregation is engaged in any sort of on-going ministry for the sick, poor, widowed, orphaned, or any other "least of these," or if they are doing any work toward peace on Earth and goodwill toward Humanity, submit them to the nice list, so that the people at FBC-Dallas can see what Christmas is REALLY about.

    December 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  6. James

    Dan – Have you looked for a Nativity set at Wal Mart? I found no fewer than five different ones, at various price points. In addition to that, last year I bought some beautiful (albeit cheap) glass ornaments with the Bethlehem scene etched and glittered onto them, and before Thanksgiving I saw that they had them again this year.

    Not that any of this has anything at all to do with the true meaning of Christmas.

    December 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  7. Pamela Troy


    I know what Christmas is. It's a pagan celebration of the solstice hijacked by Christians to counteract the massive backsliding that took place at the end of December every year. It has about as much to do with Jesus as my Great Aunt Fanny.

    And this "Say 'Merry Christmas' or ELSE" campaign being cheered on by so many professed "Christians" says little that's flattering about their grasp of the holiday.

    December 9, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  8. Monica White

    I think that it is extremely important to acknowledge Christmas as The Birth of the Saviour of Our Sins. But we as 'Followers of Christ' must remember that we need to serve those in need, such as the homeless and elderly that have no one to be with on Christmas, and children that will have no if you have any extra money this Christmas please help those that need food or toys for their families instead of buying that cute sweater or pair of boots, etc. I'm preaching to myself as well.
    Thank you!
    Monica White

    December 10, 2010 at 7:25 am |
  9. Meg Larson

    When you step back and look at it, what a trivial thing for people to get upset over! There are so many more important things in life, and people are getting ridiculously offended because someone said "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Guess what? There are other religions. Not everyone believes in Jesus, not everyone is a Christian – deal with it and move on. Christians do not own America, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's ok. Accept it and move on to the important issues in your life. Rather than getting upset, do something kind for someone else. Enjoy your holidays, and accept that others get to enjoy theirs. ACT like a Christian rather than being one in name only.

    Also, "Happy holidays" encompasses the other holidays that are smushed together this month; did they forget that New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are very soon after Christmas? Depending on how early the "offensive phrase" oh-so maliciously uttered, they could also be including Thanksgiving.
    Just calm down and move on. Someone is wishing you well and hoping that you a happy holiday season. It's a kind sentiment. Say "thank you, you too" and move on with your life. Grow up and let it go, stop looking for insult where there is none.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  10. M.D.E.

    What a trivial thing to be upset about. I also have a very hard time believing that he didn't create this site without the intent that his large congregation wouldn't shun the shops on the "Naughty" list.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  11. Barbara Hall

    This pastor continues to embarrass other Christians with his assertion that Happy Holidays! is a generic greeting. There are more holy days to this season than just the celebration of the birth of Christ. This greeting is an abbreviation of Happy Holy Days, which is an inclusive greeting to ALL who celebrate a special day in their religion at this time of year. My preference would be to say "Happy Holy Days" if anything is said at all.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  12. Adina

    I'm Jewish and I don't care if you wish me Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. What I do care is if you blacklist businesses that are simply trying to make me feel welcome and included.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  13. Matt

    I prefer to use a fact based approach to the holidays. I realize many churches don't want to cloud their opinions with things like facts and books, but this whole thing got started as a pagan holiday in ancient Rome, but the Catholic Church later decided it didn't like that very much. Would I be a grinch for saying "Lo, Saturnalia"?

    December 10, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  14. Scott

    I am a business owner & I happen to believe that this time time of year is about far more than celebrating Christianity. I find it intolerant that individuals feel the need to "claim ownership" of this season, espacially when it is well accepted that the christmas holiday was "borrowed" from Pagan tradition.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  15. Dale

    This country was partly founded on religious freedom. People were trying to escape the tyranny of the Church in England. Apparently we have locked ourselves back into religious tyranny if you are not Christian. People are free to have their own faith. Christmas is a religious holiday for Christians. There is nothing wrong with that, but what we cannot have is Christianity shoved down everyone's throat. That's what the Crusades were. There is NOTHING wrong with "Happy Holidays."

