Orlando, FL – Wachovia Bank’s corporate office issued a statement saying that Christmas trees are permitted and that employees who wish to decorate local branches with Christmas trees may do so as long as the trees are artificial and the lights are turned off each night for safety. Last week Liberty Counsel called attention to a situation in which customers and employees were upset that employees were denied permission to decorate a local branch with a Christmas tree. When the bank’s corporate office was contacted, a spokesperson told a Fox 35 News reporter that the employee was to decorate with the provided poinsettias in order to avoid offending people.
Over the weekend, however, Wachovia’s corporate office informed Liberty Counsel that it “sent a communication to our Florida stores to clear up a misunderstanding about our approach to store decorations this holiday season.” Wachovia Vice-President and Corporate Communications Manager Christina Kolbjornsen said, “Though we provided all of our stores with poinsettias–the classic Christmas plant decoration–our direction to use the plants was misunderstood by some to mean we were opposed to Christmas trees. This was not our intent…So we’re reiterating that today and encouraging our stores to decorate with Christmas trees if they want to.” Wachovia is merging with Wells Fargo & Company, which commented that it “never has had and does not have a policy against Christmas tree decorations.”
Liberty Counsel is continuing its eighth annual “Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign,” pledging to be a “Friend” to those who recognize Christmas and a “Foe” to those who censor Christmas and its “Naughty and Nice” list, which catalogs companies that either censor (“naughty”) or recognize (“nice”) Christmas. Customer voices have a big effect on corporate action. The list has been influential in motivating retailers to acknowledge Christmas. So far this year, Best Buy has embraced Christmas and been switched to the nice list, and Dick’s Sporting Goods promised to change and include Christmas in their advertising.
Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “We are pleased that Wachovia clarified that its employees may decorate local branch offices with Christmas trees. Christmas trees are a natural part of Christmas and do not offend reasonably-minded people.”
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