Councils don't need to mask or hide this year's Christmas festivities for fear of causing offence, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has said today.
As the lights are turned on for Christmas all over the country, Mr Pickles urged councils to take pride in Britain's Christian heritage; celebrating the nativity and all the traditions that have sprung up around it from tinsel and tree lights to turkey.
"We should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas, and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ.
"The War on Christmas is over, and likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be in the dustbin of history.
Mr Pickles explained that the Christian festival has previously been ambushed by those intent on re-branding Christmas as a bland 'Winter festival', insisting that multi-cultural Britain can enjoy Christmas without abandoning its underlying Christian heritage in a misguided attempt to appease these politically correct 'Grinches'.
With Christmas shoppers a major source of revenue to local shops and council-owned car parks, Mr Pickles also reminded councils set on playing Scrooge that Christmas is one of the biggest annual boosts to the high street economy.
Councils that embrace the spirit of the season and bring Christmas to town, from luminous lights to competitively priced car spaces are likely to get merrier profits come January, bringing in revenues which help support frontline services and keep council tax down.
"We live in tough financial times, but there's no need for town halls to play Scrooge. It is councils' financial interests to draw in shoppers to their town centres at Christmas given the benefits of packed car parks to councils' coffers. Shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Carol Services and nativity scenes, and councils should not hesitate in supporting them."