A comprehensive list of emojis used at Christmas time, where they come from, and most importantly: how much cheer they spread on each platform.

Both β›„ Winter and πŸŽ… Christmas are well represented on the emoji keyboard. But have you taken a closer look at some of these emojis? I have. Covered in this article are the following:

πŸŽ… 🀢 πŸŽ„ 🦌 🎁 β›„ πŸ‘Ό

Of course there are many more emojis used around Christmas time than just these (see the full Christmas emoji list here), but we have presents to buy or out-of-office auto-responses to write. So let's get on with it.

πŸŽ… Santa Claus

πŸŽ… Santa Claus has a varied appearance between platforms:

Above: πŸŽ… Santa Claus emoji across multiple platforms.

Some points to note on the πŸŽ… Santa Claus Emoji:

  • πŸŽ… Santa has existed in the Unicode Standard since 2010, and works on all major platforms today.
  • The code point for this emoji is πŸŽ… U+1F385 FATHER CHRISTMAS which is due to Unicode using British English for most character names.
  • If you don't have access to an emoji keyboard, you can copy and paste the Santa emoji from here: πŸŽ…
  • The localized name for this emoji today is β€œπŸŽ… Santa Claus”, which has a different origin to Father Christmas; but has effectively merged to become the same jolly figure known internationally today:

Santa's appearance has evolved on various platforms over the years, but all have kept to the modern look of a large man with a white beard and red hat.

In 2012 a ticket was filed in Google's Android bug tracker titled β€œSanta Emoji is sad, when Santa should be jolly”, referring to the slight frown that adorned Santa's face at the time.

Above: A ticket identifying a frowning Santa on Android in 2012.

The frowning Santa β€œruining Christmas” remained in the color version to be released on Android the next year, and gained a small smile the year after when an entry in the ticket tracker October 2014 quietly noted:

Marked as fixed.
Above: Google's Santa emoji stopped "ruining Christmas" in 2014.

Less obvious in this picture is that in 2013, Android's brand color palette didn't permit the color red to be used in any emoji. As such, Santa has an orange hat, which became red in 2014.

Other emojis that weren't allowed to be red on Android in 2013 were the ❀️ Red Heart (pink), 🌹 Rose (orange), πŸ“ Strawberry (orange), 🍎 Red Apple (orange), Β πŸš’ Fire Engine (orange), and πŸ”΄ Red Circle (also orange).

Elsewhere, Apple's version of this emoji gained a 3D-rendered redesign in 2016 as part of a complete overhaul of Apple's emoji set in detailed high resolution.

Above: Apple's Santa over the years.x

And no, Santa didn't get jaundice in 2015 - this is the year skin tones were added to the Unicode Standard, resulting in most vendors making the default optionβ€”when no skin tone is chosenβ€”yellow, similar to the other non-human smileys.

Apple is the only vendor to also give Santa a yellow beard when no skin tone is chosen. Originally hedged as a lighter-yellow, hinting at white, the current version has a distinctly yellow shade, including Santa's eyebrows.

While the yellow looks pretty odd out of context, this does better differentiate the default skin tone compared to any of the pale skin tones which look a realistic human shade.

Above: Santa gained support for skin tones in 2015, shown here on the 2018 iOS emoji keyboard.

Throughout 2018 Facebook has been revising and adding detail to its emoji set, resulting in possibly the most welcoming Santa of the bunch.

Efforts in 2016 to brand Messenger separately from Facebook, with even its own emoji set, have fallen by the wayside and the similarly jolly Messenger Santa is no longer in public use.

Above: Santa Claus on Facebook 2014β€”2018.

Microsoft has two fonts which include emojis β€” Segoe UI Symbol (a black and white font) and Segoe UI Emoji (a color emoji font).

Over time the color emoji font diverged from the original font, though both come included on Windows today. As of the Windows 10 β€œAnniversary Update” in 2016, all emojis have a thick stroke outline, in keeping with the look of modern Windows. Santa is no exception

Above: Santa has kept the same appearance on Windows since 2016.

🀢 Mrs. Claus

No one wants a lonely Santa, and as such, we should be pleased that he found a life partner in 🀢 Mrs. Claus.

Shown on most platforms as an older woman with white or gray hair, glasses, and a red Christmas bonnet, Mrs. Claus sees less frequent use on social media than her spotlight-stealing husband.

Above: 🀢 Mrs. Claus emoji across multiple platforms.