    December 10, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  16. Josh D

    Being an atheist I think I'll stick with happy holidays as a way to convey my wishes for you to enjoy the season. It's a shame some people will say it is as being politically correct.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:29 am |
  17. Scott

    I believe that saying 'Happy Holidays' is better than saying nothing at all. I strive to say the correct greeting to my friends with other beliefs, but in most cases it ends up being the standard 'Happy Holidays'. I think it's more about the optimism and joy of the season and the coming year, rather than announcing your religious beliefs.
    Happy Holidays!
    -Scott in Arlington, VA

    December 10, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  18. Devout Irish Catholic

    This is why I hate Christmas. Some of the businesses being sited have given generously and selflessly to the needy, but because they do not say "merry christmas" they are getting negative publicity in already bad times.
    I refuse to celebrate with those who put words above deeds in the season of giving.
    Oh, by the way, Christians celebrate New Years too. So "Happy Holidays" is plural

    December 10, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  19. Marius Fortelni

    Christmas is a national holiday and is celebrated around the world by over 1 billion people, trying to take the word Christmas out of
    the only reason for this Christmas holiday is like taking the word hospital out of hospital, president out of presidency and America out of America.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  20. Adam

    Hmmm...should I post a website attacking people for saying Happy Holidays or one that promotes...I don't know...feeding the hungry...peace on Earth...goodwill towards all...or the millions of other issues that need attention?

    December 10, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  21. volafox

    This is just another round of christians trying to dominate everything. I'm not going to let another, larger, more popular religion ruin my family's fun and love just because they think they have the monopoly on a holiday that began LONG before they even came along. Besides, since Christmas shopping is pushed earlier and earlier each year, I'm burned out on the whole mess by Thanksgiving anyway!!

    December 10, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  22. M.D.E.

    I find it hard to believe that he's not trying to get his 13,000-member congregation to boycott the people on the so-called "Naughty" list when he's preached a sermon called "Why Gay Is Not OK" and decrying Islam as an evil religion.

    With a megachurch such as this, it has a huge impact when he does something or even so much as implies something. Especially during this important time for businesses in this rough economy.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  23. M.R.

    Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

    December 10, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  24. Angela Hernandez

    I want to hear Merry Christmas! I still say Merry Christmas, for Christ is the reason for the season... Our reason for celebrating... We are the only country willing to push aside our beliefs,While being expected to embrace other religions or stand a chance of being labeled when failing to do so... No other country would deny themselves for our beliefs, and we are expected to conform when visiting theirs and I respect that. We should not be required or expected to do so either.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  25. Adam

    Getting mad that someone says "Happy Holidays" is about as mature as getting mad that your Alphabits cereal doesn't spell out what you want it to. Grow up.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  26. Steve Ward

    When a clerk wishes me "Happy Holidays", after I have just purchased Christmas gifts from a store that is playing Christmas music and is decorated for Christmas, and has as many as 5 – 7 aisles of products dedicated to Christmas decorations, I ask that clerk to refund the purchase because I do not celebrate "Holiday". Their employer is trying to extract DOLLARS from CHRISTMAS shoppers without actually saying or using the word: "CHRISTMAS".

    If a store fails to recognize that 70-80% of their annual revenue is derived from CHRISTMAS shopping and honor that Holiday, then I will not shop there. If enough people do the same, the stores will have to survive on the profits they make from theirJewish and atheist shoppers.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  27. Kim W. Batesville, AR

    Just the other day I said Happy Holidays to a lady in the store, my son looked up at me and started laughing at me because he said " Thanksgiving is over and Christmas isn't here yet." I told him, I say that between the holidays, to me the time between the two are the holidays, you know 12 days of X-Mas, those are holidays.
    I guarantee, on Christmas I will say Merry Christmas. People need to chillax and enjoy the season, instead of looking for a way to make everyone else miserable. Like they say, "Don't start nothing, there won't be nothing."

