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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 December 2004, 16:37 GMT
Shops in 'Happy Holidays' boycott
The pressure group wants more mention of Jesus
Shoppers in the US are being urged to boycott some of the country's most famous stores because they do not say "Merry Christmas".

The California-based Committee to Save Merry Christmas wants consumers to avoid shops such as Macy's because they avoid any association with Jesus.

A number of retailers instead stick to non-faith based phrases such as "happy holidays" or "season's greetings".

Macy's said such greetings were more reflective of a multicultural US.

'Catering for all'

Federated Department Stores, the owner of Macy's, said it had no set policy over the use of specific references to Christmas, but added that greetings such as "happy holidays" took in all cultures.

Happy holidays is the pleasant greeting that applies to everyone in every celebration

"In fact few, if any, national retailers or businesses now take a different approach to the holiday season," it said.

Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the US, also avoids mentioning the C-word.

It said it had not received any complaints, only a few "curious questions".

Parallel festivals

The company added that it needed to cater to the variety of holidays celebrated at this time of the year by the 138 million US consumers that passed through its doors every week.

These other celebrations include the Jewish Hanukkah festival and Kwanzaa, an African-American event.

"Happy holidays is the pleasant greeting that applies to everyone in every celebration," Wal-Mart said.

The Committee to Save Merry Christmas says on its website that its primary goal is to "preserve the culture and tradition of the vast majority of Americans that celebrate and honour Christmas."

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