This year shoppers are buying more religious-themed cards as part of a return to the “traditions of Christmas”, according to Selfridges, the London department store.
Selfridges’ sales of traditional Christmas cards are up 30 per cent on last year. Sales of religious-themed wrapping paper are up 20 per cent.
Shopper demand has encouraged Selfridges to launch a range of Christmas decorations based on religious themes.
“The ornaments were so successful after going on sale at the beginning of the month that orders have been increased,” said a spokesperson from Selfridges.
Ben Wilson, a Senior Media Officer at the Church of England, said: “The economic downturn is perhaps challenging more people to ask questions about where they place their trust.”
Shoppers’ enthusiasm for religious themes is in stark contrast to attempts by some local authorities to downplay Christmas in favour of multifaith or non-religious celebrations.
Rochdale Borough Council put up festive lights, including a giant Noel sign and Santa Claus, in August – more than 100 days before Christmas. They claimed that this allowed them to celebrate the religious festivals of several faiths at lower cost.
Dundee’s policy of removing references to Christmas in its ‘winter festival’ prompted complaints from Christians. A Muslim councillor, Mohammed Asif, added his voice that the Council’s winter event should be staged as a ‘Christmas’ festival.
The Council later changed its policy and the city’s Lord Provost admitted to “a great deal of embarrassment”.
In November the Bishop of Lichfield said that Christians “should not be intimidated” into putting away crosses and crib figures at Christmas.
The Bishop also said: “No one goes to a Muslim country and expects local councils to silence the mosques out of sensitivity to Christians.”