NOW LIVE: Eyewitness News

‘Christmas’ Returns To City Hall Village

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After much debate and controversy, Mayor Michael Nutter says two signs that hang above the wooden booths that make up the traditional European Christmas Village on the west side of City Hall will once again feature the word “Christmas.”

“I’m pleased to let you know that Christmas Village is back, the sign will be back,” Nutter said to reporters Wednesday evening.

Nutter said he spoke with the organizer of the German Christmas Village and made the decision to put the word Christmas back on the signs that welcomes visitors to the village.

The signs, strung up in lights, used to read “Christmas Village,” but only said just “Village” Tuesday after workers removed the word.

City Managing Director Richard Negrin says workers took the word Christmas down because of complaints.

Mayor Nutter says it was the Christmas Village organizer Tom Bauer who decided to take the signs down after hearing about the complaints and the city did not pressure him.

“We had no hand. We did not physically or in any other way, shape or form take the signs down. That was his choice,” Nutter said.

However, on Tuesday Negrin seemed to strike a different note.

“I met with the President of German American Marketing and we decided that it made sense for us to be more inclusive,” he said. “It’s more accurate, makes more sense more in keeping with the spirit of the holiday to call it the Holiday Village from now on,” Negrin said.

Mayor Nutter says Bauer decided to put the Christmas sign back up after Nutter asked him to reconsider. When reached by phone by Eyewitness News, Bauer had not comment.

The signs were going to read “Holiday Village,” but Nutter said the word Christmas is expected to be back up Thursday.

Reported By: Todd Quinones and Steve Beck, CBS 3; Kim Glovas, KYW Newsradio

  • cc

    Someone’s not telling the truth. An email I received from Thomas Bauer said the City of Philadelphia requested that Christmas be removed from the sign. Thank you to all who called, emailed or wrote comments. It is important to preserve freedom of religion. The free expression of religion should be protected as long as that religion, group, or individual does not have as it’s goal replacing the Constitution and/or .the infringement of other citizen’s rights protected by the Constitution.(e.g Islam, CAIR, Iftekhar Hussain – I was arrested for asking to speak for 2 minutes at an “Understanding Islam” meeting given by Iftekhar)

  • Matt Skoczen

    What silliness! Christmas is Christmas. I am equally offended and hurt when the word cannot be used. If atheists and others want a village let them have their own. Where is the inane and problematic ACLU when I need them to fight for me to keep the word? What a rotten world we’ve become.

  • Leonard

    Only took one child to take it away and took a village to get it back – LOL!!

    Happy Hannukah!!

  • Karen

    GOD is Good!!!! Merry Christmas

  • Betsy Manning

    Political Correctness is ridiculous. It’s a traditional German CHRISTMAS village. Been to Germany and I love the idea!
    I’m an atheist and I enjoy these celebrations for the fun and the culture. I am for the separation of Church and State, but this is silly. Who was actually offended by the “Christmas” sign anyway or was this just some kind of weird pre-empitve fear of complaints?
    I guess we’ll have to go to “Alternative-Ethinic Background-American-Cultural-Celebrations” instead of the Italian, German or Irish Festivals. Absurd!

    • Karyn

      I agree with Betsy M. completely. I’m an Atheist and a German-American. It should be a “Christmas” village because it is selling traditional German Christmas items like those seen in Christmas markets in Germany. This event is primarily sponsored by German American Marketing, Inc, not the City, and so should say Christmas if they want it to.

      People can go nutso on this stupid political correctness. If this is not allowed, I better not hear anyone saying “Happy Hanukah” or “Happy Kwanzaa” either!!

      • braak

        But they *didn’t* want it to. The German-American Marketing Inc. group was the one that made the change in the first place. It was City Hall that made them change it back.

      • Bob Mills

        I will ask Jesus to forgive your for your athiesm. God Bless and Merry Christmas.

  • Joyce Mountz


  • Bruce Collins

    Somebody’s heart “grew three sizes today”….Thank you for returning Christmas

  • Bill

    See what happens when we all get together? WE THE PEOPLE RUN EVERYTHING, THE GOVERNMENT TRIES TO MAKE US FORGET THAT. Let’s remember it on other issues too.

  • Curtis Livingston (TheNewsTonightAndEWNFan)

    I’m really glad that they gonna put the sign back up later on this morning. It just doesn’t feel the same without it.
    Merry Christmas, Happy Chanakkah, and Happy Kwanzaa to the Delaware Valley!

  • Dominic Centrella

    happy kwaanza everybody

  • Michael Kane

    About time the Politically Correct Police Lose one !!!! Only in this country does the Majority bow down to the Minority !!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS !!!!! And Happy Hannuka to my Jewish freinds !!!

  • braak

    Yeah, well. Speaking as an atheist, I do like it when a company or a Christmas Village president or whatever decides that he wants to include me in his holiday festivities. Like what’s happening this time of year isn’t JUST for Christians. I don’t want to take anybody’s holiday away from them, or anything; it’s just kind of nice when someone acknowledges that there are people who like to have a nice time around December but who aren’t specifically religious.

