In 2005, 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 have been proven correct for two years running, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December of 2005 and 2006 (links to 2005′s related posts are here, here, and here; 2006′s are here, here, and here):
I’ve decided to track the same items this year to see if there is any noticeable change or trend.
Here are the first two of the three sets of Google News searches during this Christmas season, compared to the previous two years (the Dec. 10, 2007 searches were done shortly at about 11 a.m.; the post on the Nov. 27, 2006 searches is here):
Despite the obvious proliferation of news services and outlets in the past two years, reporting about shopping during the three Christmas seasons reviewed clearly leans heavily toward the use of “holiday shopping,” as opposed to “Christmas shopping.”
The tendency to associate Christmas with layoffs remains 2-3 times greater than the association with shopping,
Still, what I have concluded for the past two years (with minor editing) is proving true again this year:
It seems beyond dispute that there is a strong bias against using the word â€œChristmasâ€ 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.
In a not-unrelated development, K-Mart and Sears are catching well-deserved flak for this:
K-Mart and Sears have intentionally renamed â€œChristmas treesâ€ to â€œholiday treesâ€ or simply â€œtreesâ€ in its advertising. K-Mart is owned by Sears Holding Corporation.
A Liberty Counsel supporter asked K-Mart for an explanation of the companyâ€™s disregard for Christmas. Vincent V., a representative from Sears Holding Corporation, responded:
The reason for our use of holiday tree is due to the [sic] Sears Holding is a very diverse company, we do not want to offend any of our associates, but also our valued customers. We decided to call them holiday trees because even if Christians are the only religion that uses a Christmas tree we still do not want complaints from other customers of different religions complaining about our use of Christmas.
What an outrage.
The third identical series of searches will be done on about December 22.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.
– Nov. 28, 2007 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 1)
– 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