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Friday, 17 December 2021

Why Are Red And Green The Colours Of Christmas?


The Holiday Season ... Christmas is upon us. It is a time of festivities and colour, of twinkling lights, tinsel, nativity plays and more. Like many our house has been decorated in readiness and the predominant colours are red and green. Did you know that, "Globally, red and green are famously the colours that represent Christmas. Whenever we see these two colours together we automatically associate it with the holidays. But why is it just these two colours and where did the association come from?

Although no one knows the origins of red and green at Christmas for certain, there are many theories, and in this article, we will look at the possible reasons why these became the colours of the season.

Why are red and green associated with Christmas?
Christmas is the time of year where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but over the decades it has become more about exchanging gifts and spending time with our family and friends.

There are simple associations that make us think of these colours, Santa’s suit is red and a Christmas tree is green. But the use of these two colours stems back further. In Christianity, it is taught that the red represents the blood of Jesus when he was crucified, and the green represents the eternal life of Jesus like an evergreen tree. Some people claim it comes from holly bushes, with their red berries and dark green leaves as they thrive at that time of year. Holly bushes are used to make wreaths that we hang on our front doors during the holiday season so they are a popular image at this time of year. There are many links and stories that are claimed to be the reason for the colour choices at Christmas. Some people believe that the colours have come from more commercial influences.

Where did the colour red originate in association with Christmas?
Although red has been a prominent colour used at Christmas, it is said that Coca-Cola was the one who made it a dominant colour. In 1931 Coca-Cola advertisements became more popular in magazines, especially when approaching the holidays. One of the first advertisements was commissioned to illustrator Haddon Sundblom, with the instructions of creating an advertisement with Santa Claus drinking Coca-Cola. Sundblom wanted to create an image of the real Santa, rather than of someone dressed as Santa. This was a turning point in history because the illustration of Santa was so lifelike that it became the image representation of the real Father Christmas. Santa wore red and from then on, Coca-Cola has continued to advertise with its red branding and hence becoming an associated colour of Christmas.

Why did the colour green become associated with Christmas?
The association of green at Christmas doesn’t have quite a significant defining moment like the colour red. Many associations point back to the flora and concept of bringing an evergreen tree into the home around Christmas time. The first documentation of bringing a tree into the home is in Roman culture when they celebrated Saturnalia. This was to honour the God Saturn and was celebrated from December 17 to 23. Traditions involved decorating the home with holly and evergreen trees, which would be decorated with small figures. This is one of the oldest examples of trees being brought inside during the winter to decorate the home. The colour green is widely associated with Christmas because we decorate our homes with trees, holly, and mistletoe.

What other colours were used at Christmas in history?
Victorian Christmas cards show that various combinations of colours were paired when it came to Christmas. Victorian cards use colour combinations like red and green, red and blue, blue and green, blue and white. 
Original decorations would have come from natural elements found at that time of year across the flora and fauna, which had an array of colours. Many are still reflected at Christmas today such as snow, icicles, robins, holly, and mistletoe.
Santa Claus was even depicted wearing different coloured suits, from red to green and blue.
It wasn’t until 1931 when Christmas started to become more of a commercial holiday and this is when green and red became the defining colours. Like other holidays, Christmas has its traditions and associations. Some are more recent than others but red and green have been the colours of Christmas for hundreds of years. It would seem that due to the commercialization of the holiday, it has resulted in these two colours becoming the most prominent at Christmas.
Much like orange and black at Halloween, red and green have stuck as being the representational colours of that time of year."
Words above, with all relevant links, can be seen here


Have you decorated your home for the celebration of the Holiday Season and Christmas? Do you have one, or two dominant colours? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Fruit Cake (a low carb alternative) and could be just right for Christmas, look here

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All the best Jan

29 comments:

Catarina said...

I like those colours and I like gold too. Red and green are still the predominant colours.

Tom said...

...I think that they are!

Rain said...

It's funny Jan, I was doing a video today and using green and red things in it (for my ice lanterns) and I said "you know, green and red, the colours of Christmas"...not even thinking twice. I never actually thought about why they were associated with the holidays!!

Christine said...

I like a red and green Christmas!

J.P. Alexander said...

Conocía la historia . Adoro los pasteles de frtuta . Te mando un beso

Elephant's Child said...

No decorations here. Yet. I really like the addition of silver to the mix - which goes well with red and green.

peppylady (Dora) said...

I just like colorful Christmas.
Coffee is on and stay safe

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, yes. I once saw 3 huge blinking colorful Coca-Cola trucks driving slowly through the heart of the town, it was amazing!

Santa´d feel comphy in our kitchen :-) There are even Christmas-cookies! And milk in the fridge.

Valerie-Jael said...

Interesting article. I must confess I don't decorate anything! Valerie

linda said...

I have always liked predominately red and green with white and silver to represent snow.

Jo said...

Red and green are definitely the traditional colours, though you see other colour schemes being brought in now, from pink to aqua, lots of pastel colours. I'm all for tradition myself.

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

I like the red and green colors for Christmas. I did not decorate much this year, small trees with white lights. Take care, enjoy your day!

My name is Erika. said...

This is a fascinating article. I was surprised Christmas became commercialized so many years ago. I don't know if I decorate by color. Probably more by style, but yes, lots of red and some green too. Thanks for sharing. It was a fun read.

Ananka said...

Red, green and gold for me and my nails! Nice cake :-D

Inger said...

My grandfather made a Santa Claus well over 100 years ago. I believe his Santa is decked out in the color red. I forget, but I will bring him out again today and soon post him on my blog. He's a treasure and shows up on my blog every Christmas.

CJ Kennedy said...

Red, green, and gold to add some bling.

happyone said...

I like a red and green Christmas! :)

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I am quite sure that no one questions any more why red and green are the colours of Christmas. It's just the way it's supposed to be!

Luiz Gomes said...

Boa tarde. Obrigado pela visita e carinho. Parabéns pelo seu trabalho maravilhoso. Desde já desejo um feliz natal com muita paz e saúde.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I always heard that Father Christmas wore the traditional green until it became commercialized in the states with him wearing red. Interesting read, Jan.

William Kendall said...

Very informative.

I try to avoid Christmas.

Jeff said...

Of course, as a boater, red and green are important navigation colors, too. Back in the 90s, I had an article published on Coca-Cola's influence on Christmas--it's interesting how they had so much influence. That fruit cake looks good!

Teresa said...

Son bonitos los colores de la navidad. Besos.

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderfully informative post about the red and green Xmas colors ~ delightful Xo

I am a bit behind in commenting ~ Hope to catch up soon ~

Happy Day to you,

A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

sandy said...

nice article. I enjoyed it.

CraveCute said...

Love the tradition red and green, my red tends to be a bit more on the pink side! Just copied the fruitcake recipe, I'm going to try and adapt my regular fruitcake that I love and see how it goes! Thanks a bunch!

Conniecrafter said...

My colors are mostly red and green, I have many old decorations that is probably why :) It figures that commercialism is the reasoning behind most of it.

Jeanie said...

This is so interesting! You always look up the things that we might be curious about but never look up! Thank you so much for sharing it. (At Christmas I'm a mostly red-and-green person. It's not that I dislike the others, but it's what I have and it works best in the house.

Magic Love Crow said...

That was interesting about Coca-Cola! We put all different colours, but mostly, red and green! My mom loves "her" fruit cake! LOL! Big Hugs!