Chart of the Day: War on Christmas Continues to Take a Drubbing

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


With the Christmas season now officially closed, I figured everyone would appreciate a final update on how our troops performed this year in the War on Christmas™. And since my Wikipedia entry insists that this blog is known for “original statistical and graphical analysis,” that’s what you’re going to get.

So then: the chart below is a Google Ngram showing the popularity of Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays. I’m sorry to report that contrary to suggestions from certain quarters, Happy Holidays has been taking a terrific and sustained beating ever since the mid-70s. I took the liberty of extending the trendline based on an extensive personal sampling of popular music and TV shows, and I’m afraid the results were devastating: 2014 was yet another year of Happy Holidays getting its ass kicked. In 1975 we were behind by 2 x 10-5 percentage points. Today we’re behind by 5 x 10-5 percentage points, and falling farther behind every year.

I know this might be discouraging news to some of you, but buck up, urban liberals! Happy Holidays is still doing better than the Lakers, the Bears, and the Knicks. Just wait ’til next year.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest