Fun facts about Holiday Season and IP

By Ana Cisneros | 19-Dec-2022

In this Holiday-themed edition, we bring 5 fun facts about some popular seasonal traditions that you probably didn't know had much to do with the world of IP, plus one faker than a Mall Santa's beard.  Can you spot the knockoff?

Christmas as a Commercialization of American Culture

One of the first known images of Santa Claus was created in 1823 in a poem illustration by Clement Clarke Moore. In 1874, Macy’s department stores began decorating the shop windows with desirable gifts for the public. In 1931, Coca-Cola began to use the character created by Moore in its advertising, dressing him in red and finally creating the myth of Santa Claus in a cascade of seasonal concepts. It was through this commercialization of American culture (music, movies, and advertising) that Santa Claus gained the form we know today around the world. Even in countries where the link with religion is weak or even non-existent, Christmas is still present. In Bangladesh, for example, December 25 is a national holiday even if only 0.3% of the population is Christian, while in Egypt Christmas is gaining popularity as a secular holiday. Even in China, where the roots of Christmas are little known, the celebrations made famous by the movies have arrived in large cities.

Trademark Infringement Scandal Rocks Holiday Season: Fake Santa Clauses Caught Selling Counterfeit Gifts

The holiday season is typically a time of joy and celebration, but this year it has been marred by a shocking trademark infringement scandal. In a series of raids conducted by federal agents, several individuals dressed as Santa Claus were caught selling counterfeit gifts to unsuspecting shoppers; they were selling a wide range of fake toys and other gifts, all bearing the logos of popular brands such as LEGO, Barbie, and Hot Wheels.

The fake Santas would approach shoppers and offer to sell them counterfeit gifts at a discounted price, making it difficult for law enforcement to identify them as fraudulent.

Fake news!

No Santa counterfeit band has been spotted, but be aware of the scam! This might be a good idea for some troublemakers!

Mexican Farmers Have Been Forced to Pay Right Fees to Grow and Sell Poinsettias, “Flor de Nochebuena”

The poinsettia, the traditional flower that originated in Mexico and blooms for a few weeks in November and December, was called cuetlaxóchitl by the Aztecs and symbolized purity and new life for the warriors taken down in battle. It was linked to the Christmas season only until the 16th Century by the colonizers, and it was taken to the US by Ambassador Joel R. Poinsett in 1825, eventually spreading throughout the country and across Europe under the name poinsettia. It has become one of the best-selling flowers in the U.S. with a $153 million est. market worth. The Ecke Family patented it with international protections. Amando Espinosa Flores and his Mexican farmer team are working to register other varieties that won't be subject to the fees, hoping Mexico will reconquer their beloved “leathered flower.”

KFC Owns Christmas in Japan

You’ll likely be surprised to know that one of the top traditions celebrated by most families across Japan is Kentucky Fried Chicken. When KFC first opened in Japan back in the 1970s, they knew they faced a steep hill of cultural dissonance; it was Takeshi Okawara in 1974 who pushed a promotion idea throughout all of Japan under the name “Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii” or translated, “Kentucky for Christmas.” The concept was to sell a Christmas party barrel, inspired by the elaborate American turkey dinner but in a way of keeping unique Japanese diversity. This filled a void of a Christmas tradition in Japan, and it was a brilliant campaign. Okawara realized that since he was starting something new within the Japanese culture, he needed to make it unique and ubiquitous with the Holidays if he wanted any real chance at long-term success. Nowadays, an estimated 3.6 million Japanese families eat KFC during the Christmas Season with long lines to order in advance, carrying on the tradition.

A New Funko Pop of The Queen of Christmas Is Getting Us in the Holiday Spirit

Mariah Carey’s festive figure arrives as part of the brand’s Pop! Albums collection, which pays homage to classic records alongside a small figure of the associated artist. The product showcases a festively dressed figurine striking a pose similar to the one featured on the singer’s 1994 Merry Christmas album along with a mini version album’s cover art. When it comes to Christmas music, it’s hard not to think of Mariah Carey and her ubiquitous holiday anthem “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The record-breaking song has been Diamond certified by the RIAA, becoming the very first-holiday song to do so, ultimately boosting Mariah’s status as the unofficial queen of Christmas. Carey recently filed to trademark the title “Queen of Christmas,” but unfortunately, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board blocked the request.

Have you ever heard of the Advent calendar?

If you haven't, you're really missing a lot of fun. First conceived in the Lutheran German tradition, the advent calendar is the equivalent of a “count down” until Christmas. Previously, the calendar would start its countdown between November 27 and December 3, but now they usually start the countdown on December 1st, and until Christmas Day. These calendars are normally made of paper or wood, and they contain a present per day until Christmas.

The beauty of this calendar is that each day you get a surprise present. With this idea, last year, the very well-known Chanel brand created a beautiful advent calendar for the modest price of $825.00 USD. However, the surprises inside were quite disappointing (keychains, dustbags, and stickers were among the crappy gifts), and Chanel opted to change its presentation to allow buyers to preview the content…which ended up defeating the whole purpose of the traditional advent calendar.

Ana Cisneros
IP Attorney |
Litigation, Copyright
Ana is part of Iberbrand®’s professional team. Intellectual property has always been her passion. She is in charge of Iberbrand®´s “5+1 Fun Facts” editorial section.
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