Did you know that the red and white colours of Father Christmas’s traditional outfit arose out of sponsorsip by Coca-Cola? Well, no you didn’t, because that’s an urban myth.
It does give a hint though, of the commercialisation of Christmas that was to come.
Not that that’s an entirely bad thing. Giving and receiving presents is nice, it certainly beats my childhood annual school visit to St Stephen’s Church, where we sat in itchy shirts and sub-zero temperatures listening to ... well we weren’t listening, we were just hoping for it to end.
But it’s all got a bit silly. I’m not just talking about the cards (£2.99 for a folded piece of paper?!).
Things really started to get out of hand when Christmas advertising itself became part of the holiday. For me, this started with above mentioned Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert.
Starting in 1995, it’s now become so ingrained in our Christmas pudding heads that for the last six years, they’ve sent a branded truck like the one in the adverts all over the UK – you may have caught it in Scarborough on the 26th.
Now things have really got out of hand!
Companies are spending tens of millions of pounds on adverts, dwarfing the production cost of the programmes they interrupt.
The most famous are the John Lewis ones, with their heart-wrenching stories, and now traditional cover version. Some of the most well known being – to use their very unofficial titles – the one with the dog and the stocking (Ellie Goulding), the one with the snowman (Gabrielle Aplin), and the one with the bear and the hare (Lily Allen).
I’m not counting the one with the man on the moon peering into the girl’s bedroom with a telescope as it looked more like a horror movie.
This year they’re all at it. Sainsbury’s with the James Corden thing, Waitrose’s robins, Aldi’s carrot (?), Heathrow’s teddy bears ... hang on, back that up – why do Heathrow need to advertise?
It’s not like someone in Stockport is going to think well I WAS going to fly from Manchester.
Personally, I think it’s about time Whitby businesses got in on the act. Bothams could have a gingerbread man trudging through snow made from icing with a bag full of sugar baubles to decorate their gingerbread Christmas tree.
I’d take that over Heathrow’s geriatric teddy bears any day.