Carl Jones, Senior Lecturer in Advertising, wrote an article for The Conversation about how advertising has shaped Christmas.
In the article, Carl Jones discusses the traditional British Christmas defined by Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and said: “Charles Dickens defined the British Christmas with his story, A Christmas Carol, which linked Christian values with the idea of sharing and a ‘festive generosity of spirit’. His book helped popularise what was already occurring in Britain, and is credited with spreading the traditions of the festival.”
He also explains how the tradition of Father Christmas can first be found in the mid-17th century as a symbol of good cheer, but later began to be linked to the idea of giving gifts in the Victorian times.
He added: “By the 20th century, mass advertising became commonplace. Consumer messages were now broadcast to the public through billboards, magazines, radio and later the moving image of television. Mass advertising was what allowed the slowly developing idea of Christmas as a time to give gifts to go mainstream, and eventually, to define Christmas.”
He also discussed modern Christmas advertising, and said: “The visual representations of Christmas signpost the holiday’s evolution from a white one to an inclusive one. Christmas is no longer a Christian holiday – but a time to be celebrated by everyone.”