Have you ever wondered why “Red” and “Green” are regarded as traditional Christmas colours? Is it because of historical or religious reasons or is it purely down to nature? There does seem to be evidence to support all three.

Red and Green

Both colours have a long and rich history rooted in both paganism and Christianity. Back in Roman times, wreaths of green foliage were woven and hung on doors and walls in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture. This took place from17th to 25th of December, a time which was dedicated as a special holiday. Early Christians put a more spiritual emphasis on this holiday period and renamed it Christmas as a mass for Christ with red becoming the sacred colour associated with Christ’s sacrificial life and death. Holly berries are red and these are said to represent the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross.

Holly Stays Evergreen Throughout The Year

For centuries, evergreen plants, such as holly, ivy and mistletoe have been used to decorate and brighten up buildings during the long dark winter and they also provide a reminder that spring is on its way. Holly is one of the few plants that survives in the really cold temperatures of winter and interestingly, red and green are the only bright colours that thrive in nature during this season. They give hope that spring and warmer times are not far away.

The Changing Colours of Santa Claus

The name Santa Claus has its roots in the informal Dutch name for St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas which is an abbreviation of Sint Nikolaas. St. Nicholas was a historic 4th-century Greek saint. Today, the rotund Santa Claus is famous for being dressed in his distinctive red suit with white fur trimmings and white beard embellished with a thick black buckled belt and boots.

Santa and the Coca Cola Company

However, Santa has not always been dressed in red and over the decades he has been depicted in a variety of colours including blue, green and yellow. In Scandinavian countries, Father Christmas traditionally wore green to symbolise his links with nature and the changing seasons. It is not true that Santa was the creation of the Coca Cola Company but it was their illustrator Haddon Sundblom who created the picture of the jolly old man with the laughing face and this undoubtedly cemented the image and it would be hard to think of him in any other way.

Choosing Your Christmas Colours

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, there are hundreds of different styles and there is no requirement to keep to the traditional colours of green and red. Today, it’s all a matter of taste whether you choose modern, minimalist or classic designs and of course which colours you pick to compliment your creations.

Decorations come in a wide range of colours although they all have positive psychological properties. Purple denotes luxury and opulence whilst silver symbolises elegance and sophistication and gold is a sign of luxury and high quality.

What ever you choose, whether it’s fir cones and holly or lots of glitter and sparkle, traditional green and red or electric blue and silver, it’s all down to your colour personality and design style.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Rebecca Randall