Over the past few years we have seen the surprising resurrection of trends we thought were gone with the ghosts of Christmas past and others that seem to be sticking around for Christmas present. So, we decided to delve a little deeper to see what makes these holiday classics and a few newcomers so popular. If you find one of your favorite Christmas trends in our list, or wish one would stay in the past, let us know in the comments!
The Rise of Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Grandmas, get out your needles and yarn. The “ugly sweater” is a fashion faux pas no more! What many thought was an unfortunate style choice during Christmas in the 80s has come back in the form of a wildly trendy fashion statement today– Ugly Christmas Sweaters. So, why the sudden revival of this fashion fad from Christmas past? Ugly Christmas Sweaters began making their way into tradition as office Christmas party attire about 10 years ago and have been gaining speed ever since.
Ugly Christmas Sweater parties ensure a guest list of people with at least some sense of humor and the attire itself makes for a natural conversation starter, not to mention an environment where even the most socially awkward can fit in. Plus, the type of ugly Christmas sweater your fellow party-goers choose to wear (or make) provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the creative individuality of your friends and coworkers.
Still not ready to jump on the ugly Christmas sweater clad bandwagon? This trend is so popular, it even landed one company a Shark Tank deal and in two years they went from a million dollar company to a ten million dollar company. That’s a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters!
Laser Christmas Lights
A newcomer to the Christmas world began popping up on lawns across America last year and immediately cemented itself as a Christmas light sensation. Chances are if you drove around in a car anytime between November and December, you were bound to see the mesmerizing display produced by laser Christmas lights.The promise of plug-and-go setup coupled with high impact display was more than enough to pique the interests of Christmas decorators from all walks of life, from the most enthusiastic to those just starting out. Christmas laser lights can light up entire forests and stop traffic. They’re so popular they’re even being stolen, according to various news reports through last year’s holiday season. Just when you thought there’s nothing innovative in Christmas decorating, along comes something new like laser lights and revolutionizes the way people can decorate.
Christmas Movie Trends
A number of Christmas movies have established strong roots in pop culture, giving birth to such beloved fictional icons as Clark Griswold, Buddy the Elf and Ralphie Parker. Recently we conducted our own survey broken down by age and gender to determine the top Christmas movies in each category and were surprised by some of the results. It wasn’t just the submission of Die Hard as a candidate for favorite holiday movie by multiple participants that caught us off guard.
We were intrigued to see that some titles, such as A Christmas Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation proved to have long term staying power by transcending generations and appealing to both male and female audiences. Our findings also suggested that movies such as Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas are gaining favor with adults age 20-40, even going so far as to knock classics like, White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life completely out of the rankings with certain age groups. To see how our survey results stacked up to box office trends, we turned to the highest grossing holiday movies of all time.
Top 3 Highest Grossing Holiday Movies
No 3. Elf – $173 million
No 2. The Polar Express – $182 million
No 1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – $260 million
Although classic Christmas movies often get the most attention, holiday movies have recently gained popularity across a variety of genres. In 2015 alone we saw the addition of 17 brand new Christmas movies produced by Hallmark as part of their Countdown To Christmas as well as a new take on holiday cinema in the form of Krampus, a Christmas horror-comedy. Only time will tell if modern holiday movies will surpass the popularity of the classics, but for now we are enjoying the blend of Christmas past and present in holiday movie trends!
Trends in Christmas Music
In a matter of 18 minutes on May 29th, 1942, a song titled “White Christmas” was recorded by Bing Crosby as part of a collection of songs to be featured in Irving Berlin’s classic holiday movie also titled White Christmas. Little did anyone know that 70 years later the Christmas favorite, which took so little time to record, would become a Guinness World Record holder for best selling single of all time with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide. While “White Christmas” holds the record for most physical CD singles sold of any genre, a more recent artist has maintained the number one spot for most Christmas specific digital downloads for several years now.
Mariah Carey’s 1994 classic,”Christmas” not only tops the Billboard Holiday 100 list which measures airplay, sales and streaming, it has also sold 3.1 million downloads since Nielsen Music (a sister company of Billboard.com) began scanning digital sales in 2003. This positions the song as the best-selling holiday download to date, followed by recent versions of “Mary Did You Know” performed separately by Pentatonix and Jordan Smith. So what makes Mariah Carey’s hit so popular even 21 years after its release? 1994 was already a banner year for Carey as she was named the top female pop singles artist of that year by Billboard, had five singles chart the Hot 100, and was the top female pop artist overall, as measured by combined albums and singles activity. While all of this popularity may have helped to promote her holiday album, the true magic of “Christmas” is in its divergence from tradition. Mariah Carey’s song has none of the same elements of classics like “White Christmas,” instead it is an upbeat and fun pop number about spending time with someone who is far away during the holidays.
Carey also ensures the song remains in the public eye by performing it at well known holiday events including the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting and The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Additionally pop artists, like Lady Antebellum and Ariana Grande are also keeping the popularity of “Christmas” alive by performing covers of it on their own holiday albums and during live shows. Eventually a new Christmas song might find its way to the top spot, but for now it doesn’t look like Mariah Carey will be falling behind on the Christmas charts any time soon.
Growing Popularity of Christmas Light Shows
If only Clark Griswold had access to the energy efficient, smart-phone connected, color changing Christmas lights of today. Thanks to his 25,000 twinkling Christmas lights, Clark Griswold will always hold a special place in our hearts. However, modern Christmas light technology is taking the light show game to a whole new level and giving dads across the country a chance to live out their Griswoldian dreams in a much less headache inducing, power draining way.
Take for example, Australian dad, David Richards. Known fondly in Canberra as “Christmas Lights Man,” Richards has orchestrated the world’s largest display of Christmas lights on an artificial tree with a Guinness world record breaking 518,838 individual lights. Not only does his display bring great joy to his local community, it also helps to raise money and awareness for SIDS and Kids ACT, an organization which holds a deeply personal importance to his family. This desire to provide something special for the community while also doing something good for humanity is what drives the creation of many Christmas light shows, including several which have been seen on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight, a reality tv show where light displays are judged on three categories: use of lights, overall design, and Christmas spirit. The winners of each episode take home an incredible $50,000 prize and the coveted holiday-themed trophy.
Christmas light show stars aren’t just made through appearances in movies and television. YouTube is a veritable gold mine for finding some of the most awe inducing light displays you will ever witness and before you know it, you’ll be binge watching light shows like they’re your new favorite series on Netflix. Popular movie themes combined with technical ingenuity and creative vision come together to create something spectacular and well worth the share. Viral sensations like the Frozen and Star Wars themed light shows shown below have amassed over 13 million views in little more than a year’s time. With new advancements in Christmas light technology every year it is likely that the popularity of mega displays will continue to grow and become increasingly more accessible.
Have you created a light show of your own or have a favorite everyone should know about? If so, share a video link or photo in the comments below!
Are Ugly Christmas Sweaters here to stay? Do you love laser lights? Give us your opinion in the comments or join the conversation on Facebook!