What Time of Year Is It? (Following 4 Years of Media Use of 'Holidays' vs. 'Christmas' - Part 1)

As the Christmas shopping season went into full swing in 2005, I sensed that journalists in general have a strong preference for using the term "holiday shopping" instead of "Christmas shopping" when covering business and commerce, but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to "Christmas."

My instincts have been proven correct, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December in each of the last three years (links to last year's related posts are here, here, and here; 2006's are here, here, and here; 2005's are here, here, and here):

XmasVholdidayRefs2005to2007

2005-2007 News stories have overwhelmingly preferred "holiday shopping" on the commerce side, but have used "Christmas" over twice as frequently in articles about layoffs.

I've decided to continue to track the same items this year to see if the trend continues or changes.

Based on the first set of Google News searches during this Christmas season (done tonight at roughly 9 PM ET), the early conclusion is "mostly, yes":

XmasVholdidayRefs2008Round1

The continued upward creep in using "holiday shopping season" for commerce continues. Meanwhile, "Christmas" is still used with over two times as much frequency in stories about layoffs, in a year in which, thanks to the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, there will probably be many more layoffs than in the past. The percentage usage for Christmas layoffs has dropped, and it will be interesting to see if that lower percentage holds.

But for now, what I concluded during the past three years is again proving to be true in 2008:

It seems beyond dispute that there is a strong bias against using the word "Christmas" to describe not only the shopping season, as noted above, but also events, parades, and festivals that happen during the Christmas season. There is, however, a bit of an exception -- "Christmas" is a word that is much more acceptable to use when "Scrooge" employers are letting people go.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.