My daughter loves Thomas, and this is by far her favorite of all the Thomas DVDs we have. It's cute. It's harmless. Yes the lessons are a bit repetitive, but they're entertaining and not everything has to be Super Educational or adhere to a very specific belief system. Regardless of Rev. Awdrey's denomination (and he was an Anglican priest, not an American Protestant pastor), his stories aren't specifically built around a denomination-based belief system. Neither are the stories of Curious George, or Kipper, or Little Bear. They are all sweet cartoons that carry a good lesson, and are certainly not designed to cause offense through language.
There's not a thing wrong with saying Happy Winter Holidays ("Holiday" comes from "Holy Day" after all), or Merry Christmas, or Happy Chanukah for that matter. Didn't Jesus teach tolerance and kindness towards others? Yes. Does this particular DVD teach lessons that directly oppose Jesus' teachings? No.
Sure, the trains misbehave at times (though not nearly as much as the older DVDs where they teased each other and used name-calling or were very rude, but happened to use the word "Christmas") or make mistakes/poor choices, but the end lessons are always the same -- they realize their mistakes, they feel remorse, they resolve to become as "useful" as they can be, and behave properly. That's a positive lesson, even if it's a bit redundant.
Here's the Thomas intro, as written by Rev. W. A. Awdry:
Here is your friend Thomas, the Tank Engine.
He wanted to come out of his station-yard and see the world.
These stories tell you how he did it.
I hope you will like them because you helped me to make them.
-Your Loving Daddy"
He wrote them as children's stories, as inspired by his child, not by his religious views. I think it's a bit much to look for offense when obviously none is intended. :/
So, the bottoms line: does the DVD have a negative impact upon my child? No. If it did, then sure, I'd rate it low, and wouldn't let her watch it. But it's not negative. It's cute, and it's entertaining, and letting her watch it is not going to undermine our spiritual teachings.
Pus, she absolutely loves it! So for that, and the positive lessons it teaches, this DVD rates 5 stars.
(ps. I do agree that it's annoying however that you have to fast forward through the ads. I'm not a fan of product commercials for kids, but my kids understand that commercials are people trying to sell us things, and we've taught them that just because we see it on a commercial doesn't mean we have to buy it in the store, because there are some things that aren't positive toys/shows, and they get that. It's tough at times, but they get it. And my five-year-old helps fast forward for my almost three-year-old, so they don't watch the commercials.)