"If I become president, we're gonna be saying 'Merry Christmas' at every store," Donald Trump told a rapturous Iowa crowd back in October of 2015. "You can leave 'happy holidays' at the corner."
Trump's supporters loved this so much—were so hungry for a future in which they would be unburdened of "happy holidays"—that he said it again a few weeks later: "I will tell you, lots of big things, lots of little things, but if I become president, we’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas' again. That I can tell you.” Another of several encores came in December.
More than a year later, the now president-elect continues to say that "Merry Christmas" will be brought back. And the Trump transition team is already declaring victory, with surrogates who may or may not sound like a young boy on amphetamines flying the "Mission Accomplished"/joyeux noël flag on cable television:
Now, let's set aside the fact that people never actually stopped saying "Merry Christmas" and examine this claim.
Is "Merry Christmas" back in the way Trump and his crew say it is? No.
Stores have not left "happy holidays" at the corner. Starbucks is still godless. Non-Christmas greetings still abound, and I have the receipts to prove Trump's failure.
I began collecting evidence the day after Thanksgiving, which is the official start of the Christmas season, according to the laws of God, man, and my wonderful Aunt Judy.
While picking up a prescription on a mild afternoon in late November, I discovered the following at the pharmacy near my office:
Visa "holiday" gift cards? A "holiday" gingerbread kit, you say? Hmmm. Something tells me if I'd asked to speak to the manager they would have been conveniently "out" that day. At a flag-burner's convention? Who can say.
Similarly, Starbucks released their "holiday" cups before Thanksgiving, but there were no crucifixes or Santa beards on them this year, either:
But I saw the original design for this year's cups, which I am sharing with you now:
Yes, it is a flag burning on an open fire—surely a riff on chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a Christmas treat. And yes, I couldn't believe it either.
In early December, the Obama family, in active defiance of the incoming administration and to no one's surprise, released yet another of their yearly "holiday" cards:
Could the "joyous holiday" in question be Flag Burners Day? Who can say. (But probably.)
I would pose the same question to Tori Spelling's family:
And this family that I do not know:
Even Ben Carson defaulted to "season's greetings"—the pagan cousin of "happy holidays." (He also posted this to Twitter before deleting it, but the internet never forgets when a man is too fearful to say "Merry Christmas"):
Looking for some kind of relief, I turned to the verified Team Trump account. Imagine my horror, then, at this:
What unnamed holiday will the 750 (not 1,000) workers whose parent company is already planning to replace with automated robots be enjoying with their families?
I hate to say it, so I won't.
OK, fine. Flag Burners Day.