’Tis the season to call it anything but Christmas.

As with each year in the recent past, there seems to be a concerted effort in an increasing number of sectors to avoid calling this holiday period what it really is. In response, however, there is also a countervailing emphasis being placed on reminding society at large of the real reason for the season.

The founder of the American Family Association says he expects more battles with retailers and government officials who try to censor Christmas this year, out of a misplaced devotion to political correctness at the expense of Christians.

“I’ve got news for them. Some of our volunteers are ready to let them know they’re not going to do business with them if they censor Christmas out of Christmas,” says Don Wildmon. His organization last year threatened to boycott Wal-Mart over that retailer’s removal of the word “Christmas” from all its seasonal promotions. After Wal-Mart eventually relented and added the word, the AFA cancelled the boycott.

This year, the AFA is staging Project Merry Christmas, which involves the distribution of buttons and car magnets reading, “Merry Christmas: God’s Good News.”

The popular online news site WorldNetDaily is offering a “Christmas Defence Kit” in order to “fight off the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) grinches in style.” The kit offers a choice of three bumper stickers: “This is America! And I’m going to say it: ‘Merry Christmas!’” “It is STILL a wonderful life – Merry Christmas!” and “Merry Christmas! An American Tradition.” Also available are Reason for the Season Auto Magnets and the Operation: Just Say “Merry Christmas” Bracelet.

The Knights of Columbus Catholic men’s fraternal organization, based in New Haven. Conn., is staging its annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” campaign, which features public service announcements on radio and television. The K of C’s individual councils are encouraged to take part in a Light Up for Christ program, which entails a Christmas tree or Nativity Scene lighting ceremony on the first Tuesday of December to commemorate Christ’s birth. Support materials are also offered, including posters, billboards and Christmas accoutrements. See www.kofc.org for more information.

For the third year, the U.S. Christian Defence Coalition and Faith and Action have launched a Nativity Project to encourage the display of Nativity Scenes in public areas throughout the country. “Sadly, we are seeing an erosion and crushing of religious freedoms across America,” says CDC director, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney. “We must constantly remind our public officials that the Constitution promises freedom ofreligion, not freedom fromreligion.”

The Rutherford Institute has published the 12 Rules of Christmas (available online at www.rutherford.org/resources/legal-12rules.asp) to give U.S. citizens – but most would be applicable in Canada as well – the legal guidelines on what can and cannot be done to celebrate the season. The institute reports its legal hotline has been ringing off the hook with parents’ complaints that traditional school Christmas concerts are now being called “winter holiday programs” as part of a “winter festival.”

In other areas of concern:

Mrs. Fieldsadded Christmas cookie gifts to the holiday section of its website in response to heat it received for initially avoiding any mention of “Christmas” products out of fear of offending people

After unceremoniously removing all of its Christmas trees in the middle of the night last year, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airportthis season will dispense with any religious symbols and just celebrate “winter”

A Nativity Scene will be allowed in the Capitol rotunda in Olympia, Wash. this year, as the result of a lawsuit brought against the state a year ago when officials put up a “holiday” tree and allowed a menorah to be displayed, but refused permission for the Nativity

A U.K. Labour party think tank wants to cancel Christmas on the grounds that it is a “white” holiday that offends Britain’s immigrants. The Institute for Public Policy Researchsays Christmas “should be downgraded to help race relations”

City leaders in Fort Collins, Colo. are hearing from people angry over a proposal to remove religious symbols from that city’s holiday decorations. Officials are considering limiting the decorations to white lights and winter symbols like snowflakes. There hasn’t been a vote yet, so there’s been no decision

As noted in a previous issue of The Interim, the children’s fantasy film The Golden Compass, which features a little girl on a quest to kill God, is set for a release timed to insult both Hannukah and Christmas

Voters in Berkley, Mich. have turned down an amendment to the city’s charter that would have allowed the return of a Nativity Scene on the lawn outside their city hall

An 85-year-old Florida grandmother was initially told she could not display any religious words or items associated with Christmas in the common area of her apartment building, before the Department of Housing and Urban Development recognized it was mistaken

Future assaults by “Christmas assassins” are already being planned. Word is that director Ron Howardis pushing for a Christmas 2009 release for The Da Vinci Code II.

Officials with Lowe’sstores have renewed a commitment to sell “Christmas” decorations and trees this year after the American Family Association drew attention to the fact the company’s catalogues were referring to “family” trees

Sears Canada’s Toronto Eaton Centre store was seen to have dropped “Christmas” from its seasonal slogan. It’s now known as simply, “The Wish Store.”

David Kupelian, vice-president and managing editor of WorldNetDaily, has noted on that website that the kind of atheist who attacks Christmas “breathes a kind of magic air, but of a very different variety. He is his own god, or so it seems. That kind of freedom has a sort of sweet stench – a little like those green Christmas-tree-shaped air fresheners that people hang from their car’s rear-view mirror, meant to make the car smell better but which actually emit an offensive odor. Just so, the ‘sweetness’ of pride, of being your own god and master of your destiny, has a spiritual scent that is noxious to sincere seekers of truth.”