The days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are a blurry haze of holiday cheer, rosy cheeks and fuzzing feelings. But to some of us, this period can also become a sort of birthday purgatory. I was born on December 19th and have spent the greater part of my near-27 years shrouded in birthday agony come this month. Don’t get me wrong—I love this time of year. I love my family and friends. And I love cupcakes. But after enough years of no one being able to make my birthday party, I started wondering how I could make December my own.
Eventually, I figured out that it’s my day so I should do what makes me happy. Some years this has meant a day off work, a spa trip or dinner with friends. This year I’m choosing between fondue and Medieval Times for what will surely be a delightfully tacky dinner with my main squeeze. I’m always looking for ways to take ownership of my slice of December, and here are some brands that I think do it best.
While I’m still wiping off the last of my Halloween makeup each November 1st, Starbucks is busting out their red cups, holiday music and nostalgic seasonal menu. Suddenly, the switch from black coffee to a gingerbread latte doesn’t seem so unhealthy and my social media feeds are littered with pictures of my friends’ red cups. To me, the cups are the first official greeting of the season. To Starbucks, it means as much as a 10 percent boost in profit.
Just as I’d torn open my bag of Sour Patch Kids at the movie theater last month, the familiar dreamscape of the North Pole was projected onto the screen. Could it be? Was it here already? Is that—Yes! It’s an adorable family of animated polar bears! Coca-Cola’s popular holiday commercials infect audiences with a cozy, childlike sensation each and every year—which is a long time considering the bears have been making appearances in Coke ads since 1922. They are a nostalgic and non-denominational reminder of the pure sweetness of the holiday season.
3. Hershey’s Kisses
It was a toss-up between Kisses and M&Ms, but Hershey’s Kisses-turned-bell-choir commercial has been airing every holiday season since 1989. This seasonal favorite is a great example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Each year, Gap Inc. reminds us of the real reason for the season: love, scarves and beautiful people. The colorful, fun ads have been the only fashion ads I really look forward to each holiday season, made better by the fact that I can actually afford the brand. Just when I thought I couldn’t love them more, Gap’s anti-hate stance on a recent controversy proved that they are way more than their scarves.
Clydesdales, snow and pleasant orchestral music are a holiday combination the king of beers has been using for years. There isn’t a can in sight, but Budweiser has still managed to carve out its own special niche each December.
What are some of your favorite brands to spot during the holidays? What are some ways you take ownership of this busy time of year?
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