Should Branson change the name Ozark Mountain Christmas to Ozark Mountain Holidays?

Should Branson change the name Ozark Mountain Christmas to Ozark Mountain Holidays?

In the Branson area, one of the busiest times of the year is Ozark Mountain Hanukah. Most can remember a time, not too long ago, when the majority of our businesses ended their season at the end of October. Then along came Ozark Mountain Kwanzaa and the season was extended until the middle of December. Not only was the season extended, but the period between the first of November and the middle of December, known as Ozark Mountain Holidays, became, in terms of economic success, the most important part of the year for a lot of Branson’s, shows, attractions, restaurants, and retail establishments.

Some might say, “Seagull, you’ve got it confused. It’s not Ozark Mountain Kwanzaa, Hanukah, or Holidays, its Ozark Mountain Christmas.” Is it? From a business and commercial sense, except for the Christmas portion of some shows, where is the evidence that Branson, “America as it should be,” is celebrating Christmas as opposed to some contrived politically correct version of something called “Holidays.”

As visitors to Branson drive up and down our streets are they more than likely to see the welcome “Merry Christmas” on a business or the words “Happy Holidays” or one of the other politically correct sayings that leaves “Christmas” out. As our visitors interface with the personnel working in Branson’s entertainment, retail, lodging, and food service areas, are they more likely to hear someone say to them “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays?”

As an example, the Dec. 24, 2004 edition of this paper contained a letter from a lady who, while eating in a local restaurant with her husband, received the greeting of “Happy Holidays,” from their server. When her husband said, “I think you mean ‘Merry Christmas'” she quickly responded, “Oh, we can’t say that unless the customer does.” The person writing the letter ended it by saying, “How sad.”

To an Ole Seagull it’s sad because it represents the trend in a lot of our area’s businesses and organizations to take the word “Christmas” out of Christmas. If Branson and its businesses are more concerned about being politically correct and not offending anyone by using the word “Christmas” that’s fine, let’s change the name of “Ozarks Mountain Christmas” to “Ozarks Mountain Holidays” and be done with it.

On the other hand, the Ole Seagull believes that if there was one place in the country that ought to be “Merry Christmas USA” it should be Branson, Missouri. Is not the celebration of the traditional Christmas a part of Americana that is an inherent part of Branson’s history and heritage? Among other things, doesn’t the origin of Branson’s Adoration Day Parade, now going into its 57th year, testify to that fact?

History and heritage aside, from an economic point of view, doesn’t it make sense for Branson to promote the traditional “Christmas” rather than the politically correct “Happy Holidays?” People can go anywhere for the politically correct “Happy Holidays” but where can they go where “Christmas” is Christmas? From an economic perspective, it’s puzzling how a town like Branson, that markets traditional family values, in terms of its entertainment, could so quickly succumb to the politically correct “Happy Holidays” version of Christmas rather than seize the opportunity to promote the traditional “Merry Christmas” version.

The good news is that, in January of this year, the Board of Directors of the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution establishing a policy of trying to keep “Christmas” in “Christmas.” The policy encourages the use of the term “Merry Christmas” in lieu of “Happy Holidays” in connection with the Chambers involvement with “Ozark Mountain Christmas” and in other situations where it is the intent of the Chamber to specifically express “Christmas” wishes or greetings to those celebrating the holiday of “Christmas.”

It’s a first step that, if followed by the City of Branson and other businesses, could put the “Christmas” back into Ozarks Mountain Christmas. One can only wonder what would happen if Branson’s simple message was, “We celebrate the holiday of Christmas, its promise and spirit and would love to have you come, visit, and share them with us?”

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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