Since our article was on the subject of Christmas, it made me think of another Christmas tradition that can be analyzed semiotically. Since my family is Italian, Christmas is a big deal for all the important reasons, but we get picky about certain Christmas traditions. We are very traditional and conventional but there are some things we refuse to do that a lot of other people do. One example that comes to mind is actual Christmas decorations vs. snowmen and other wintery decorations. My mother doesn't necessarily hate snowmen, but she does not like them around Christmas time, frankly neither do I and the reason is because snowmen represent winter, not Christmas.
This snowman, however is not approved. Some people go all out and will put up giant snowmen on display, will have snowman ornaments for Christmas, maybe a sweater with a snowman on it that they wear on Christmas day and have gifts with snowman wrapping paper. But Snowmen really have nothing to do with Christmas. Talking to people about this subject gave me various results. Some people love snowmen around Christmas time, some people hate them, some would say that they only like snowmen if there is actually snow on the ground and it is a white Christmas, but being in new England, you would think that every Christmas would be a white Christmas but lately that has not been the case and it is a rarity that it will actually snow on Christmas. Some people don't mind snowmen regardless and one person told me that they understand that snowmen are more of a winter thing than a Christmas thing but if they have a Christmas feeling to them then its okay. like if they were wearing a Christmas scarf or had a thing of holly on their hat, which is fine, but talking to people who live down south or out west don't particularly care for it because if they get no snow at all, they could care less about snowmen and a lot of people would say that they wouldn't mind a snowman only if it was Frosty because that is considered a Christmas classic. It cannot be Jack Frost or Olaf from Frozen or an abominable snowman.
Santa Claus represents Christmas and decorations and figurines of Santa imply Christmas, whereas snowman, even if they are dressed for Christmas, can be up on display all winter, even after Christmas is over. So in my family, my mother will wait until after Christmas is over and after all the santa claus and other Christmas decorations are put away in storage before she brings out the winter snowman.
Another related topic is the so called "Christmas" songs, like jingle bells and let it snow, also have nothing to do with Christmas and don't mention or imply it, yet they are sung every year as a tradition. Not that there is anything wrong with that but it is something to think about.