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Christian groups accuse retailers of avoiding religious themes in Christmas cards

The Bible Society has accused national retailers of failing to promote the religious aspects of Christmas, noting that references to the nativity and other iconic bible scenes connected to the holiday are few and far between in card aisles.

A team of mystery shoppers visited supermarkets, convenience stores and card shops for a study on behalf of the Bible Society, and found that of 5,706 cards surveyed only 34 contained a nativity scene, while just 66 overall could be classed as religious. Ready-made cards are now more likely than ever to contain secular themes, including Father Christmas, Christmas trees and snowmen. The change is in keeping with latest national statistics – the population who describe themselves as “nominally Christian” is now at 60 per cent, down from 72 per cent in 2002. It appears that retailers are responding to the UK’s growing diversity with more inclusive Christmas themes in order to appeal to a wider demographic.

Ann Holt, a Bible Society Director, commented: “People love the Christmas story – it stays with us precisely because it is visible and popular. So how come it’s so hard to find a picture of it in the shops?”

However, when asked about the selection available, a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “We offer a wide range of Christmas cards – they offer a choice and reflect what our customers want to buy from us.”

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