"Christmas" returns to Philly's Christmas Village

CENTER CITY - December 2, 2010

The word "Christmas" went back up on the two signs outside of City Hall on Dilworth Plaza on Thursday morning, welcoming visitors to a small collection of shops called "Christmas Village."

The mayor told reporters Tuesday, "I am pleased to let you know that Christmas Village is back. The sign will be back."

On Monday, after hearing of complaints from citizens and city workers about religious diversity and inclusiveness, organizers of the German-inspired merchant fair decided to take down the word Christmas on the large signs outside City Hall - only to have the mayor reverse that decision on Wednesday.

The mayor called for Christmas to come back by Thursday morning. Holiday is out - Christmas back in.

Mayor Nutter said, "Christmas Village continues. It's a wonderful experience in a great multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-ethnic city."

The reversal on the removal of the word Christmas came after two days of criticism - some calling it political correctness gone out of control.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese released a strongly worded statement saying, "After all, there wouldn't be a village if it weren't Christmas!"

Center City resident Katie Shanley tells us, "Yeah, I like it. It's got Christmas trees everywhere. You can't call it a 'holiday village.'"

Jennifer Sappington, a vendor at the village, says, "How do you take "Christmas" away from the "Village" when you have a Christmas tree standing right behind it."

This raises a point: Today, the city lights up the tree outside City Hall. Is it a Christmas tree or a holiday tree?

Mayor Nutter responded to that question by saying, "I believe it's a called the city's tree lighting."

The Mayor will be lighting the tree at Dilworth Plaza along with the tree in Love Park later on this evening. Festivities are set to begin on Dilworth Plaza at 5:00 p.m. and the tree is scheduled to be lit at 5:30.

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