Christmas is not just a festival, it is a brand. It is an event that is not just awaited by major brands, but also envied by many. As a brand, Christmas has never been diversified. It has always been and always will be one day in a year. It does not have a typical logotype nor has it ever been rebranded. It continues to be the same colour and the same concept of Jesus and Mary, three Kings, the Shepherd, the Drummer Boy, the North Star and our beloved Santa Claus. Yet for some reason, the season of Christmas sees people flocking the streets at Crawford Market (In Mumbai), Malls packed to the brim and everyone in frenzy to buy gifts and decorations for their celebrations. So what makes Christmas so unique?
I have always been a fan of Christmas. Decorating the Christmas tree and packing gifts is something I look forward to every year. But over the years as I grew up, it was no longer just about the tree or the gifts. It transformed into plans that required my tree to look Pinterest worthy, tons of albums and boards created on my phone for gift wrapping ideas, the hunt for a unique dress to wear at Midnight Mass so that nobody wore the same thing as me and so on. But did I lose the essence of Christmas? No, I didn’t. With the tree decoration, placing baby Jesus in the crib remained constant. With the gift exchange, the Christmas dinner with my family and friends remained constant. So how did Christmas as a brand undergo this evolution while retaining its original concept?
The answer is simple. Nobody tried to change Christmas. As time changes, a lot of events and occasions change too. People have no choice but to adapt to changing times. Take Easter for example; it is mostly about Easter Eggs, Easter Bunnies and Egg hunts. But does anyone try to understand why we have Easter Eggs? What do the eggs symbolize? What is Easter? The resurrection of Jesus is lost in the midst of brand promoted Marketing campaigns and products. But that’s not the case with Christmas. No matter how much Santa Claus is hyped up, the story of Christmas will always stay true to its origin. Brands build numerous marketing promotions and campaigns every year, but stay true to the Brand Essence of Christmas.
Need proof? Let’s look into it further:
What is Advent? Advent means “Coming”. It is a season or a period observed by the Catholic Church as the period of waiting for the birth of Jesus. There are four candles, one lit on each Sunday of the Advent Season to mark a countdown to Christmas. Translating this tradition to the Brand World, we have Advent Calendars; a kit launched by brands across all segments, from beauty to food & beverage. Advent Calendars consist of small mini gifts or products, to be opened by a person on the 24 days leading to Christmas.
While there is no documented proof of the original use of the Christmas tree, it is popularly known to emerge from the concept that people kept the tree at home to remind them of spring or the warmer times. Decorating the tree with ornaments, lights etc. originated from Martin Luther who told his children that it reminded him of the star that shone during the birth of Jesus. This also led to the invention of the star atop the tree, AKA the tree topper.
In the brand world, the tree is not only celebrated in its original form of different colours and sizes of Christmas trees, it is also extended into all Marketing Campaigns and Product Packaging. E.g. Socks are packaged in a conical packaging owing to the conical structure of the tree. Or, Miniature travels kits are packaged in baubles that can be hung on trees. The possibilities and the list are endless.
I never had anyone dress up as Santa and put gifts under my tree while growing up. I always knew it was my parents who would buy me gifts. But I still believed in Santa. Because for me, Santa was never a person, it was an emotion. The concept of Santa Claus originated from Saint Nicholas who would dress up in a disguise and leave gifts for orphans on Christmas. From then to now, Santa has always had one purpose; to spread Joy and Happiness.
In our current day scenario, gift giving has transformed into playing Secret Santa, or watching tons of gift guides videos, trying to figure out the perfect gift to give to the people in our lives. Letters to Santa have now become our Christmas wish list, and Naughty or Nice a fun little joke. So while there are stocking fillers, gift sets, blogs and vlogs or Christmas editions, the emotion still remains constant.
Everyone has found the recipe to “Christmas Season Success”. From sentiments to traditions, Christmas is a season of festivities, joy, lights and warmth. It is trucks of optimism bundled into an occasion, loved by people across the globe. It is no longer just for Catholics. Christmas, while being true to its origin is a feeling for everyone.
Christmas is not under a tree, it is in our hearts.