Costco Offends Christians

01-01-2022From the desk of Fr. Villa

Catholic League president Bill Donohue explains why Costco has offended Christians: In the December edition of Costco Connection, a publication of Costco Wholesale, the lead article, “A Festive Season,” compares Christmas to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in a way that is downright insulting. Written by Tim Talevich, the editorial director of the magazine, he offers a 111-word account of Hanukkah, a 38-word statement about Christmas and a 43-word summary of Kwanzaa. This alone would not mean much, but when we read what he says about the three holidays, it takes on more significance.

What Talevich says about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa is accurate and nicely done. But when it comes to Christmas, he resorts to editorializing, and in a way that is not endearing to Christians. We are told that December 25 is “likely not his [Jesus’] birthday” and that the “early Christians didn’t even celebrate Christmas.” He closes by saying “it’s a popular secular and religious event around the world.” It may be that December 25th is not the actual birthday of Jesus. So what? Why be pedantic about it? That’s when it is celebrated. We declared our independence from England on July 2, 1776, yet we celebrate the Declaration on July 4th. Moreover, if Talevich is quick to doubt the birth date of Jesus, why did he write with certainty about the Maccabees in the second century B.C.?The first evidence of celebrating Christmas is around A.D. 200. What does this mean to the average Christian? Nothing. Lots of celebratory events in history evolved over time, for all sorts of reasons. So what is the point that Talevich wants to make?

Any cultural observer worth his salt knows the game that is being played here. In keeping with the cultural mantra about inclusion and diversity—which are clearly political constructs—he seeks to elevate any day in December that could possibly compete with Christmas. That is why he even finds time to mention the winter solstice on December 21st, National Ugly Sweater Day on December 17th, and Festivus on December 23rd. Talevich is not alone in diluting the importance of Christmas. Secularists can’t cancel it, though many have tried, but they can create faux competition with it. Talevich ends by saying, “Costco’s role in all this? We’re here with food, gifts and just about anything else you might need to fully celebrate December’s holidays.” He is being disingenuous. Without Christmas, Costco’s cash registers wouldn’t ring so loudly. The food and gifts they sell are overwhelmingly Christmas gifts, and everyone knows it. Recognizing all legitimate holidays is a good thing, but treating a major religious holiday as if it were inauthentic is offensive. This wouldn’t matter if Costco had a lousy reputation. And it wouldn’t matter if Talevich were a low-level employee. But neither is true which is why it matters.