Big W, an Australian retail giant, has completely scrubbed any mention of the word “Christmas” from all the Christmas trees in its stores.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the chain’s Christmas tree is now called a “Grand Pine Tree,” and its white Christmas tree is now called a “White Forest Tree” — despite the fact that they are covered in ornaments and surrounded by lights, and “Christmas tree” and “white Christmas tree” are clearly the words that correctly describe them.
Now, I do understand that the whole “War on Christmas” talking point can start to seem kind of hacky after a while, but the truth is, I don’t care. This is insanely idiotic, and just like those Big W Christmas trees, Big W’s action needs to be labeled what it is. For many people, this is a religious thing — and although I am unfortunately not a religious person myself, I can certainly understand how it would be upsetting in that way. But it’s also so much more than that. It’s also a words thing, and a clear sign that the people who are running this company have gone completely bananas.
See, language is a useful thing. The entire purpose of having words and phrases is that we can use them to accurately and quickly communicate with each other. For example: A “pine tree that is covered in lights and ornaments that people put up in their homes in the wintertime” is simply called a “Christmas tree.” Seriously — if I were having a conversation with someone, and I said, “a pine tree that is covered in ornaments and lights that people put up in their homes in the wintertime,” the other person would say, “um, you mean a Christmas tree?” and look at me like I must be high.
No one is going shopping for one of these trees for any reason except to celebrate Christmas (whether in a religious way or in more of a cultural, secular way) so let’s just call them what they’re called.
I mean honestly, I have to ask: Just who in the hell is this change even for? Does anyone actually think that correctly labeling these items would upset even a single customer? After all, if you’re actually going to be traumatized by seeing a Christmas tree being labeled correctly, then you probably shouldn’t be at the store in the first place. In fact, you probably shouldn’t be anywhere; you should be staying at home and being cared for by someone who has extensive training in how to handle your sensitive needs.
The dumbest thing about all of this, though, is probably the fact that they’re even selling Christmas stuff at this time of year. It’s not even October yet; I walked to work without a jacket; there’s a high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit in Sydney, Australia, today (I Googled it), and the folks at Big W need to slow down and reevaluate their lives on so many levels.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.