Merry Christmas. Well, not really yet. But I made a Christmas collection. Here is the story.
I love Christmas. I have outed my love for this season many times. There are plenty of things I love about Christmas. First of all – it is changing. A lot. The way we celebrate Christmas has absolutely changed over the years. Just look at how we started by celebrating Christmas at Christmas Eve (or Day, depending on where you are) and it lasted for a few weeks. There is a Swedish song saying that Christmas should last all the way until Easter. So old news… Nowadays we start sooner. At the latest by first of advent. So Christmas is celebrated before Christmas and as soon as we reach Christmas Day we basically want to rearrange and focus on New Years Eve.
That’s just one exampel. Look at how we celebrate diversity and fun with all Christmas sweaters. Or how food is changing. Not only vegetarian, but glögg can nowadays taste “Indian”. And a third thing is that we have shifted from hardcore family oriented stuff – to friends. Our extended family.
So Christmas has gone from being a holiday with rules to a holiday with focus on fun. Isn’t that nice?
Personally and professionally December is a super quiet month for me. No fairs, no travel and noone wants to talk about “so what are the trends in field XX?”. I get to go hardcore in for Christmas. At home I have three Christmas trees…
So with this background, I got a call from Swedish design company Cult – “if you love Christmas so much – why don’t you do your own Christmas collection?”. So we did. Let me introduce you to my own Christmas collection.
Merry Christmas. But if you are interested in the story, lets dive into a longer text.
This picture for instance is deliberately very vintage feeling. And yes. Vintage, vintage, vintage. The whole collection is deliberately a bit “Americana”.
When I first met Cult I had a long list of things we could do. But I felt strongly for “heads”. As a trendhunter I can absolutely see animal and human heads everywhere. So early on we accepted that we would do heads. Cookie jars or flower pots. All heads come in two sizes.
One unique thing I wanted to bring was the playfulness. This larger deer head has holes. Here you could place flowers, twigs or why not kitchen utensils?
You can get the deer also with fixed antlers.
So this is the collection. And all characters have names of course. The Santa (notice that he has a hipster hat) is called Nils. Why? Two reasons. The nickname of Nils is Nisse and that is basically a gnome. So hipster Santa is called Nils. And also, there is only one person in the world that calls me Nils – and that is my partner Peter. Every time I hear someone call out for Nils I know it is him.
The deer is actually not Rudolph. Santa has a handful of deers. They are called Blixen, Flixen and whatever. The names are not common in Swedish tradition, but there is one (!) translation of an American poem about the deers of Santa. You can check Wikipedia here. And all the deers were given Swedish sounding names in this translation. And a name I liked was Atja. Sounded a bit Samish. I thought it was pretty nice. Deers, Santa and the Samish people.
And the bear is called Viggo. Well why not?
We have a queer santa. The queer santa is representing so many things. First of all – Christmas is to be spent with your extended family. Being gay is of course both scary and easy, but one thing that is super scary is – what if I dont have any family members or children who want to spend holidays like Christmas with me?
I am sure everything will work out, and that is why it is so important to embrace the concept of “extended family”. Your closest ones might not be of your blood, but you share other bonds.
So this queer Santa is reminding us of celebrating holidays with everyone – not just the gay uncle.
Oh, the earring. Yes, you can change it. One year a Christmas bulb and the next a unicorn.
I want to emphasize that Christmas is love and family – regardless of who you are.
His name? Well, I was looking at names for Santa in different languages (because again, extended family could also be of different ethneticies). Many countries have variations of “Father Christmas”, like Pere Noel or Papa Noel, but in Italy he is called Babbo Natale.
So Babbo. Pretty OK?
And this is my Christmas collection: Nils (two sizes), Atja (two sizes and with or without antlers), Viggo (two sizes) and Babbo (limited edition)
But wait!! More behind the scenes??? Of course…
So this is the the first ever sketch. Intern David Ivarsson did the sketches for the idea. We worked hard for a hipster attitude. Not just a plain old Santa.
As a detail the hat is extremely important. Cult design really had to struggle to get the knitting correct.
Marita then went to the factory to produce these. And they are really sculptured.
And initially we all though “shit, the will be huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge”. But it worked out in the process.
It’s really quite a process. We met in August, talked and talked. Emailed sketches back and forth. Should the bear be brown or white? How dark should the beard be?
And this is the first time I get to see the products. It’s when we did the photos above.
How do you want to associate the collection? Premium as in French brands? Kids things? Home made? Folklore? Selecting, selecting… I want this collectiong to be fun, inclusive and interactive. Play with cookies, hats or why not play with the antlers of the deer.
And who made the waving flags? Us. Obviously me in red shirt, and then Marit from Cult Design.