Robins appears on fewer Christmas cards than ever before, while bears are on the increase. Father Christmas is holding his own, but he has been on a diet. These are just some of the findings from research commissioned by Clintons involving hundreds of Christmas card designs on the market.
In the last decade, Clintons’ Card Index shows that Christmas card designs featuring robins have declined by 29.2%, in contrast to their real-world equivalent population, which has grown by 49% since the 1970s.
Wider analysis of the animals depicted on Christmas cards this year has yielded several surprises. There are virtually no donkeys. Reindeers have been unaffected by fashion shifts, appearing on 10% of cards. But the surprise four-legged feature is the bear, which features on 32% of cards this year.
Depictions of Father Christmas continue their slight downward trend (3.6% over the decade) but his fashion influence remains strong, with 8.3% more characters on cards wearing his trademark red hat than this time ten years ago.
Creatures wearing the Santa hat this year include dogs, cats, teddy bears and rabbits. Father Christmas appears to have lost around 12kg in the last decade.
There is however more sparkle than ever, with glitter or flitter now appearing on 27% more Christmas cards than a decade ago.
However, despite these changes, Christmas card designs remain as traditional as ever. While many people seem concerned that the true meaning of Christmas has been forgotten, it seems that at Christmas, people still stick with tradition. Victorian street scenes remain as popular as ever, with holly bushes, bells and stars all apparently here to stay.
This year there is some evidence the Christmas is a more distant and ancient celebration that we imagined, with several cards featuring Darth Vader and his grandson Kylo Ren from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away – and proving, perhaps, that whatever your views on galactic domination, Christmas is a family affair.
Tim Fairs, Clintons’ VP of marketing, added: “It’s fascinating to see how depictions of Christmas combine tradition and fluidity. We’re surrounded by new technology, but this seems to be the one time of the year when everyone indulges in traditions – the satsuma in the stocking, the Christmas card, the rustle of wrapping paper. Thankfully, though, the light sabers are toys.”
Clintons’ is offering more than 1,000 different Christmas card designs this year, with prices ranging from £1 to £25 for a deluxe card.