Is there really a "war on Christmas?"

Hitha Herzog  takes a break from holiday shopping and blasting mall Christmas music to contemplate if there actually is a war on Christmas. 

Hitha Herzog takes a break from holiday shopping and blasting mall Christmas music to contemplate if there actually is a war on Christmas. 

THIS IS NOT A “WAR ON CHRISTMAS." Let’s call it what it is, lack of biblical references in holiday advertising it’s not a war on Christmas, it’s people feeling like they are being forced to be politically correct and using the Christmas holiday to express that. The AFA (American Family Association) is a religious organization that is leading the crusade. The problem is, their methodology. 

NAUGHTY AND NICE LIST- WHY IT CAN’T BE TRUSTED: To get a better idea of how the AFA puts together its list, I spoke to Walker Wildmon, spokes person and assistant to the president of the AFA. He told me around 2-3 people are conducting the research and "he couldn't gurantee they are visiting all 77 of the stores on said "Naughty" list. In fact, they visited about 50 percent. What's more, their grading of a retailer is is arbitrary and methodology used is off.  The 2-3 AFA retail researchers are looking at advertising, print media and broadcast mentions. BUT they are not using a tracking company AND they are not going outside of their immediate area of Tupelo, Missisippi. They could not give me a demographic break down of who the “channel checkers’ are. If it didn't before, this is really starting to sound made up. 

WHAT IS THE POINT OF CREATING THIS LIST: The ultimate goal of AFA is Initial goal is to inform our supporters where they should and shouldn’t shop,  based on retailrs who refuse to reference Christmas in advertising. Wildmon claimed AFA is seeing more companies go to the “nice” list, But their mission ultimately is for companies to recognize Christmas through legit biblical references and to cut the "Happy Holidays" shiz. 

THE THING IS, THESE COMPANIES ARE RECOGNIZING CHRISTMAS:

These are ALL companies on AFA’s “Naughty” list, but as you can see, their earnings numbers tell a different story. 

Best Buy: If you look at $BBY (Best Buy's) numbers, it reported same store sales up almost 2 percent net income was up $194 million in its latest earnings report. 

Nordstrom: Everyone's favorite department store spent $227M on its advertising expenditure for FY2016. In addition, Nordstrom gets $9 for every $1 they spend.

Target:  Ah yes, who could forget Target. AFA was the organization which started the #BoycottTarget movement to try and keep separate bathrooms-- but their efforts backfired. Despite getting 1.5 million signatures, Target beat estimates and revenue forcasts when it reported Q4 2016 earnings. The retailer also Increased its in social media spend by 30 percent last year and that figure has gone up a Black Friday video posted Nov. 9 has been seen 2.9 million times and generated more than 7,200 comments and 820 shares.

These are ALL companies on AFA’s “Naughty” list.

OVERALL, SPENDING ON HOLIDAY IS UP:

The United States' retail industry is set to generate close to three trillion U.S. dollars during the holidays in 2016.  

These holiday sales reflected about 19.2 percent of the retail industries total sales that year. Average expenditure on gifts: $752. What does this mean? People are feelin' Christmas. 

JOBS ARE OUT THERE, PEOPLE ARE EMPLOYED:

As a result, just over 768 thousand employees were hired throughout the United States to compensate for the holiday rush.

OH AND ONE MORE THING, CHARITABLE GIVING IS UP:

Most Americans (62%) plan to donate money this holiday season – and we think 2016 will be the biggest year yet for charitable giving. (source: PayPal) Young Boomers will be the most generous consumers this holiday season, with plans to make the largest donations on average ($416), but the generosity of Millennials will edge out Gen X, giving $245 and $230 on average, respectively.

I was lucky enough to talk about this with Bill O'Reilly last week. Check it out below! 

Retail Analyst and Chief Research Officer, Hitha Herzog joins Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor to discuss "the war on Christmas."