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  • Elena Caldera

The Iconic Christmas Color Combo

Why do we use Red and Green for the Holidays?

Image retrieved from The Fact Site.

As soon as November starts, every market, store, and house is decorated with the lovely yet oddly specific colors of red and green. We all have grown up associating these two colors with none other than Christmas. Have you ever stopped and wondered why we use red and green to represent Christmas? What about white, like the snow that falls in December? What about blue, that represents calmness and peace?


In ancient times, red and green represented the Celtic holiday of winter solstice. For them and other cultures, these two colors were sacred amongst the people because they were the colors of Holly, a plant believed to earth looking beautiful during the harsh winter. Every winter home would be decorated with the Holly plant. Even though the Celtics and other eras might've shared the odd love for red and green during winter times, the most meaningful source for that attributed to our concept of modern Christmas is Coca-Cola.


Coca-Cola, The Creators of a Green and Red Christmas.

In the 1930s, depictions of Santa were very varied. Some made him skinny, some made him wear no bear, or glasses. His suit could be blue, white, or red. Coca-Cola wanted to reinvent Santa from his previous ad campaign. Before he was skinny, and elf-like. They hired Haddon Sundblom, who illustrated the Santa we modernly know and love. He was fat, jolly, and of course, wore a lot of green and red. The public loved it so much, Sundblom continued working for decades in the company. Not only that, he single-handedly shaped the modern Santa as we know it and solidified the association of using red and green colors for Christmas.


Image from: NPR

The history of the colors of Christmas is one that makes you think. It is astonishing how universally through decades because of religious traditions, all minds across the world associate two specific colors with gathering around and gifting presents. Yet, it is scary how one company can manage to shape the mind of many people. So, those colors truly encapsulate the essence of Christmas; religious tradition, commercialism, and the atmosphere of collective joy all around. Next time you're talking about the holidays, why don't you tell your friends and loved ones about the curious story of the color of Christmas!




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