Merry Christmas is often replaced with Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings. "Christmas" itself is sometimes replaced on company calendars with the generic "Winter Holiday" or "December Holiday" or "Winter Break" or other secular terminology. Characters on television commericals may refer to "Holiday presents" rather than Christmas ones. George W. Bush was criticised by many conservative Christians at Christmas 2005 for sending Christmas cards that wished a happy "holiday season" rather than a Merry Christmas (Washington Post, 27 Dec. 2005).
Gregorian calendar-related terminology is being altered from Anno Domini (Latin: In the year of [the] Lord) and Before Christ to the Christian-neutral Common Era terminology (CE/BCE).
People with religious beliefs are often (in the USA) referred to euphemistically as "people of faith", by analogy to "people of color".
In 1998, Birmingham City Council decided to brand a series of entertainments over the Christmas and New Year period Winterval, which opponents claimed to be an attempt to remove the name 'Christmas' (the council denied this interpretation).
In a 2003 PETsMART television ad, a mid-aged couple is shown with their dog sitting under a Christmas tree, with several Christmas presents under it. The woman then notes, "This is our dog's first holiday." Although the couple would most likely be celebrating Christmas, the word is omitted.
In 2004, Federated Department Stores (which includes Macy's) banned their employees from saying "Merry Christmas" to customers.A small organization, the Committee to Save Merry Christmas, boycotted Federated Department Stores for their ban on mentioning the holiday.
While Macy's names their November parade the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, the Christmas season parade (formerly Macy's Christmas Parade to 1991) has been genericized to the Macy's Holiday Parade.
The debate of political correctness during the Christmas season has become so intense that websites are surfacing to oppose holiday celebrations which do not mention or focus on Christmas. These organizations include, but are not limited to, The Grinch List, V-DARE.com's War Against Christmas (since 2000), and The Committee to Save Merry Christmas.
In 2002, Toronto city workers referred to the city's Christmas tree as a "holiday tree" resulting in a controversy that political correctness had been taken too far. Said Barry Levy, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi and the head of religious studies at Montreal's McGill University, "That object is identified as a Christmas tree - it's not a Hannukah bush, it's not a winter tree, it's not a festival tree - it's a Christmas tree - we all know it for what it is. Quite frankly I'm offended on behalf of Christians for whom it's a symbol of some importance - that they should have a religious symbol converted into a secular one just in order to accommodate it into public display."
On 27 November 2005, Boston's city Christmas Tree was renamed the 'holiday tree' in the name of political correctness. This caused much controversy, including comments from the annual Nova Scotian tree donor, who said "if they're going to call it a 'holiday tree', they might as well put it up at Easter". The tree was re-instated as "Christmas Tree" on 28 November.
Since 1998, the Capitol's Christmas Tree was called the Capitol 'holiday Tree', and was renamed on 30 November 2005 to the Capitol Christmas Tree. Officials apologized that the website could not be updated to include Christmas for the 2005 season, but would be in 2006.
The Committee to Save Merry Christmas, active once again in 2005, opted to boycott Sears & Roebuck, Inc. due to their non-use of Christmas terminology. Also, they succeeded in convincing Federated Department Stores (Macy*s) to re-instate "Merry Christmas", and other Christmas terminology in their advertising, which was acknowledged by a Federated associate. Recently, the Sears Corporation (including K-Mart) removed "holiday" references and replaced them with "Christmas" on 2 December 2005.
Target, Inc.'s decision to ban the Salvation Army once again in for the 2005 Christmas season, as well as ban the use of the word Christmas in both their store locations and advertising, resulted in an attempted boycott of the corporation through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (24 November - 27 November 2005) by the American Family Association, and the Committee to Save Merry Christmas. Target sales were down 7% over the weekend.
Lambeth Council in London banned "Christmas lights" in December 2005 in favour of "winter lights" and, bizarrely, "Celebrity Lights". This prompted outrage by many citizens, who felt that in a Christian country (the UK has an established church), a Christian festival was being marginalised.