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The Christmas billboard ladies bring back their message

Published: Wed, November 19, 2008 @ 11:46 a.m.


CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS - Judi Hanna - Joanne Brown - Pat See and Linda Bennet - in front of the billboard on Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown.

NILES — Friendship, faith and fortitude shared by five women add up to a powerful force.

The friends, all Christians, think it’s important to send a simple but potent message with the wish of Merry Christmas. The concept is meaningful at this season but the women hope it stays in people’s hearts year-round.

The Merry Christmas Billboard Ladies — Joanne Brown of Poland, and Linda Bennett of Niles, Judi Hanna of Boardman, Laurie Kramer of Youngstown and Pat See of Canfield — are making a return engagement — just like Christmas.

They’re back in a bigger way than their initial foray last year in spreading the message of Merry Christmas. Their grass-roots effort has gained momentum mostly by word of mouth.

Last Christmas season the women raised $2,800 and paid for four billboards with the messages: “I miss hearing you say Merry Christmas” and “Why have you stopped saying Merry Christmas?” Both were signed Jesus.

In 2008, the billboard ladies started with $1,600 in donations. In 2007 and 2008, the group collected just under $6,000 for billboards. The funds enabled them to pay for seven billboards this year with the messages: “I miss hearing you say Merry Christmas” and “It’s OK to say Merry Christmas.” Again, both signed Jesus.

Read more in Thursday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com


1ytownchick(6 comments)posted 7 years, 7 months ago

You know why we've stopped saying Merry Christmas? Because it's turned into a totally commercial experience that everyone, of all faiths, enjoy.

I understand your position. It's true, Christmas is a Christian holiday. You don't see massive amounts of folks celebrating Kwanzaa (Kwanzaa is a week long holiday created in 1966 and celebrated around Christmas time, for the purpose of giving African Americans an opportunity to celebrate African Heritage and as an alternative to customary Christmas celebrations).

And while I respect these ladies convictions (I can imagine the chats of disgust of other people while they are having their meetings - yeah, real Christian-like)Christmas isn't just a christian holiday. Everyone of different faiths get into the holiday spirit by exchanging presents. That's it. That's all Christmas is about to people any more. Other than going to church and waking up on a snowy day to open presents, how much more does a Christian actually celebrate Christmas and then go cuss out their neighbor, for what ever reason, 20 minutes later.

In my opinion, it's hypocritical for a Christian to have the market on celebrating Christmas. Just because the name Christ is in the name doesn't mean everyone can't get into the spirit. What are you trying to do? Take back your holiday? It isn't going to happen.

It's 2008...get used to this world getting smaller with everyone embracing the holiday season any way they want. Christmas is just the name that came along with it.

Christ digs everyone! Get on the bandwagon ladies, you know that's what it's all about!

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2AtownParent(565 comments)posted 7 years, 7 months ago

Christmas was actually a pagan holiday first. In 350, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 7 years, 7 months ago

I as a Christian would not be offended if everyone celebrated Christmas !

(click link below for my card)

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