Critics have hit out at revelations that less than one per cent of Christmas cards sold in top supermarkets have religious themes.
In a newspaper investigation of over 5,000 Christmas cards at leading supermarkets in England and Wales, only 45 had a religious theme.
The Daily Mail’s investigation labelled Morrisons the worst offender. Out of 973 cards surveyed at the chain, only six had a religious theme.
The Mail visited outlets of Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in cities including London, Cardiff and Newcastle and looked at Christmas cards in multipacks and singles.
But it found that in total only 0.8 per cent of the cards featured religious themes.
Examples of religious themes highlighted by the paper include images of three kings and an angel.
Don Horrocks, Head of Public Affairs at the Evangelical Alliance, said supermarkets were “airbrushing Christ out of Christmas”.
Mr Horrocks said: “There has been a rise in cards that say ‘Season’s greetings’ or ‘Happy holidays’ which is evidence of the speeding up of the trend of stripping the religion out of Christian festivals.”
And Anas Altikriti, of the Muslim Association of Britain, said he was “worried” at the increasing secularisation of Britain.
He added: “People who are looking for proper choice of Christmas cards should raise it with the store manager.”
The Mail also described how, in October, the boss of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, promised one customer that his supermarket had increased the number of its Christmas cards with a religious theme this year.
But the unnamed customer said she found, “the selection of cards with anything relating to the true meaning of Christmas was tiny, so he has not kept his word”.
Responding to the Mail’s investigation, Tesco said it had doubled the range of religiously themed cards and that the numbers varied from store to store.
An Asda spokesman told the paper: “We sell five different Christmas cards that have religious sentiment and traditional designs.”
Morrisons commented: “We stock types of cards that appeal to our customers.”
And a spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “The ranges that appear in our stores reflect what our customers want to buy.”
Last month Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said local authorities should celebrate Christmas in the traditional Christian way and stop worrying about the PC brigade.
Mr Pickles called for councils to take pride in British Christian heritage by celebrating the nativity and all the traditions surrounding it.
He said: “We should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas, and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ”.
Mr Pickles commented: “The war on Christmas is over, and the likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be in the dustbin of history.”
In October the Church of England warned that supermarkets were reluctant to stock an Easter egg which mentions Jesus Christ and his crucifixion.
The Real Easter Egg, which has been launched by the Church of England, carries a panel which explains that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday, and its packaging also depicts a hill with three crosses on it.
But during negotiations with stockists the Church found that some large chains were resistant to stocking such overtly religious products for children.