Laramie Business Speaks Out About ‘Merry Christmas’ Dispute
Local business The Scrap Tree faced harsh online criticism after a status posted to the business's Facebook page caused a stir in the community. The business said they were originally attacked for saying "Merry Christmas," but critics say the business opposed those who don't celebrate Christmas.
Scrap Tree owners Joe and Manni Hageman said that over the last few weeks, multiple customers told them they were offended after Manni wished them a merry Christmas and that one customer told her not to say that, in case that offended someone else. Shortly thereafter, they posted a sign on the front door saying "Merry Christmas" with a sign underneath it reading "Happy Holidays" crossed out. The sign posted on the door was not meant to offend customers, but to indicate that Joe and Manni would greet their shoppers with a "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." Several community members an Facebook commentators saw it as an objection to those who say "Happy Holidays."
In the post, which was written on Tuesday, the Manni wrote that she "is NOT a hateful person" and that she is "sick and tired of the NONSENSE." Manni later added in the post that "EVERYBODY, no matter where they come from, who they are, or what they are, should have the freedom to observe their own religion, their own traditions, and speak freely without being put down."
The post stirred an immediate frenzy on Facebook, receiving more than 30 shares and nearly 80 comments.
About wishing their customers a Merry Christmas, Joe said that "we are not trying to exclude anyone. We just don't want to be told to say what we consider an insincere phrase." As for the comments that have been trickling down on the post, he added that "you can't consider yourself open-minded if you only agree with people who think like you."
After Laramie Live contacted Manni, she expressed that she couldn't put into words how hurt she was over the controversy, and that "there was never any desire to offend anyone."