Digits – WSJ – ‘Merry Christmas’ vs. ‘Happy Holidays’ — a Look at the Numbers By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries

You might not know it, but the phrase “Merry Christmas” is getting more popular, and it completely dwarfs the use of “Happy Holidays” — at least by one measure.

Your Digits blogger has been playing with Google’s Books Ngram Viewer, a tool released last week that lets you search the tech giant’s database of words from more than 5 million books. According to these books, the phrase “Merry Christmas” is a far more important part of our literary culture than “Happy Holidays.” By a large margin. We’re talking 17-to-1, here.

And authors have been writing “Merry Christmas” more of late. In 2008, the latest year for which Google has data — and coincidentally the year in which the Journal’s opinion writers proclaimed that Christmas had lost the “war on Christmas” — the phrase was used more than ever.