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A measure for Christmas spirit

Peter Clarke (Department of Marketing, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 30 January 2007




The purpose of this research is to show that Christmas spirit is often given as a reason or excuse for the goodwill, generosity and altruism associated with the celebration of Christmas. Despite the influence of the occasion on cultural, financial and economic issues, there has been no specific empirical attention toward the structure or measurement of the concept of Christmas spirit. Research into this popular topic is important, timely and has universal appeal.


Defining the structure of Christmas spirit drew upon previous academic research about feelings and evaluations. This research employed a process of exploratory factor analysis, correlations, a confirmatory analysis and path analysis that combined the associated constructs. The required information was gathered via a self‐administered survey method where the respondents fell within a sample frame of a parent with at least one child between the ages of three and eight years. A questionnaire package containing two instruments (each of 70 questions), instructions and a self‐addressed return envelope was delivered to five participating schools and seven kindergartens for children to take home to their parents. As a result, 450 acceptable cases were available for analysis.


Overall, the singular finding confirmed that the multi‐dimensional feelings‐evaluation model, as outlined in this study, is a valid measurement of Christmas spirit.

Practical implications

Future research that incorporates this measure has implications for consumer behaviour theory and the motivation toward Christmas festivities. The findings have consequences for content and themes of advertising, and the scope of brand promotion by owners, promoters and retailers of brands and the associated business activity.


Christmas celebrations are a complex amalgam of motives, strategies, attitudes, rituals, behaviours and relationships. Christmas spirit is an important topic of deep interest to consumer behaviour researchers; being an often‐used, but ambiguous term there is a need for theoretical clarification. Therefore, it is timely to explore and develop behavioural theory related to the celebration because of the festivity's economic and social impacts on society.



Clarke, P. (2007), "A measure for Christmas spirit", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 8-17.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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