The Marketing of Christmas

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The Marketing of Christmas

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.

About Author

Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown

I am a Marketing student at the University of Georgia and head of the Ballet Company at DanceFX Athens. I love working with people, especially children, which is why I’ve chosen to teach ballet to kids for six years. Teaching has helped me develop many valuable skills, including organization, event planning, and the ability to create a structured and energetic environment that is conducive to learning. Retail experience has also taught me great time management and communication skills. Right now, I am studying foreign languages and business at the University of Georgia with the goal of entering the international business world as a marketing professional.


Keagan Ross

Keagan Ross

November 12, 2018at 9:51 am

It is interesting that most traditions that we follow have only come about because of marketing efforts. I don’t think most people would relate the idea of Santa Clause with the idea of marketing, since most people are unaware of how recent these Christmas icons are. It will be interesting to see how digital marketing with affect, or even change, the way that we perceive this holiday.

Kacie James

Kacie James

November 12, 2018at 4:20 pm

I was just discussing this topic yesterday with my boyfriend. We were discussing how we haven’t felt as passionate the past two years about Christmas as we have this year. We came to the conclusion that how ready we are for Christmas seemed to correlate with the frequency of Christmas marketing we came across and how early it started. The last couple years Christmas seemed to approach and pass very frequently, however, this year Christmas Ads were airing and out November 1st, Christmas seasonal items were even on the shelf in stores days before Halloween.

This shows just how powerful and influential marketing can be; especially when marketing holidays to consumers.

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