The tail end of the year is packed with holidays! Many people know about Christmas and Hanukkah, but many other groups, both religious and secular, have celebrations in December. Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Saturnalia, Boxing Day, and the like. Even parody holidays like Festivus and Decemberween have real-world celebrants. But, at least here in the United States, most comics, when they acknowledge the season, refer only to Christmas and maybe Hanukkah on the odd occasion. One of the primary reasons for this is that the creators are trying to play to their largest audience, and it’s easy to default to the holiday or two that are most commonly known. With generations of marketing promoting Christmas as the all-but-official-holiday-of-the-country, the vast majority of people are aware of and can acknowledge it, even if they don’t actually celebrate the holiday personally.
With webcomics, though, there’s a distinct advantage in not playing to a comparatively large audience. The niche appeal of many webcomics inherently limits the audience in the first place, so it’s easier to speak to or address something besides Christmas.
Not that they need to, of course. Plenty of creators do indeed celebrate Christmas themselves, and write those types of references into their strips. Write what you know, and all.
And some creators make up holidays to riff on the inherent goofiness of a lot of Christmas traditions, tweaking them just enough to be recognizable but different enough to make a point about them. Just this week, Scott Kurtz over at PvP started a series about Wintertop, “the happiest day of the year.”
But sometimes a creator just wants their strip to reflect their personal winter-time celebrations, and they write in something about Kwanzaa or whatever they actively celebrate. This can serve to personalize their own strip more, as well as shed some light about the holiday on a crowd who may largely be unfamiliar with it.
The web-reading world isn’t entirely Christian. In fact, being as it’s the world wide web, it’s worth noting that less than a third of the world identify as Christian. Working to a world-wide audience or a very specific niche one means that a creator doesn’t have to follow the trappings of their geographic community’s holiday celebrations, and they can draw whatever holiday(s) they prefer into their webcomic. Through their more personal authenticity, they might even get a larger audience out of it that way.
Regardless, though, of what you and your favorite webcomiker celebrate, happy holidays!