    December 10, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  28. Adam

    "Happy Holidays" is phrase that store owners use to simply appeal to a broad range of customers, not to be PC. I know atheists, Jews, and other denominations that still go Christmas shopping. Christmas shopping is not a religious thing, it's a capitalist thing. Stop pretending that the Santa, the tree, or the presents have ANYTHING to do with Christianity.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  29. Kelly

    It's absolutely ridiculous for anyone to get offended by any greeting of well-wishing. If a store wishes to wish a happy holidays to all their customers, whatever holiday they celebrate, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Why is it the only people who ever get offended by what greetings people use are Christians? Can you imagine Jesus being offended by something so ridiculous?

    December 10, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  30. Angela Hernandez

    I happily celebrate many holidays that celebrate other cultures,religions and beliefs,I thrive on the knowledge and embrace the differences that make us all one, and I refuse to deny my own celebration, being Christian or not....which is your choice... However that is the beauty of it all Christmas, Christian... being a Christian requires me to Judge not, not my country, nor man, can make that choice for me, or any one else that is why it is call belief...

    December 10, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  31. Ellen Meyer

    Chanukah and Christmas are not interchangeable holidays! Rev. Jeffries just doesn't get it – or does he?
    Grinching those who say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas is so stupid, is this a subtle way of reminding his flock that "those who aren't with us could be against us?" This isn't so paranoid when you think of all those in our nation who want Fundamentalist Christianity to be the law of our land.
    Ellen Meyer, Middleton, WI

    December 10, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  32. Joel

    @Pamela Troy,
    I am sorry you have so much hatred and bitterness towards Christians.
    It is the farthest thing from being "hijacked" from the pagans. The celebration (you notice I didn't refer to is as "holiday") started with the birth of CHRIST. Hence, CHRISTmas, CHRISTian.
    God Bless you.

    December 10, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  33. Dan

    Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year to everyone.

    December 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  34. dette

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. People can argue all they want and give their petty reasons for it not being important, so, if that is true, for over how many years has it been "Merry Christmas" ?? So why is it important to change it now??? That is what is important.

    December 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  35. Nancy

    I plan to support the Naughty List! I am a Christian and I love celebrating Christmas but this is RIDICULOUS!!!! I live in the Dallas area and I am embarrassed that this thing started in my city. We all need to get over this petty argument about Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays! People can say whatever they want to say!!! The pastor is being so judgmental and hypocritical! Christians are supposed to be loving and accepting of all people. This gives Christianity such a bad name. No wonder so many people are leaving the church!

    December 10, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  36. jim

    OK lets call all holidays happy holidays don't go by any names. on the 4th of july lets shoot off holidayworks.

    December 12, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  37. David Jennings

    I added my own company to their list with the following message (Note: they have not yet added my name or comments).

    I'm adding my own company to your "naughty" list because I refuse to say "Merry Christmas" to anyone, ESPECIALLY in a business environment. Why? Because it is impolite to superimpose personal beliefs onto others. They may be Jewish, Hindu, Islamic, Muslim, or even Atheist. We Americans have the HONOR of living in a pluralistic society consisting of people from many belief systems, from every corner of the globe. That is not our weakness, it is our strength. If you say "Merry Christmas" to a stranger you make an assumption that may not be true, and do yourself and our society a great injustice. It's not only discourteous, it's wrong.

    December 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  38. Alex

    If you don't think there's a war on Christmas and Christianity in general then you're blind. Look at Christmas Village in Philadelphia, look at Christmas trees being yanked from public places and schools. Saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas may seem insignificant but it's emblematic of a big problem.

    December 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm |

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