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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 9 December 2021

Ann-Marie Kennedy, Martin K.J. Waiguny and Maree Alice Lockie

This paper seeks to explore the functions of Christmas mythemes for children’s consumption culture development. In addition, the purpose of this study is to provide an…

517

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore the functions of Christmas mythemes for children’s consumption culture development. In addition, the purpose of this study is to provide an insight on the development of Central European Children into customers and how mythemes are associated with the wishing behaviour.

Design/methodology/approach

Levi-Strauss’ (1955) structural analysis was used to uncover the mythemes of the Christmas story for Austrian children. These mythemes then informed a thematic analysis of 283 Austrian children’s Christmas letters. Campbell’s (1970) functions of myths were used to reflect on the findings.

Findings

The Christmas mythemes uncovered were found to encourage materialism by linking self-enhancement (good acquirement) with self-transcendent (good behaviour) values. The role of myths to relieve the tension between the incongruent values of collective/other-oriented and materialistic values is expanded upon. Such sanctification of selfish good acquisition is aided by the mythemes related especially to the Christkind and baby Jesus. Instead, marketers should use Christmas mythemes which emphasise family and collective/other-centred values.

Originality/value

By first uncovering the “mythemes” related to Christmas, the authors contribute to the academic understanding of Christmas, going beyond origin or single myth understandings and acknowledging the multifaceted components of Christmas. The second contribution is in exploring mytheme’s representation in children’s Christmas letters and reflecting on their functions. This differs from previous literature because it looks at one of the main cultural vehicles for Christmas socialisation and its intersection with the mythemes that feed children’s consumption culture formation. Through the authors’ presentation of a conceptual framework that links mytheme functions with proximal processes using a socioecological viewpoint, the authors demonstrate the guidance of mythemes in children’s development. The third contribution is a reflection on the potential ethical implications for children’s formation of their consumer culture based on the functions of the mythemes. Furthermore, the authors add to the existing body of research by investigating a Central European context.

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2021

Mitchell R. Davis

Despite an ever-diversifying student population, it is still commonplace for US public schools to present Christmas concerts. These concerts can force minority students to…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite an ever-diversifying student population, it is still commonplace for US public schools to present Christmas concerts. These concerts can force minority students to choose between their own religious convictions and school participation. For some students, participation in public-school Christmas concerts can damage their personal identity and assimilate them into ways of being that are not their own. This study aims to test a method for teaching preservice teachers to empathize with minority students.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the framework of action research, the study followed a one-group pretest-posttest design. Participants (N = 19), all of whom identified as some kind of Christian, were asked to perform a concert featuring Satanic Worship prayers and a children’s Christmas song. This intervention was meant to induce empathy for religious minority students who feel uncomfortable performing Christmas songs because they are antithetical to their own faiths. Participants’ perceptions of public-school Christmas music performance was measured before and after the intervention.

Findings

The intervention effectively increased empathy for minority students. As a result, participants expressed altered teaching philosophies that were inclusive of religious minority perspectives.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates the effectiveness of empathy-fostering interventions as tools for teaching teachers to work with diverse student populations. The intervention tested in this study is of the researcher’s original design.

Details

Journal for Multicultural Education, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-535X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 January 2007

Peter Clarke

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…

7031

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 September 2011

Mehmet Haluk Köksal

The purpose of the study is to examine the personal, situational and socio‐demographic factors influencing consumer information search strategies whilst Christmas shopping…

2337

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to examine the personal, situational and socio‐demographic factors influencing consumer information search strategies whilst Christmas shopping in a religiously‐diverse Middle Eastern country: Lebanon.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured questionnaire (adopted from Laroche, Saad, Browne, Cleveland, and Kim) was employed as the data collection procedure. Respondents were chosen by systematic random sampling in malls, department stores and retail outlets in the Lebanese capital, Beirut for over a three‐week period immediately prior to Christmas Day, 25 December 2008. The study sample comprised 400 respondents: 188 female and 212 male.

Findings

The study identified the effects of some personal and situational factors on the different consumer information search strategies. Of the personal factors, it was found that the bargain hunters sought general and specific information as well as information from sales staff, whilst the leader type looked for general and specific information. The study also determined that risky and costly gifts, strict budgets and the amount of money spent on gifts were the main situational factors influencing each type of consumer information search.

Originality/value

Most of the literature has focused on Christmas shopping in Western countries, yet this study attempts to investigate it in the Middle East. It is hoped that by enhancing the understanding of the impact of Christmas shopping in non‐Western countries the findings will contribute to the literature on this subject.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 39 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 September 2018

Janie Hubbard, Adam Caldwell, Paige Moses Bahr, Ben Reed, Kristen Slade Watts and Broolyn Mims Wood

The purpose of this paper is to explore a true World War One event, the Christmas Truce of 1914. The paper is inspired by the National Council for the Social Studies…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore a true World War One event, the Christmas Truce of 1914. The paper is inspired by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) award winning book, Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix, which narrates the truce through a fictitious letter from a British soldier. On Christmas Eve, German soldiers on the western front line, specifically near the Belgium border, ceased fire and invited British soldiers to celebrate Christmas. Descriptions of events derive from oral histories and photos collected from actual soldiers who experienced this unusual historic event.

