What Time of Year Is It?

For journalists, the answer depends on whether they are covering the shopping season or company layoffs.
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Last year, I sensed that journalists in general prefer to call this time of the year in commerce that of "holiday shopping" instead of "Christmas shopping," but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to "Christmas."

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

ChristmasSearch2005Results

I've decided to track the same items this year to see if there is any noticeable change or trend.

Based on the first set of Google News searches during this Christmas season, I would say there is:

ChristmasSearchTerms1_06v05

Wal-Mart, Macy's, and others may be embracing "Christmas" as a permissible word again, but reporting about shopping during the 2006 Christmas season is leaning more towards "holiday shopping" than it did at about the same time last year. But the inclination to associate layoffs with Christmas has increased significantly this year compared to last.

I will do identicial searches roughly two and four weeks from now, and report on the results.

So far, what I concluded at the end of last year (with minor editing) is proving true again this year:

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.