Christmas Marketing: Why is it so early?

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Christmas Marketing: Why is it so early?

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Happy November everyone! I can’t believe we are here already, this year has been a bit of a whirlwind… especially surprising considering I spent most of it in my loungewear watching Netflix! 

But… the ever-exciting John Lewis Christmas advert has been released so we know the holiday season is finally upon us. Which is why I wanted to write this blog, to talk about how Christmas has changed over the years with the increase of clever marketing and snazzy advertising.  

So how did it start? Well did you know that Father Christmas actually first became a familiar icon as the jolly grandpa surprising children with presents in the Victorian era. Although he was already known as St Nicholas, Newspapers started to print exciting, creative stories which shifted his religious image to one of ‘jolliness’ and generosity (one only needs to watch the movie Scrooge to know how important this message is)! 

Fast forward further and our Father Christmas was picked up by large corporations and incorporated into targeted branding to grab your attention. In fact, it was actually Coca Cola that created the red suit we know and love today, prior to them he was always in green! We can’t imagine him wearing anything else now, but that is the power of great marketing and we all know how large Coca Cola’s wallet is when it comes to marketing and advertising! 


The modern-day Christmas advertising that we see now includes multicultural celebrations and different forms of family; for example, in 2019 Selfridges released their ‘Future Fantasy’ Christmas advert that showcases a group of friends celebrating together and then heading out to a nightclub. Straying from the traditional family round the open fire just goes to show how much Christmas has evolved from a religious holiday into a season for people to come together and to celebrate in their own ways! 

Although brands continually evolve the image of Christmas, I don’t think we will ever lose our iconic Father Christmas as it is cemented in the Christmas season through cartoons, movies and the ever-clever Coca Cola! 

What has changed is the timing. No longer constrained to December, many brands start whipping out the Christmas messaging and decs as early as September. Although some of us can be guilty of leaving Christmas shopping to the last minute, brands have targeted the most organised of us with special deals and money off vouchers, creating a scarcity panic! And don’t even get me started on Black Friday – that deserves a whole blog of its own! 

Although advertisers can be commended for clever ideas, sadly Christmas marketing creates huge sustainability issues. COP26 is taking place right now and experts have stressed how critical it is that we take action and commit to reducing our carbon footprint, but this conflicts entirely with shops encouraging over consumption of stuff that will most likely sit in our cupboards for months until we finally do a sort out and realise, we don’t even want it so chuck it! Did you know that an estimated £42 million worth of unwanted presents are thrown out into landfill each year?


So, what can we do to prevent being sucked into the advertising ploy of Christmas marketing?  

Well, just remember that there is still plenty of time to prepare for Christmas! Although companies will talk about limited edition items and bargains, there is no need to buy products unnecessarily. Creating a plan and budget for the festive period will keep you aware of the items you need and when you should purchase them. We at Onesta will be releasing a blog all about how to shop for Christmas sustainably, so keep an eye out for some more helpful tips this December. 

From a business's point of view, we can see how it would make some sense to start marketing for Christmas at an earlier stage, but personally, I don’t think I will get used to seeing Lindt chocolate reindeers and Christmas tree decorations in summer!