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 two years (links to last year’s related posts are here, here, and here; 2005′s are here, here, and here):
News stories overwhelmingly prefer “holiday shopping” on the commerce side, and at an ever-higher rate, but use “Christmas” over twice as frequently in articles about layoffs.
I’ve decided to track the same items this year to see if there is any noticeable change or continuation in the trend.
Based on the first set of Google News searches during this Christmas season, I would say there is:
The continued upward creep in using “holiday shopping season” for commerce continues, while “Christmas” is still used with almost three times as much frequency in stories about layoffs.
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 NewsBusters.org.
– Dec. 22, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 3)
– Dec. 9, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 2)
– Nov. 26, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 1)
– Nov. 11, 2006 — Will Christmas Be a Four-Letter Word This Year?
– Dec. 22, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year (UPDATE 2)
– Dec. 7, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year (UPDATE)
– Nov. 29, 2005 — What Time of Year Is It?
– Nov. 23, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year