‘Christmas’ is back

Mayor Michael Nutter caught a bout of the Christmas spirit last night.

After two days of tumult for the city’s decision to remove the word “Christmas” from the title of the annual market setup outside City Hall called the Christmas Village, Nutter went back on a decision made Tuesday by his managing director.

“It’s an outdoor fair,” Nutter told reporters last night at City Hall. “I took some time to step back from all of this to think about it.”

Managing Director Richard Negrin initially announced the name change because, he said, the city received many complaints about the name.

“It’s more accurate, makes more sense and is more in keeping with the sense of the holiday,” Managing Director Richard Negrin said Tuesday, noting that there are also Jewish and Muslim vendors in the village. “This is about being more inclusive.”

But some of the largest religious groups in the city told Metro they didn’t see the original name as a concern.

Nutter said the original name will be replaced on the main archway into the village — which is based on German-styled outdoor markets — by the time he flips the switch on the Holiday Tree at 5:45 tonight.

Strong words

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia wasn’t very pleased with the decision by City Hall to abruptly change the name of the Christmas Village. In a statement released prior to Nutter’s reversal yesterday, it said:

“If we are to be a truly diverse and inclusive community, we must certainly be respectful of all of the various celebrations that occur during this time of year. … If we are truly to use common sense, we should understand that Christmas villages and trees are just that and not vague symbols of some nebulous winter ‘holiday’ devoid of meaning. … This decision is a stark example of the secularization that is obscuring the true meaning of the Christmas season.”

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