• Nic Haysey

Christmas Colours: how they make you feel, why they are and is it intentional?

Red, green and gold are some of the very traditional colours that we all associate with Christmas. Then there is white, silver, blue and more recently, purple is appearing more and more.

Has this evolved naturally over time, or is it a marketing ploy. Why these colours?

I decided to dip my toe in the water of this mystery and find out why.

The stories of old and those from the Bible seem to have a great deal to do with the traditions of Christmas colours. For example, I recently learned that blue (traditionally identified on Mary as she sits in the manger scene of all good nativity plays at schools throughout the country this time of year) was a very wealthy, pure colour to be seen in and was reserved for empresses in the 12th century.

Blue has always been used to depict pictures of Mary because of the feelings the colour imbues in onlookers. How funny. What do you think about this?

It also happens to be the colour we associate with frost and cold weather....another reason it likely features in decorations at this time of year.

Blue is a cold colour, which is perfect in summery rooms. During the winter, we turn to warmer, richer, darker colours to....make us FEEL warmer.

To anyone not convinced about how your interior decor in your environment can have an impact on your mental state and well-being, can I just highlight that this article will make evident to you that it really does!

Lets look at gold. Back to the Bible briefly again. The three wise men. their star, their riches and their gift to baby Jesus. There is a link. Stars are more prominent this time of year due to the dark nights. Gold is also the colour of sunlight, it is a warm colour to brighten dark homes during a long winter, the sparkle makes us light up inside too. The colour sits beautifully next to a deep warm colour like red. Rich red colours are absolutely Christmas to us all, the red of holly berries more prevalent in the winter months, brought inside to cosy up our homes. Cosy up....hmmm....with colour? With the red comes the rich greens of the leaves from the holly and of course the tradition of the Christmas tree, which I won't go into now. Red apples used to be commonly found Christmas tree decorations in times gone by.

Red is the colour of fire, of heat. Psychologically, it evokes feelings of warmth, of energy, it's vibrant and it represents love, comfort and excitement. It's a strong colour for strong emotions. It is always prevalent in homes at Christmas time, in blankets, in fireplaces, in winter clothing, in decorations for the way it makes us feel (yep I said it again).

Now green. It's psychologically a cooler colour. It is said to evoke calm, tranquility, good luck, and health. Obviously, it represents nature and it has been described as a soothing cheerful colour for this time of year. It is supposed to relieve stress, be a good 'eating' colour for restaurants and kitchens. It is a good match for red, to pare back the intensity of it and create the perfect balance for a room. It's considered 'fresh' and it can't help but add to interiors and be subtly pleasing. Even when you add just a little plant to a room, it changes it. Do it and notice the difference when you go out and come back in again,

Autumnal colours still feed into this time of year too, particularly the fire colours - yellows, oranges and browns. It is reflected in nature. As we seek out the heat from the cold weather. suddenly faux fur rugs for our chairs or floors, deep pile carpets, wool and fleece are all too appealing than they were the rest of the year, particularly in the colours mentioned above. Certainly not in the height of summer. A tasteful shade of pink would most likely not be so attractive just now.,

Each year when we decorate our tree at home, we tend to change it up depending on our MOOD (just to point out the obvious - this being directly related to feelings). Some years it's silver, whites (like the berries in mistletoe) and greens with splashes of blues here and there, then other years it's red and gold with plenty of green and hints of white and the silver is banished for that year! Do you do the same? How does green make you feel? What about silver?

Now look up from reading this article and consider the room you are in right now.

What is the ambiance in your room? Is it pleasing, warm, cosy? Inviting., or unfinished, cluttered, messy, cold and annoying or peaceful, calm and tranquil? Is it bland or dull, empty or soul-less, is it exciting and beautiful and organised? What do you notice? Could it feel better? What does it need?

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