It simply doesn’t feel like Christmas without having the halls (or whatever wall and counter space you do have) decked out in red Christmas decorations.
But wait a minute: Why are red & white considered to be the traditional Christmas colors in the first place? And who made that decision? Well, that’s the golden question that so many people ask.
To save you from a super deep dive into the history of Christmas, we did the digging for you to explain the symbolism of Christmas colors, and why red & white are such a big part of one of the year’s most-anticipated holidays.
After all, if you hang your festive Christmas ornaments up each year, don't you want to know the meaning behind their color palette?
In 1931, the Coca Cola Company hired Haddon Sundblom, a Michigan-born illustrator, to bring Santa (not someone dressed up as Santa) to life in magazine ads. The result was a jolly, bearded man decked in red and white (his red outfitclosely matching Coca-Cola's red shade).
Sundblom’s ads—which showed Santa drinking Coke, delivering presents, and interacting with children—ran from 1931 to 1964. And although there were many illustrators and cartoonists who drew Santa before these ads ran (like Thomas Nast of Harper's Weekly), these were the images that changed the way Americans imagined Santa and Christmas as a whole.
It solidified in our collective imaginations the red & white of Santa's robes that we already had in our minds... As a result this particular shade of red and white came to signify Christmas.
What are the other Christmas colors?
While red and white top the charts during the jolliest time of year, green, gold & blue often follow suit. Centuries ago, ancient Celtic people believed that holly plants brought beauty and good fortune in the middle of winter. As such, they’d regularly outfit their homes with the red and green plants as a way to promote a prosperous new year.
Gold symbolizes the gift from the three wise men, blue represents Mother Mary and the rich blue robes she was often seen in as a result of her wealth, and white links to the purity of Jesus himself.
Whatever your favorite colors, now is the time to let the Christmas magic happen.
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town…”
Merry Christmas to all, Ho Ho Ho.