Searching for Christmas 2012: To a Record Extent, the Press Said It Was the 'Holiday Shopping Season'

This is the eighth year I have done shopping and layoff-related searches on how often the words "Christmas" and "holiday" are used.

As has been the case since the enterprise began in 2005, news reports are far more likely to refer to the commercial time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the "holiday shopping season." Meanwhile, compared to shopping references, news reports are several times more likely to refer to Christmas in connection with layoffs. This years raw results -- originally gathered here, here, and here at my home blog, along with comparisons to previous years -- follow the jump:


As seen by comparing to the graphic below, this year's 8.5% result for "Christmas" references to the shopping season is the lowest seen in eight years of review:


Meanwhile, consistent with previous years, references to "Christmas" in connection with layoffs came in at triple the rate (25.2% divided by 8.5%) of references to "Christmas" in connection with shopping, suggesting that when the press wants to go after mean old companies who have to let people go, they're more likely to play the, uh, Christmas card.

Demonstrating how out of touch the press and much of the apparently intimidated retail establishment is with the rest of us, Rasmussen reported in late November that by a margin of 68% to 23%, "Most Americans still prefer signs in stores that say 'Merry Christmas' rather than ones with 'Happy Holidays.'" On Christmas Day, the pollster told us that "Sixty percent of Americans celebrate Christmas primarily as a religious holiday."

One final observation: The combined raw number of stories about layoffs is at least ten times greater than seen in the three previous years, and almost four times greater than 2008, which had about 51,000 such stories. It's hard to say whether this steep rise has occurred because there really are many more layoffs to cover, or whether there are simply more news sources covering them. It certainly isn't an indicator of a healthy economy.

Cross-posted at

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