Christmas may be far in the future for most of us, but not for the American Merchants’ Financial Association. Last week, the AMFA board launched a new campaign to prepare for this year’s holiday season.
One of the key aspects of this campaign is a plea to the American people to remember the importance of economic activity during the months leading up to Christmas. At their annual meeting in March, the AMFA produced a manifesto titled Christmas: The Reality, which includes the following statement of their long term strategy: “Christmas, while it may have its roots in obscure religious practices, today finds its real significance as an economic event. Three recent articles in the Journal of Financial Strategy prove unequivocally that those Americans who attend religious services regularly tend to spend less money during the Christmas season (for our purposes, from September 13th to December 24the). Because of this, we resolve to inaugurate a marketing campaign to reduce and marginalize the religious associations and practices connected with this holiday.”
Key components of this strategy include changes in traffic and zoning laws to make the construction of religious structures more difficult, the publication of newspaper and online articles showing the irrelevance of religious holidays for modern life, and a portrayal of religion as inefficient and frivolous in television and movies. “We have already made some progress towards all of our goals,” explains spokesmerchant Rebecca Sharpe, “but much remains to be done.”