Media Pre-Thanksgiving References to 'Christmas' in Describing Shopping Season at Lowest Level in 8 Years of Review

November 20th, 2012 6:28 PM

This is the eighth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics: The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season," and the frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.  

I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year -- the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. I will wait until just after Christmas to relay the full results, but feel compelled to note the following relating to today's "shopping season" searches, namely that the proportion containing "Christmas" came in at the lowest I've ever seen.

Specifically, in searches done at 5 p.m. today, holiday shopping season" (in quotes) returned 20,400 Google News results, or 94.1% of the total, while "Christmas shopping season" (in quotes) returned only 1,290 results or 5.9%, the lowest percentage seen in my eight years of review.

Previous pre-Thanksgiving searches had the following percentage component results for "Christmas shopping season":
2005 -- 15.2%
2006 -- 13.0%
2007 -- 11.7%
2008 -- 10.1%
2009 -- 6.3%
2010 -- 7.4%
2011 -- 7.6%

This year's 5.9% result reverses slight improvements seen during the past two years of pre-Thanksgiving searches, and is over 60% lower than seen just 7 years ago (9.3-point decline divided by 15.2).

In a great column written with a broader theme last year, Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association called out retailers for their self-evident double standard (bolds are mine):

The American economy depends heavily on people buying other people Christmas gifts each year. That is why the idea of “holiday” shopping is so ridiculous. No one buys gifts to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. The kids don’t run downstairs at 5:00 a.m. on New Year’s morning. Overwhelmingly, Americans exchange gifts with friends and family precisely because it is Christmas. Ask American retailers and they will tell you — it’s the most wonderful time of the year. 

It is hypocrisy of the highest order for retailers to make their living from Christmas sales, and yet be too politically correct to even acknowledge that fact in their advertising, pretending that people are “holiday” shopping.

As I said last year: "The same goes for the press’s 'Christmas'-avoiding coverage."