The (Colour) Meaning of Christmas


Christmas is Red and Green, but mostly Red.

In fashion, a lot more red appears at Christmas to match the seasonal colour. But what impact does this colour have on websites and marketing?

The choice of red and green is partly historical; decorations in December used to Holly berries and foliage as there were not many brightly coloured flowers in the gardens, so before flowers were traded internationally the seasons colour schemes were very much influenced by the seasons. In Europe and North America, red and green therefore became associated with Christmas.

Red is a good colour for Christmas from a marketing point of view, and this is because of the way colours work and the way we react to different colours.

Scientifically, the colour red has the longest wavelength and this has an impact on how we see it. Red objects often appear ‘nearer’, so they stand out from the background in an attention seeking way. This is why red is used for “sale” signs, and not lilac or mauve. So the physical characteristics or the red colour help it stand out; for ecommerce sites this is helpful as red Christmas products will be easily seen.
When red is used as the primary colour in design it is very powerful and very striking. Of course it can be softened, and red is also the colour for love and friendship .

But what about Green? Green is quite different to Red. Most shades of green are restful and are associated with the environment. In terms of the colour spectrum, the wavelength is in the middle, so the colour neither stands out or recedes and explains why it is often a neutral colour. Historically green has not been used as much as other colours in fashion and design, and this relates to colour matching and the way the different shades work together. Any experienced website designer will have designed many years ago to web safe palettes, and this will give a dislike of the green spectrum as this used to be very poorly covered in web safe colours. By contrast blue has always been easy to work with.

This article is condensed from a page on website colours and their meaning by Cornish WebServices.

Cornish WebServices deisgn websites in a variety of colours -  and you can check out some of these from


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