Design/methodology/approach

This lesson engages students in inquiry centers focused on events, location, soldiers, remembrance, and primary sources to answer the question: Why did the First World War Christmas Truce of 1914 occur?

Practical implications

World War One (AKA the First World War and The Great War) classroom history studies typically focus on tragic components of, what many call, a needless war. Many lessons examine military technologies, political power struggles, horrors of trench warfare, disease and casualties. In essence, “World War I saw unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction. By the time the war was over and the Allied Powers claimed victory, more than 16 million people – soldiers and civilians alike – were dead” (history.com Staff, 2009). This lesson reveals a spontaneous, impactful, emotionally charged event occurring during the worst of times. The Christmas Truce of 1914 moves students from thinking about the ravages of war into thinking deeply about what it truly means to be enemies, friends or even to mend relationships. Who are soldiers – what do they feel, need, believe and miss? During the truce, the longing for peace and human interaction superseded political ideologies, for a while. This lesson starts with students participating in a class discussion to uncover prior knowledge of the famous event. Students examine their real-life feelings regarding personal truces, answer guiding questions while rotating through classroom research centers, and collectively create a generalized response to answer the compelling question: Why did the First World War Truce of 1914 occur? Students will apply their understandings of the event, location, and feelings associated with the truce by taking a soldier’s persona and writing a letter home. Illustrations and maps further engage students’ creativity.

Social implications

This true story about the Christmas Truce of 1914 reminds us that countries may have differing ideologies and political beliefs which cause conflicts, yet people, as individuals, find commonalities making them seek peaceful connections with one another.

Originality/value

“The soldiers of 1914 remind us of the choice we all can make: we can see others as humans who matter like we matter – even when they’re our enemies. They also show us what can happen when we make that choice: enemies can become friends and, at least for a moment, there is peace” (Arbinger Institute, 2017, Section 3). This quote embodies the lesson’s value, because it brings understanding to a personal level – soldiers on the field. First World War soldiers were typically powerless. For instance, as many as 250,000 boys under the age of 18 served in the British army during the First World War. Patriotic fervor, escape from poor conditions or hopes for adventure were motives for joining. Birth certificates were uncommon; war recruiters received money for each sign-on, so boys as young as 14 went to war. In this lesson, students examine First World War background information; analyze the truce’s events, geography, soldiers and memorials. Students are immersed in large numbers of resources including videos, music, photographs, maps, books, articles, newspapers, historians’ perspectives, oral histories, museum archives and the First World War soldiers’ original letters that help reveal the story and help students understand underlying feelings of soldiers and their families.

Details

Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1933-5415

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 September 2020

István O. Egresi, Bianca Sorina Răcăşan, Stefan Dezsi, Marin Ilieş and Gabriela Ilieş

Christmas markets have more recently become important tourist attractions in Europe. The purpose of this study is to understand how does this recurring event impact local…

Abstract

Purpose

Christmas markets have more recently become important tourist attractions in Europe. The purpose of this study is to understand how does this recurring event impact local businesses and residents. The research focuses on the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used both quantitative and qualitative methods. First, a survey was conducted with local residents to evaluate the impact of the Christmas market on the local community. Residents’ perception of social impacts was ascertained by using a five-point Likert scale. The data collected was then processed using the SPSS software. Second, to assess the impact of the Christmas market on the businesses located in the city’s historic central square, semi-structured interviews with managers and front-line employees were conducted. In total, 21 people were interviewed for this study. The interviews were then transcribed, and the content analysis was applied to the textual data.

Findings

The study found that both residents and local businesses have a positive attitude toward the Christmas market. The only negative impact, identified by a segment of the population and some companies, was crowding of public spaces (including parking problems and traffic jams).

Originality/value

This study is novel in that, with one exception, there are no studies on the community impacts of Christmas markets. Moreover, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study on Christmas markets in Romania and one of the very few in Eastern Europe.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 September 2008

Peter Clarke

An important part of the Christmas ritual is the request tradition. Parents ask their children what they would like for Christmas, respond to a child's request or often…

2909

Abstract

Purpose

An important part of the Christmas ritual is the request tradition. Parents ask their children what they would like for Christmas, respond to a child's request or often initiate such Christmas communication exchanges. These styles of family communication relate to the socialization of children into consumption and Christmas. This exploratory study aims to consider aspects of parental approaches to their children's request behavior within the Family Communication Patterns (FCP) typology.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were gathered via a survey of parents in the period prior to Christmas supported the factor structure of the FCP typology via Exploratory Factor Analysis and Confirmatory Factor Analysis.