Some points to note on the 🀢 Mrs. Claus Emoji:

  • Mrs. Claus has existed as an emoji in the Unicode Standard since 2016 (six years after Santa), and works on all major platforms today.
  • If you don't have access to an emoji keyboard, you can copy and paste the Mrs. Claus emoji from here: 🀢
  • The code point for this emoji is 🀢 U+1F936 MOTHER CHRISTMAS: a name that appears to be for consistency with FATHER CHRISTMAS, but doesn't seem to have any precedent prior to the emoji.
  • The term Mother Christmas was first outlined in a working document prepared for the Unicode Technical Committee in January 2015 β€” an early attempt to add β€œgender pairs” to many emoji characters.
  • The concept of Mrs. Claus does not originate with Unicode. The name Mother Christmas is difficult to find prior to 2015, but can be found in this 1988 poem from Roald Dahl.
  • Santa's wife was apparently first mentioned over 150 years ago using the term β€œMrs. Claus”.
  • The localized name for this emoji today is 🀢 Mrs. Claus, which pairs nicely with localized name for Santa Claus.

πŸŽ„ Christmas Tree

An evergreen tree decorated with lights, tinsel, or other colorful items.

Above: πŸŽ„ Christmas Tree emoji across multiple platforms.

Some points to note on the πŸŽ„ Christmas Tree Emoji:

  • Christmas Tree has existed as an emoji in the Unicode Standard since 2010, and works on all major platforms today.
  • If you don't have access to an emoji keyboard, you can copy and paste the Christmas Tree emoji from here: πŸŽ„
  • The code point for this emoji is πŸŽ„ U+1F384 CHRISTMAS TREE
  • Most platforms use the same design for the 🌲 Evergreen Tree and πŸŽ„ Christmas Tree emojis, with the latter adorned in decorations.

🦌 Deer

What is the difference between a deer and reindeer? I have no idea. What I can tell you is that they look the same in my mind, and at emoji sizes, would be hard to tell the difference. Or would it?

Above: Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?

Some points to note on the 🦌 Deer Emoji:

  • Deer has existed as an emoji in the Unicode Standard since 2016, and works on all major platforms today.
  • If you don't have access to an emoji keyboard, you can copy and paste the Deer emoji from here: 🦌
  • The code point for this emoji is 🦌 U+1F98C DEER

🎁 Wrapped Gift

For some emojis, keeping a consistent emoji appearance between platforms is important to preserve the sentiment each intends to convey. For othersβ€”like this wrapped presentβ€”the style of wrapping paper or type of bow does little to affect how this will be perceived.

As such, here's how this emoji looks on different platforms today:

Above: 🎁 Wrapped Gift emoji across multiple platforms.

WhatsApp's gift appears to be the same sized box as the package emoji. LG, in its now-discontinued emoji set, doubles down on this being a Christmas present with red and green packaging.

Some points to note on the 🎁 Wrapped Gift Emoji:

  • Wrapped Gift has existed as an emoji in the Unicode Standard since 2010, and works on all major platforms today.
  • If you don't have access to an emoji keyboard, you can copy and paste the Deer emoji from here: 🎁
  • The code point for this emoji is 🎁 U+1F381 WRAPPED PRESENT

β›„ Snowman Without Snow

Without snow? What!? Never fear, the snowman itself is made of snow, but there is no snow falling from the air around this emoji.

Above: β›„ Snowman Without Snow emoji across multiple platforms.

Some points to note on the β›„ Snowman Without Snow Emoji:

  • Snowman Without Snow has existed as an emoji in the Unicode Standard since 2009, and works on all major platforms today.
  • This character pre-dates Unicode emoji support by one year.
  • Years earlier, a fez-wearing Snowman character was part of Unicode 1.1 (1993). This character was given emoji status in 2015.
  • If you don't have access to an emoji keyboard, you can copy and paste the Snowman Without Snow emoji from here: β›„
  • The code point for this emoji is β›„ U+26C4 SNOWMAN WITHOUT SNOW
Above: β˜ƒ Snowman existed as a Unicode character long before β›„ Snowman Without Snow.

In recent years, most platforms have moved from an unadorned head or a fez to a design showing the snowman wearing a top hatβ€”something seen in earlier versions from Twitter, Microsoft and Facebook.

Apple also added stones to make a mouth, instead of the previously ambiguous snow cavity of a mouth.

Above: β›„ Snowman Without Snow first appeared as an emoji on iPhone in 2008.

More Christmas Emojis

What exactly constitutes a Christmas emoji varies from person to person. These are some of the most commonly trending emojis on Emojipedia at this time of year, indicating a correlation for many people:

πŸ”₯ πŸ‘Ά 🎢 🌟 ❄️ πŸ”” ⛄️ πŸ‘Ό 🦌 πŸͺ πŸ₯› πŸŽ… 🀢 πŸ§β€ 🎁 β›ͺ πŸ•― Β πŸ‘ͺ ✝️ πŸŽ„ 🍷 🍴 🧦

View the Emojipedia Christmas Emoji list for names and links to learn more about these characters or take a look at our Emojiology series with the recent look at the history behind the πŸ‘Ό Baby Angel emoji.

Or Festivus, if you prefer.

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