Listening to thought for the day on BBC Radio 2, the speaker spoke about the ban on the celebration of Christmas in 17th century England and how mince pies, which were apparently once shaped like, and the size of, cribs were transformed into the small versions we know and love today, making them easier to hide or dispose of by those who wished to continue to celebrate. An innovative solution to tricky problem.

It got me to thinking about the innovation and creativity that surrounds Christmas even to this day.

Turn on the radio at this time of year or go into any shop and we are inundated with Christmas carols and songs which have been inspired by the celebration of Christmas, such as Wham’s ‘Last Christmas I gave you my heart’ and “All I want for Christmas is you’ (wouldn’t you just love to own the copyright in those songs?). Old favourites are mixed with new offerings as artists vie to be Christmas number one. The “Radio Times” is full of news of the Christmas specials and Christmas themed shows being shown this year and books such as Dr Suess’s ‘Grinch’ and Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ have a resurgence of interest.

Just a cursory look at the patent registers reveals 3446 patent applications published around the world in 2020 where Christmas is mentioned in the title or abstract. Patents whose objects are to enhance or contribute to the celebration of Christmas have been filed since the registers came into existence, including hundreds of different artificial Christmas trees, a Christmas Tree hood ornament holder, decorations to hang on our tree and angels and stars to top them, patents for sleighs, methods for making tinsel, and even a water cooler resembling Santa and a Santa Claus detector (I wonder if he has been detected yet?).

Every year millions of Christmas cards and gifts wrapped in Christmas paper covered in countless Christmas images and Christmas verse are sent around the world. Advent calendars are opened during the Advent period with the chocolate versions of my youth now replaced with everything from cheese or candles to tipples of whisky, stationery, etc, etc.

Secret recipes for mince pies and mulled wine, stuffing and gravy are passed down the family or used to mass produce products for sale to the celebrants all wanting to a taste of those Christmas flavours.

Brands try to harness the goodwill surrounding Christmas by referring to it in their advertising. The John Lewis Christmas advert being eagerly anticipated every year and this year Tesco declaring that there is “No Naughty List”. (Whoo Hoo!)

Of course, possibly the most successful Christmas advertising campaign was for Coca Cola, which effectively changed the way Santa Claus is depicted forever by portraying him as a jolly man with a white beard dressed in their corporate colours, red and white, and using him in Christmas advertising campaigns for decades. Before then Santa had been depicted in a number of different ways including as a small elflike figure and a thin strict figure and had been dressed in many different colours.

Sitting in my living room enjoying a glass of mulled wine with a mince pie while listening to ‘Silent Night’ as it plays in the background, I look at the Christmas tree and all the decorations and lights which adorn it, the Christmas cards on the mantelpiece, with the aroma of cinnamon and cloves coming from a scented candle on the hearth, I am surrounded by result of the innovation and creativity inspired by Christmas. Surely, if necessity is the Mother of invention, Christmas must be its Uncle!

Christmas during a pandemic will certainly be different but, just as in the 17th century in England when the celebration of Christmas was banned, we can come up with innovative and creative ways to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year. Even during World War 1 stories of a cessation of fire and football games between the “enemies” in no man’s land on Christmas day are told, illustrating that Christmas is bigger than the problems which may exist in our world today. I look forward to seeing the results of the innovation and creativity inspired by Christmas in this most unusual of years.

If you are inspired to innovation or creation this Christmas why not contact one of our attorneys to discuss what can be done to protect the resultant product?

We wish you all a very merry, innovative and creative Christmas!

Cherrie Stewart