Findings

It appears that parents encourage a positive exchange of desire and opinion from children; they also question the sources of information and suitability of the gift. In this manner, parents appear to condone, if not generate, an atmosphere of open request behavior because the limiting of gift requests through direct parental instruction is minimal.

Practical implications

Continual adaptation of the FCP typology from the original context has implications for consumer behavior theory at a factor analysis level. Parental responses to Christmas request behavior are an important topic of interest to consumer behavior researchers, the toy industry, retailers and business in general.

Originality/value

This research explores contemporary issues of parental interactions with their children during the gift request ritual. It is timely to explore theory related to this topic because much of the rhetoric around Christmas accentuates the pester power syndrome. Yet, Christmas symbolizes love, family and nurture where parental values engender request behavior and children's desires generate the requests. The findings have consequences for consumer advocates and social commentators, as well as providing cultural and ritual interpretations within parent‐child interactions.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 25 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 June 2013

Lynne Freeman and Susan Bell

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the editorial content of monthly women's magazines and consider their role in facilitating the Christmas food rituals. Of…

1504

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the editorial content of monthly women's magazines and consider their role in facilitating the Christmas food rituals. Of particular interest is the extent to which the special food features have adapted to support the changes in women's lifestyles over the last 20 years.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a longitudinal social semiotic analysis of Christmas food features in women's magazines in Australia and the UK over the period 1991‐2011.

Findings

The analysis reveals a recurring conflict between the magazine content and the lifestyles of their readers. For families to participate in and maintain the Christmas ritual still means devotion, typically by a woman. The message has not changed, even though the work/home balance for many women has. The responsibility for putting the “magic” in Christmas lies firmly at the woman's feet. The magazines' text convey a contradictory message by offering readers budget and timesaving tips, while their visuals imply that such “shortcuts” stand in the way of the sought‐after magical Christmas, the rituals must be followed in full.

Research limitations/implications

Adopting a longitudinal social semiotic analysis enabled the authors to conduct a detailed comparison of both text and imagery across the magazines and across the years. The authors were also able to report on how the sign complexes such as colour and text worked in combination to create a social message.

Originality/value

Whilst women's magazines remain an important vehicle for the transmission of social values, the paper's findings demonstrate that they are not necessarily adapting to social change.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 September 2010

Peter Clarke and Andrew McAuley

Parents' exposure to children's brands appears rather limited; while brands sell at Christmas, there are extraordinary purchases of low‐cost toys and stocking filler fun…

2589

Abstract

Purpose

Parents' exposure to children's brands appears rather limited; while brands sell at Christmas, there are extraordinary purchases of low‐cost toys and stocking filler fun toys. Maybe, toy brand purchases satisfy the child's request, rather than parents' value or quality preferences. Generally, the theories of branding feature the positive functional, symbolic and emotional attributes. This paper aims to examines parental evaluation of popular brand names to be given as gifts at Christmas and the sources used to gather information about brands.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were gathered via a survey of parents in the period prior to Christmas. The analysis consisted of a principal component analysis of the functional, symbolic and emotional evaluations. A frequency analysis and a gender‐based crosstabs series identified gender variations in the evaluations and use of information sources.

Findings

The study indicated that parents hold low evaluations of popular brands when buying Christmas gifts for their children. These low evaluations are across functional, symbolic and hedonic elements. Since mothers generally attend to the gift purchase decisions, there were significant gender differences on a few evaluations. The most popular source of information is asking children what they want and is closely followed by the use of store catalogues.

Practical implications

The evaluation and purchase of toys and gifts predominate at Christmas. Having such a high level of product or brand choice in the children's market could create confusion or uncertainty for parents. A negative image of children's exposure to toy advertising and the resultant pester power may combine to cloud parents' evaluations of giving brands as gifts. In essence, Christmas is the major chance for brand owners to sell their toys and other products. The idea of “… ask mom to get one … ” may be appropriate in high turnover, supermarket products, but not effective in a one‐chance, Christmas gift situation.

Originality/value

This research spans the value sets of two generations. Simply, the promotion of toys is primarily directed toward children who develop desires, expectations and values that are different from those values and attitudes of parents. Research into parental Christmas giving ascertains the value of children's brands to parents.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 27 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1968

Bryan Lowes, John Turner and Gordan Wills

Evaluates current evidence on contemporary gift giving, drawing some tentative marketing conclusions. Draws evidence from surveys carried out in Bradford, UK and those…

Abstract

Evaluates current evidence on contemporary gift giving, drawing some tentative marketing conclusions. Draws evidence from surveys carried out in Bradford, UK and those carried out by Gallup and the National Opinion Polls on Christmas shopping. Looks at the role of gift giving in society while interpreting data and drawing marketing conclusions and contrasting with primitive societies.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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