Christmas Colors

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative 

Chances are that if you have containers full of items just waiting to see the light of day again this holiday season, those items are red or green or some combination thereof.

Red and green have become the traditional colors of Christmas, just as blue and white symbolizes Chanukah. But how did this color palette come to evolve?

Just like many traditions of Christmas, the red and green scheme has origins that pre-date the Christian celebration. Christmas has borrowed from many of the customs of winter solstice celebrations of ancient peoples, including the Celts. Ancient Celtic people revered holly plants, believing they brought beauty and good fortune in the middle of winter — a time when the landscape is normally bleak and holly plants thrive and stand out. Celts would regularly bring in sprigs of holly and decorate their homes with the plants, which feature shiny, serrated leaves and bright, red berries, as a way to guarantee a prosperous new year.

While red and green had associations with Christmas in early times through holly and other sources, the connection was perhaps best solidified thanks to a man named Haddon Sundblom.

Sundblom was an artist commissioned in 1931 by the Coca-Cola company to create an image of Santa Claus for the company’s upcoming holiday ads. The ads proved popular and Sundblom’s Santa became the preferred depiction.

Color plays a strong role in creating Christmas nostalgia. Red and green are put on vivid display throughout the season.

– Courtesy Metro Creative

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