T’is the season for Poinsettias, Holly Berries, and Santa Suits. Are you fashion conscious? Red is the “in” color this season for sweaters, gloves, buffalo plaid pajamas and flannel shirts. You can’t go wrong with red in December.
The color red stirs the emotional senses and stimulates the circulatory system. It can elevate blood pressure and increase the rate of breathing thus creating a physical feeling of warmth. Walk into a red painted room and it feels warmer than a room painted blue even though the room temperature is the same. On a cold December day that warm feeling is a plus. This may be one of the reasons the Winter Holidays are trimmed in red. Is this why Santa Claus is dressed in a red suite? He has to stay warm flying in that open sleigh at high altitudes.
Red may be the reason we over eat during the Holidays. We tend to eat more than we plan when our surroundings are decorated in red. The color red is known to increase and improve our appetites, heighten the sense of smell and speed-up the rate at which we eat. Restaurateurs have used the color red in eating establishments and in marketing for years.
Energy, power, vitality and passion have been associated with red for thousands of years. Red’s reputation is also linked to lust and aggression. The early Catholic Church depicted the devil in red. In Christian philosophy martyrdom and the blood of Christ is considered to be the sacrifice of love and bravery. Mary Queen of Scots wore scarlet red at her execution/beheading to symbolize her martyrdom. The English Crown said it was the biblical scarlet form the Woman of Babylon that she represented not the virtues of Christ.
We cannot escape the influence of the color red no matter what the descriptive name is: Scarlet, Cherry, Vermilion, or Fire Engine, all rouse that distinctive image of red. Red is in our history and our culture from Little Red Riding Hood to Dorothy’s ruby red slippers. So whether you are wearing your cozy flannel PJ’s or a sequined New Year’s outfit, be brave, be passionate and feel the warmth. This is the season to be ready in red energy.
Research and reference information: The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair, Color A Naturel History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay, The power of Color by Dr. Morton Walker, Fashion and Color by Mary Garthe