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Posted on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Briarwood Mall's Christmas decorations leave something to be desired

By Letters to the Editor

I believe in supporting local business, and I am not necessarily recommending a boycott, but for the second year I have noticed that our local Briarwood Mall has an obvious aversion to the true spirit of Christmas.

You walk into the mall and what do you see — very few decorations, or other noticeable decor of the holiday season. The mall wants your business and delights in your every purchase, but the mall proper is as empty of the Christmas season as can possibly be. Yes, there is a children's area at one far corner of the mall. Yes, there is a Christmas tree, or maybe two, and a few poinsettias.

But there is a terrible absence of the beautiful decorations that often fill other shopping malls. I have expressed my displeasure now two years in a row, with no response from the Briarwood Mall management. Hopefully their decision to ban Christmas is not due to a "this is Ann Arbor multi-cultural" bias, and I would doubt it is a financial decision.

I would encourage others to express their opinion and to ask to bring Christmas back to the mall. Stop by the guest relations desk in the center of the mall and fill out a comment card. Or call the mall office. Christmas is certainly not about the decorations or the shopping, but such a blatant omission sends a message that the mall management wants your business but does not want your religion.

Douglas O. Keasal




Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Mr. Keasal, thanks for your well written letter. I agree. I look forward to the decorations we see this season of the year with a nostalgic and somewhat sentimental view. I remember good times (not the clich├ęd "good times" but rather my own good memories of family and friends) and seeing the decorations help me remember the reason for the season. No, the decorations don't make the season, they aren't the reason nor are they a requirement, but I feel the conspicuous absence is a clear indication of the continuing move against tradition. Briarwood Mall and Simon Property Group owe no one, other than their shareholders, anything. The decoration or lack of decoration just demonstrates their corporate values. At Christmas time, Christians celebrate one selected day to celebrate the birth of Christ, a truly monumental historic event. Despite this fact, other faiths and nations also celebrate Christmas for different reasons, and they all bring a spirit of celebration, peace and happiness to many people. One trip through the streets of Tokyo, in a decidedly non-Christian country clearly shows this spirit. Decorations are nice and a pleasure to see and I applaud Ann Arbor downtown with a great selection of stores and beautiful decoration. Briarwood can certainly do better.

Paul Taylor

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

Somebody call the waaaambulance!

Paul Taylor

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

Also, their discounts are not wholly in line with the true meaning of Xmas. Remember the reason for the season: great deals on products from Asia!

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

I don't see how whether or not a shopping mall has Christmas decorations make any difference to Christmas. Shopping malls didn't give you Christmas, so they can't take it away from you.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Wow all the comments don't get what Doug may be saying. It is not PC any more to have "Christmas" decorations this would not just include a manger scene, but red and green lights, raindear, sleds and the man in the red suit Santa. Lets not for get the Jewish holiday that is also in December, Hanukkah, these decoration are not there either. We must not offend any one, so lets just end all decorations in December!!! I don't think that is the answer either, but this is not only a problem at the mall it is happening all over. Why can't we have a village scene display, a manager, a Menorah and say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah. I hate to say Happy Holidays. I remember growing up and lots of neighbors decorating their homes inside and out. Businesses decorated also. The tradition of decorating the outside of your home is starting to come back, but just wait neighborhood associations may want to ban that because it may offend another neighbor. When will it stop? I like the lights and other decorations, there pretty. If you are not a christian, I bet most of you still celebrate the Christmas holiday with presents and family.

Paul Taylor

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

Christmas is a pagan holiday co-opted by Christians in order to draw more followers. True story.

Renee S.

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

This is so absurd it borders on satire. A mall full of nation-wide chains is a "local business "? Christmas decorations are the "true spirit" of Christmas? Jesus.

Kara McGilvray

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

Have you seen the nice new security vehicle they have?


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

Does anyone else feel the troll level is high with this one? (Don't delete me!) Midnight Madness is this Friday downtown! Support the real local businesses in Ann Arbor with great sales, free gifts, live entertainment, fun and cheer. And lots and lots of lights. I don't know if the lights are religious though...sorry. Just for fun here's the history of the Christmas Tree


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

"Christmas is certainly not about the decorations or the shopping, but such a blatant omission sends a message that the mall management wants your business but does not want your religion." Uh, yeah? It's a mall, not a church.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

I'm sure if Briarwood mall were afraid of offending people with Christmas decorations they wouldn't play Christmas music all the time. In fact think of all the poor souls who have to listen to that awful stuff for full 8 or 9 hour shifts while only getting paid between $8 and $12 an hour. Poor guys.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

You should just quit going to the mall. That's what I did at church when they kept refusing to sell cinnamon rolls in the main aisle. They talk a good Christmas, but their heart's not in it.

Matt A

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Thank you for making my afternoon brighter. I'm laughing as I write this and have shared your letter with friends. Too, too hilarious.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

What in the world is a "multicultural bias?" Seems like an oxymoron to me. I'm also not sure why you're convinced the decision isn't financial. If you have any evidence outside of your own assumptions, you failed to present it. Besides, other than Christmas, most businesses don't have a tradition of decorating for religious holidays and nobody complains about crass, secular capitalism then. Would you refuse to buy an Easter ham at a grocery store that didn't hang a crucifix? Should I refrain from buying Haunukkah gifts at stores that don't display a menorah, or are only Christians allowed to expect public displays that celebrate their religion. The real irony is the only religious holiday most businesses decorate for for two reasons: because it is a holiday of consumption and because it is celebrated by secular and religious Americans alike. If Christmas was just another religious holiday, malls would never have decorated for it in the first place. P.S. Shopping at Briarwood is the opposite of supporting local business.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 8 p.m.

You are confused if you think that shopping at Briarwood is "supporting local business". The retailers at the mall are national chains, few of which are even based in the state. If you would like to support local business, you can shop downtown. The streets there all filled with Christmas lights.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Mr. Keasal - Do not spend time fretting over Briarwood Mall. The mall has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. Remember the true meaning and enjoy the season.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

"Remember the true meaning and enjoy the season." I know that Doug will remember the true meaning. But will it hurt really hurt anyone or company if they have holiday lights? I truly do not think so.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Douglas, thank you for a well-written piece. I wouldn't know how b'wood looks these days though, because once the extremely short-sighted management decided to close the dollar movies, they also took away my last reason for wanting to go there. Nice going, people. your monument to greed can sink into the earth for all I care(preferably empty of people though).

tom swift jr.

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

So go to another mall. Some of us believe that forcing us to experience the celebration of any particular religion's belief is intrusive. Also, please not that Briarwood Mall did not decorate for the hundreds of other religious holidays throughout the year. I'm particularly sad that we missed The Apple Store's take on Festivus.


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

The fact that this drivel was even printed is a Festivus Miracle!


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

Boo hoo, THIS is what you are upset about in the world?

Amanda Zee

Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

Wow. You must have a looooooooooooooooooooooooooot of time on your hands!