Looking a LOT Like Christmas

Posted December 3, 2014, under Gee Whillickers!

Of all the holidays, Christmas may be the one that inspires the most grandiose advertising stunts. While one could view such stunts as blatant calls to consumerism, the best of them genuinely capture the essence and spirit of the holiday.

If peoples’ warm fuzzies translate to increased sales, so much the better.

Hollywood Christmas Parade

The famous Hollywood Christmas Parade began in 1928, with the express purpose of boosting shopping. In the decades since, it’s become a sprawling, gridlocking affair that highlights not only the entertainment industry but also the city’s remarkable cultural diversity (for example, the Falun Gong float at right). It’s hard to watch this and not feel a glimmer of Christmas spirit.

For most of its history, the parade was held right before Thanksgiving, which we’ll admit is kind of crass. But that changed in 2007, and now Angelenos can enjoy the street closures on the following Sunday instead.

Giant Lego Christmas Sculptures

Designed and created by the United Kingdom’s one and only “certified Lego technician,” Duncan Titmarsh — who has arguably the best job on the planet — has blessed various shopping centers around London with enormous Lego holiday sculptures.

In 2012 and 2013, these were gargantuan Advent Calendars, using around 600,000 bricks apiece. Opening the numbered doors revealed further Lego creations, as shown in the photo below.

Titmarsh apparently got tired of calendars, so for 2014 he built Santa in his sleigh, including the full complement of reindeer, built using 700,000 bricks. Visitors are encouraged to climb aboard and get their Santa selfies on.

We just know that no one in Duncan Titmarsh’s household ever goes anywhere barefoot.

Christmas Markets the Size of a Small Town

In America, department stores will put up some tasteful arrangements of glass balls and faux-fir garlands and perhaps pipe in interminable Muzak renditions of beloved Christmas carols.

In contrast, here’s what Christmas markets in several towns and cities around Europe look like (click to embiggen):

The list has almost 40 entries and we obviously couldn’t include them all, but you can see the rest here.

The Grand Finale: WestJet

This happened in 2013, and the story somehow managed to tug at the heartstrings of even the Grinchiest of us.

In case you can’t watch the video (which you should totally bookmark for later), here’s what went down: WestJet, a Canadian airline, gave its passengers a chance to talk to Santa Claus before boarding their flight. No doubt the passengers thought it was just a cute, seasonal diversion.

But WestJet had a larger plan. While the plane was in the air, WestJet employees went full elf, raiding local stores to fulfill their passengers’ wish lists. This included everything from socks and underwear to a flat screen TV. The gifts were then delivered on arrival via the luggage claim (hopefully followed by their actual luggage).

Seriously, words can’t do it justice. You’ve got to see the looks on these peoples’ faces.

While all of the stunts in this article could be seen as odes to materialism — they are all in service of commercial interests, after all — there is a less cynical viewpoint. One could choose to see thoughtfulness and caring about the happiness of others.


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