Put “Christmas” and “toys” in a search engine dialogue box and you’re going to see many links to retailers, lists of the “Hottest Toys of 2018” and a never-ending stream of directed ads on your computer screen.
But one toy retailer with hundreds of shops is giving up his high-profile advertising spot – the front windows of his stores – to remind people about the real “reason for the season – the birth of Jesus.”
Gary Grant, executive chairman of The Entertainer, a chain of nearly 200 toy shops in the United Kingdom, was interviewed recently by the Christian Institute. He explained that while he is immersed in the secular part of Christmas with his sales, he wants to make sure the significance of the date is not overlooked.
So he puts a Nativity scene in all of his shop windows.
A sign wishes passers-by a Happy Christmas with the reminder, “The reason for the season – the birth of Jesus.”
“This is the true meaning of Christmas,” he told the institute, “in amongst the giving of presents and the coming together as families – the essence of Christmas is obviously the birth of Jesus.”
He said the scenes are placed because of the biblical instruction and promise from 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honor me, I will honor.”
“I would hate that ‘the reason for the season’ got completely overlooked and it was all about the Christmas tree and Father Christmas,” he said in the interview.
He said he’s concerned that an entire generation has missed the point of the holiday. He sees grandparents explaining the Nativity to their grandchildren. But that doesn’t happen as often when it’s the parents with their children.
“I am passionate about making sure the next generation, the younger generation, have the Christmas story told to them,” he said.
His company started with a single shop in the 1980s, and now there are almost 200.
“I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that our business has grown exponentially when we’re doing things that commercially don’t make sense,” he explained. “But it makes sense to God, and actually it’s making sense to me.”
He said each person has a sphere of influence, and his is in the commercial world of retailing.
“It’s our responsibility to live our faith out in the way in which we operate,” he said.
The institute reported Grant also uses his income for charitable works.
The company tithes 10 percent of its profits to children’s charities. This this year it is working alongside the Salvation Army with “The Big Toy Appeal,” the report said.