A 'Christmas Village' by any other name

Crews remove the word "Christmas" from the sign at Dilworth Plaza. (VANCE LEHMKUHL / Staff)

It’s coal in the stockings of the Philadelphia officials – notably, Managing Director Richard Negrin – who agreed to the silly decision to strip “Christmas” from atop the German-style Christmas market set up each year just outside City Hall.

Negrin said he’d received complaints from the public, so he ordered the name change on Monday.

 It was supposed to be changed to “Holiday Village,” but the village operators have since decided to take it down altogether.

This is the third year the village has been set up. Guess it took a couple of years for those who voiced protests to realize that they were upset by the sight of the brightly lit “Christmas Village” sign over the collection of wooden booths selling seasonal kitsch – you know, stuffed Santas, candied apples, and, er … Christmas trees.


Were you offended by the 'Christmas' sign at City Hall?

No matter what the sign says, the “Village” – that was its name briefly on Monday – will still be selling stuff that owes its origins mostly to Christmastime. There’s just no getting around it.

Plus, why try? The market is a commercial enterprise, not a religious establishment. It’s not anything like putting up a creche outside City Hall. The market celebrates the national pastime of shopping for Christmas presents.

What’s next? How about marching over to protest signs at the Macy’s flagship store next to City Hall, since it's probably offering plenty of “Christmas” items for sale?

To millions, Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christ child. But it’s also a national holiday observed by millions more Americans.

City officials, who took time out from their important government work on Tuesday to offer further explanationfor the decision, stepped into a trap with this name change. Stories like this are like red meat for the “war on Christmas” crowd, which no one imagines for a moment that Mayor Nutter supports. The name change merely provides an unnecessary embarrassment for the city.

Santa’s not going to be pleased.