Throughout the 2016 presidential race, President-elect Donald Trump made an appeal to evangelical voters that he would restore Christian values and norms in American culture. Among his key pledges was to have department stores return to saying "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays."
During his campaign for the presidency, Trump told Yellowhammer Radio that he believed that Christianity was being suppressed in American culture.
"There's an assault on anything having to [do] with Christianity," Trump said, according to The Daily Caller. "They don't want to use the word 'Christmas' anymore at department stores. There's always lawsuits and unfortunately a lot of those lawsuits are won by the other side."
In October 2015, the business mogul made a direct appeal to evangelical voters in Indiana, pledging to them that his presidency would put an end to the phrase "happy holidays."
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"I'm a good Christian," Trump said, according to CNN. "If I become president, we're gonna be saying Merry Christmas at every store… You can leave happy holidays at the corner."
Trump's promise of a restoration of Christian iconography in the marketplace, in addition to pledges to appoint Supreme Court Justices that would overturn Roe V. Wade and the court decision that legalized same-sex marriage, helped bolster his support among evangelical voters. Eighty-one percent of that voting bloc cast a ballot for the business mogul on Nov. 8, helping propel him into the White House, according to Christian Today.
The president-elect's son, Eric Trump, has stated that the streamlining of Christianity out of public was a key factor in motivating his father to make a presidential bid.
"He opens up the paper each morning and sees our nation's leaders giving a hundred billion dollars to Iran… Or he sees the tree on the White House lawn has been renamed 'holiday tree' instead of 'Christmas tree,'" Eric Trump told The Stream.
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The tree in question, brought out before Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. during the annual holiday season, is actually still called the National Christmas Tree. It had been renamed the "holiday tree" in the 1990s, but reverted back to its original name in 2005, according to Buzzfeed News.
It is not clear how President-elect Trump could resurrect the phrase "Merry Christmas" at department stores. The slogans used on storefronts is decided by private businesses, not mandated by the government.
Christmas is also not the only holiday that occurs during December. The generalized term of "happy holidays" was used to acknowledge that the month is also host to the Jewish Hanukkah, the African Kwanzaa and the Muslim Ramadan and Eid Ul-Adha, according to The Huffington Post.
Shortly after winning the presidency, the Trump campaign began selling new merchandise relevant to the Christmas season: a brass tree ornament in the shape of a "Make America Great Again" hat.
The holiday ornament is being sold by the Trump campaign for $149 a pop.