    It’s not a big deal, though. I think most atheists are, by this point, used to the fact that Christians are more numerous and vociferous than we are, and so if they object to us being included in the holiday festivities, what are we supposed to do?

    Anyway. I don’t want every mention of “Christmas” changed to “Holiday.” But it does seem kind of mean when someone does it on their own, and then you guys all gang up to take it back.

    • Jim Hearing

      Perhaps you should make an Atheist Village instead of crying about what eveyone else does. The only thing about any holiday that precludes from being inclusive is you.

      PS I will complain about your Atheist Village name, noting the name should be more inclusive.

      • braak

        How charitable of you, Jim.

        But I didn’t complain that it was called Christmas Village, nor would I have. There was no atheist lobby that forced the President of the German Association to change the name–he did it because he wanted other people to feel included. He did it, in other words, on his own, because he was trying to be nice.

        And, really, it’s not the fact that the name is changed back that bothers me; it’s the apparent glee that so many Christians take in the fact that they have thwarted someone who was trying to be nice.

      • Vivikins

        Amen to that!

  • Lorraine Ryan

    It’s wonderful to see that everyone has his or her own holiday and that EACH gets its own recognition!! YAYYYYY!!!! And to all those who are lighting a menorah this evening and for the coming week… Happy Chanakkah!!! May I have a latke???

  • Donna

    Finally, something that makes sense. this PC business is going too far anymore. Christmas has been around for 2010 yrs its a shame that a few can influence.. How ironic this time someone fought City Hall and won!

    • Together We Stand

      Donna, we ALL fought together and won against City Hall. It shows the power of what we accomplish together! Merry Christmas!!!

  • HOLIDAY Tree?

    I wonder if anyone will come out tomorrow night for the lighting of the Holiday Tree! OMG, Must we do this again?

    • Robert

      If they call it a Holiday Tree I expect to see it on Easter, Memorial Day, and Independence Day.

      • Trish

        ABSOLUTELY! That will be our next mission; to have all the Holiday’s include a Holiday Tree with lights. Maybe the absurdity of it will sink in.

      • braak

        I actually think that would be kind of neat. What if we had a different kind of tree that we decorated for each holiday? It’d be a seasonal one, obviously–maybe an oak tree for Veterans Day, &c., &c.

        I mean, why not? It’s not like the Christmas Tree has any kind of Biblical origin; it’s just one of those regular old cultural traditions that got appended on to an otherwise entirely-religious holiday. There’s nothing particularly *sacred* about the Christmas tree, the way there is about the cross or the Eucharist.

        That’s it, you’ve convinced me. I will lobby for a holiday tree to be decorated at all holidays. Thanks!

  • the voice of reason

    Congratulations everyone who agreed to not visit the market till Christmas was restored. I took a walk through the village to see if the boycott would hold up and it was empty. I saw four people walking through the market. We can accomplish things if we stick together.Merry Christmas everyone

  • CP

    Funny how the Mayor threw the German Association under the bus by saying it was their decision to remove “Christmas” in the first place. Nutless had better start looking for another job because re-election is not possible for this spineless PC (political coward) excuse of a mayor.

  • CeeDubb

    Thank you mayor! Merry, Merry Christmas to you and Family. God bless you!!!

  • SafetyHit

    Thank goodness there is still sanity to be found inside the city’s political realm. Merry Christmas folks.

  • John H

    Someone finally has the guts to do the right thing,
    Merry Xmas Mayor


    It’s about time! This has NOTHING to do with religion! It’s about what’s right! We celebrate CHRISTmas on December 25th, thus the Christmas Village sign!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! :)

  • Merry Christmas!

    Great News! It would take the tradition and heritage n out of the village to remove the Christmas! If people from another religious denomination were to have shops, signs or any other form of celebration to their holiday, I as a Christian would certainly not feel offended or neglected. I’m glad that this was settled quickly! Merry Christmas to all!

  • Linarose

    Finally, banding together proves we can accomplish things! We secured our rights for a change. I’m sure the threat of the loss of revenue was a more the concern than our religious rights were, but what a beautiful thing to know that we have made a difference! MERRY CHRISTMAS has a nicer ring to it as I write this. May whoever you believe in bless you during this season of holiness.

    • Merry Christmas

      You are absolutely right, banding together we did make a difference! Unfortunately, you are also right in that loss of revenue is most likely the cause of “Christmas” going back up. It is amazing and awesome that so many people stepped up to the plate to stand up against “Christmas” discrimination and the rights of Christians to celebrate this important time. Congratulations to all who stood up for your rights! And on this soon to be 40th anniversary of the loss of one of our greatest proponents of rights, Mr. Lennon, this one’s for you!

  • Brandi

    I’m glad it’s staying Christmas Village, Holiday Village just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  • Excited

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! That Christmas half of the sign should have never came down. Glad all is back to normal. Merry Christmas everyone.

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