January 1, 2014

Nine Years of ‘Christmas’ and ‘Holiday’ Search Results for ‘Shopping’ and ‘Layoffs’

Every year since 2005, I’ve done three series of searches — the first just before Thanksgiving, the second a couple of weeks later, and the third a few days before Christmas — on the use of “Christmas” and “holiday(s)” to describe the shopping season and layoffs.

Here the overall results for all nine years:


As has been the case since I’ve been doing this, the press uses the term “holiday shopping season” far more than “Christmas shopping season.” Also the press is far more likely to Christmas with layoffs than it is with shopping.

A couple of interesting points about this year:

  • 2013 had the highest percentage of mentions of “Christmas shopping season” compared to “holiday shopping season” ever. It’s not conclusive, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to surmise that this occurred because the press was extraordinarily nervous about the effect this year’s mediocre results might have on Dear Leader. So a few more of them — but only a few — used the proper term.
  • The relative mentions of “Christmas” in connection with “layoffs” also peaked. Though this might argue against the point I made in the previous item, I think a better theory is that President Obama’s “income inequality” rants caused more local and regional journalists to use “Christmas” in reporting on layoffs to heap scorn on employers who engaged in them.

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