Christmas is a big deal for me. The house is ceremoniously turned into a grotto, we start playing Christmas music way too early and I eagerly await and watch all of the Christmas ads sometimes with (I won’t lie) a tear in my eye.
And when we embarked on our Future of Christmas research late last year, one of our core assumptions was that, from those first tinglings of festive spirit through to the big day itself, love and excitement for Christmas grows and the closer it gets, the warmer and more fuzzy we feel.
However, what we actually found was a different picture altogether. It’s true that, like me, the majority of us love Christmas. Around two thirds of us say that we love Christmas at that time where the first red Starbucks cups appear and the big Christmas ads are aired in November. One of our community participants summed up the feeling nicely when she said:
“This time of year I cannot wait for the Christmas adverts to come on. Saw two last night: the John Lewis and Coca Cola adverts. Then it’s the wait for the Christmas coffees in Starbucks, then its Eggnog and do a count and see if I can beat last year’s total. Christmas shopping started early this year and a big Christmas shop is planned with Mum for next Friday”
However we were surprised to see that November actually marks the peak of our Christmas love in Britain. Our Christmas spirit actually hits a low during the first couple of weeks in December when we see Christmas markets in full swing, Santa Races pelting around our parks and pantomime dames yelling ‘it’s behind you’ at every opportunity. Sadly, even Christmas week doesn’t receive as much love as those first heady weeks.
Echoing Evros’ earlier blog on Christmas being fun for all the family, it seems that after the first throes of love for the festive season, it slowly dawns on us that Christmas is still six weeks away and there is still a huge amount of shopping, wrapping, cooking, eating, drinking and socialising to be done. In fact, the University of Edinburgh have blamed this ‘Christmas fatigue’ on the combination of excitement and stress, which result in a potent cocktail of serotonin, cortisol and dopamine coasting through our bodies, which cause highs, lows and chronic fatigue. Unsurprisingly, this erodes our love for Christmas somewhat.
So what can brands do to try to help stressed Britons throughout this time?
There is something to be said for trying to keep Christmas fresh and alive throughout the six week period after the tranche of emotional Christmas ads have rendered us weepy and excitable in equal measure; or perhaps more interestingly, can they instead provide “relief” from the festive pressure and overload? In mid-late November when the day itself seems so far away, can brands take a refreshing stand and distract us from the commercial beast of Christmas, providing respite and comfort in the weeks of stress and anxiety?