Here's the 'previously, on LA Law' style flashback montage of last year's campaign in the Sun. You have to imagine the screeching saxophone, big haired women in shoulder pads and that bloke out of 'Clash of the Titans' walking about yourself:
Employment law firm Peninsula claimed to have conducted a study that showed that around three quarters of companies admitted to banning Christmas decorations so as not to offend people of other faiths.
This prompted the Sun to start a campaign to decorate workplaces in defiance, looking for examples of firms banning decorations to avoid offence to people of other faiths so the paper could name and shame them.
It didn't find a single firm that had done that, and included examples of companies disallowing decorations on health and safety grounds (Greggs the bakers - fancy some tinsel or Blu-Tack dropping in your pasty? Me neither) and disallowing cotton wool from being glued to the walls because it would ruin the paintwork instead.
The best the paper could manage was a job centre that didn't have decorations so the poor people going in didn't feel bad about not having any themselves. Lame, but not the same.
In the middle of the campaign, the paper was so desperate for support that it took comments from Tony Blair being sceptical of the idea that anyone was banning Christmas decorations and pretended he actually said the opposite by selectively quoting him. Or 'fibbing', if you prefer.
And in this year's episode:
The article fibbing about Tony Blair has disappeared from the site completely.
The original version of the 'Kick 'em in the baubles' launch article 'Tree's a silent nightmare' isn't on the website anymore either. There's a heavily cut version with most of the original taken out - maybe because of complaints about how misleading it was. Who knows?
The Sun has decided to focus on schools rather than workplaces, and on religion rather than decorations. It all kicks off in 'Don't take Christ from Christmas', by Canon David Meara, which ends with this little appeal:
IS your children’s school staging a Nativity or simply an end-of-year “celebration”? Do they learn carols or modern-day substitutes? Email us at features@ the-sun.co.ukor ring us on 0207 782 4344. Don’t worry about the cost – we will call you back.From the paper's point of view, this is an excellent idea. Now, any example of any school doing something for Christmas that isn't specifically about the Nativity can be used as an example of a Politically Correct Gone Mad attempt to ban Christmas - even if the school does other things that do celebrate the Nativity. Last year, the Mail managed the article 'Christmas play axed in celebration of political correctness' about a school that had classes doing presentations about Christmas and Christingles as well as carol singing in the local shopping mall, a Christmas tree and a traditional Chritmas dinner - all because it also had a presentation about Diwali and one about Hannukah.
The trouble is, the Sun itself usually enthusiastically embraces non-Christian elements of Christmas, with its insistence on Christmas trees and liberal usage of the word 'Yule', which refers to a pagan festival. Still, the paper's never been one to avoid hypocrisy.
The Sun should get at least some examples this year, since schools are educational institutions that have obligations to teach their pupils about other religions and will probably use Christmas as a springboard to do that. You'd probably be hard pushed to find a school that doesn't use Christmas as an opportunity to teach about other religions, since that's their job.
The scale down of the ambitiousness from last year's damp squib is a little disappointing though. It's a bit like finding out that MacKenzie Brackman had moved out of their swanky LA skyscraper in favour of a business park in Manchester, hung up their shoulder pads and started ambulance chasing for business by conducting shoddy polls to scare companies into thinking they need to consult about whether they can have Christmas decorations.
Here's hoping there's more to come with the paper having a big, brash cavalcade of made up nonsense possibly involving thinly-veiled racism. It wouldn't be Christmas without one.