Each holiday season, the War on Christmas flares over several issues: nativity scenes on government property, secular Starbucks cups, and the semantic choices of presidential holiday cards. Though simmering for decades, the conflict broke into mainstream American consciousness in 2005, when radio host John Gibson published “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought”. This year, our analysis of the digital battlefield — where traffic on web pages specific to competing holiday season phrases reveals partisan preferences — shows that the War on Christmas is escalating ... and that Christmas is losing. Online interest in the phrase “Merry Christmas” has remained well below that for the secular phrases “Season's Greetings” and “Happy Holidays.” Christmas opponents, it appears, are well-positioned to prevail this year. But the war is far from over.
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