When asked which are the colours that you most associate with Christmas? Most of us are likely to say red, white and green that remind us of snow, holly and berries and also of the legendary figure of Father Christmas.
Different variations of this mysterious gift giving character we know also as Santa Claus or ‘Santa’ have existed in European folklore since before early Christian times. Typifying the spirit of the season, this mythical and historical figure dates back at least as far as the 17th century here in Britain. Surviving pictures of Santa from that era portray him as a portly bearded man dressed in a long, green fur-lined robe!
The red and white images of Father Christmas that are most commonly used today first found popularity in the mid to late nineteenth century in the U.S.A. Research shows that Coca-cola was not the first soft drink company to use the image of red and white Santa in its advertising. White Rock Beverages used these colours to promote their mineral water in 1915 and ginger ale in 1923. However, it is acknowledged that the massive Coca-Cola campaigns have been largely responsible for the modern red and white Santa image now so ingrained in the public psyche.
But aside from these more commercial associations with red, white and green, we also respond instinctively to the seasonal colours of winter. The brightness and crisp whiteness of snow represents clarity, illumination and renewal. With the warmth of red we associate passion, energy and survival, and a deep pine green relaxes and reassures us.