Christmas is hands-down my favorite time of year. I start listening to Christmas music in May, organizing my 15+ Christmas playlists over the summer, and decorating my home for Christmas in October. Many will say that I am a Christmas extremist, and they are correct. So, I want to discuss something that I am very passionate about – Christmas and commercialism. Yes, I am a Christmas extremist, but I am also a victim of Christmas marketing ploys and perception manipulation. But I am not complaining, I just purchased a new Christmas sweater today.
Christmas has been a long-celebrated holiday, but it was more recently commercialized after Coca-Cola developed their version of Santa Claus in the 1920’s. Initially he was depicted as a more stern individual, but in the 1930’s, illustrator Haddon Sundblom transformed him into a friendly, red-suited, holly and jolly bearded old man. This model has resonated with people in the United States and even become an international image influencing people’s perception of Santa Claus. There have been many adaptations of Santa Claus and other Christmas elements for centuries, but Coca-Cola’s depiction remains one of the most well-known.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a story written by an advertising copywriter at the department store Montgomery Ward. The book was used to increase newspaper coverage of the store and promote them selling a new Christmas story. Afterwards, songs and movies were created about this copywriter’s Christmas story. Rudolph became a nation-wide hit and a story that has become a symbol of Christmas.
Macy’s and many other department stores use Christmas time to host parades, store sales, intense Christmas decorations, Santa showings, and much more. Christmas has become a large part of the identity of many companies. Many people know that Macy’s is known for their Christmas celebrations. There influence on Christmas was even promoted by the classic movie, Miracle on 34th Street. Many people have grown fond of these decorations and nostalgic for the influence these department stores once had.
Marketing has created a new form of Christmas. What was once solely a religious holiday has transformed into a universal and commercialized sensation. Many people still emphasize the religious element of Christmas, considering the whole background of Christmas is based on the birth of Jesus. However, even those who do not engage with these religious celebrations typically celebrate Christmas. Marketing has shaped people’s perceptions on the holiday. Companies use social media platforms to promote their Christmas deals, news outlets share Christmas parades, and individuals share their Christmas experiences on Facebook, Instagram, and more. Yes, I am a Christmas fanatic. But I am also a victim of the system of marketing, so I cannot be blamed entirely for my extremist commitment.