The lack of Italian Nativity scenes in IKEA stores in Italy has caused a furor. Two politicians are calling for a boycott of IKEA for not selling the traditional Italian Nativity scenes. Nativity scenes, also called the presepio, are traditional in Italy at Christmas.
IKEA was founded in Sweden and is currently owned by a Dutch registered foundation. A spokesperson for IKEA said that they have never sold nativity scenes because they are not part of the Scandinavian tradition that the IKEA stores promote.
The two Italian politicians are charging that IKEA is guilty of being anti-Catholic. A spokesman for IKEA in Italy, Valerio Di Bussolo, says that the company is not prejudiced against religion. Mr. Bussolo told Reuters, “We sell furniture and typical products from Scandanavia like meatballs and herring, and Christmas tree decorations which come
from Northern Europe, rather than Nativity scenes which are more of a southern European tradition.”
Meatballs and herring? Now there is something to protest. If IKEA sold prosciutto and real espresso they would have my business.
In fairness to IKEA it should be pointed out that Nativity scenes do not always sell well in Italy and that many department stores have stopped selling them, not just IKEA.