These Big Brands Are Especially Naughty This Christmas Season

Cracker Barrel tops AFA's Nice list.
Cracker Barrel tops AFA's Nice list. (Mike Mozart/Flickr/Creative Commons)

For the past decade, American Family Association (AFA) has been educating shoppers about the retailers that embrace Christmas through its annual "Naughty or Nice" list. The ranking of the top national retailers also informs shoppers of stores that act like "Scrooge" when it comes to Christmas-friendly marketing by reviewing retailer websites, media advertising and in-store signage.

"Over the past 10 years, American Family Association has worked diligently to let shoppers know which stores still respect Christmas and those who water it down and strip the meaning out of it year after year. And, we are seeing a negative trend this Christmas season," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "A society that pushes Christmas out of this season is essentially pushing Christ out of our lives. AFA wants everyone—retailers and shoppers—to remember that Christmas is solely about the Savior's humble birth. We hope the 2015 'Naughty or Nice' list will move the faithful to choose stores and companies that reflect their values and reward them with their purchasing dollars this Christmas season."

AFA rates the retailers on the "Naughty or Nice" list in four categories. AFA's "5-Star" retailers promote and celebrate Christmas on an exceptional basis. For 2015, these include: the AFA Online Store, Cracker Barrel, Hobby Lobby, Kirkland's, Lowe's, Michael's Stores and Wal-Mart.

In the "Nice" category, several retailers were bumped from this positive status for 2015:, Dollar General, Gap, Nordstrom and Hancock Fabrics have all moved to the "Naughty" list. Sam's Club and Old Navy were downgraded from "Nice" to "Marginal." Dollar Tree is also a new addition to the "Nice" list this year.

"Nice" retailers use the term "Christmas" on a regular basis and are considered "Christmas-friendly." The "Nice" list includes 40-plus retailers, from Ace Hardware to—and everything in between, such as Bass Pro Shops, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cabela's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dillard's, Hallmark, Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Kohl's, Macy's, Marshall's, Pier One Imports,, Sears, Target, TJ Maxx and Toys R Us, among others.

As a note, AFA does not list local or regional companies. Only nationally recognized companies are listed. The list only reflects a company's "Christmas" advertising and does not take into account other corporate policies with which AFA may not agree.

Fourteen retailers this year made the "Marginal" list, meaning these companies refer to Christmas infrequently or only in select advertising mediums.

Another 17 retailers on the "Naughty" list may use "Christmas" sparingly in a single or unique product description, but as companies, do not recognize it. These include: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Foot Locker, Gap, Inc., Hancock Fabrics, The Limited, Maurice's, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Office Max, PetSmart, Staples, Stein Mart, Supervalu and Victoria's Secret.

This year, AFA is encouraging visitors to the site to take action and contact the retailers on the "Naughty" list. By clicking on most names on the list, consumers can encourage these companies to keep Christ in Christmas via social media, email or web site.

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