There’s Something Weird About the Kardashians’ Holiday Campaign

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty/Photo: Kris Jenner/Instagram
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty/Photo: Kris Jenner/Instagram

Just the other day, I saw a Facebook status update of mine from 12 years ago, in which I simply had to notify my 300 friends of the fact that I was defiantly listening to Christmas music in September. Before you start in on me, I know: Talking about a Facebook status is a beyond-cringe way to begin our time together for the next few minutes, but transparency is paramount to journalistic integrity. And I take my job seriously!

What, did you think I was going to apologize for indulging in a little Christmas festivity well before everyone else? Not a chance. In the great debate of How Soon Is Too Soon for Christmas Music, I’ve always stood firmly outside the entire argument. Pre-Thanksgiving or post-Thanksgiving means nothing to me. Turkey Day isn’t even in the equation; the only cornucopia I’m interested in is the horn-o’-plenty of holiday music selections I can shuffle between before Halloween has even passed.

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But even I know there’s a line. Start your celebration too early, and you run the risk of burning out before the stockings can be hung by the chimney with care. I dip in and out of the holiday vibe all through autumn—10 minutes of Ella Fitzgerald’s holiday album and some evergreen essential oils to get my fix. It’s a delicate art form, one that I’ve been unable to monetize. But not without trying!

I guess I’m just not as clever as those pesky Kardashians. Despite taking Kris Jenner’s class on MasterClass (which I have been asked to refer to in those exact terms by the powers that be), I do not have a holiday season side hustle intact. The Kardashian-Jenner family, however, has successfully turned their love of the holidays into an entire brand extension.

For the second year in a row, our American monarchy has partnered with children’s clothing brand The Children’s Place for their holiday pajama campaign, entitled, “Koziest Krismas.” I am by no means religious—my love of Christmas is tied solely to the aesthetic merriment—but the look of those massacred, brand-loyal spelling of those words together feels downright blasphemous. Yet, the Kardashians have got their Christmas cash, their festive funds, and their yuletide yields, and their flaunting of them is far worse than me being acne-free and internationally beloved at 16, listening to some holiday music a smidge too early for everyone else.

For starters, one thing most people don’t realize is that Christmas is all about letting your guard down, shedding your fear of other people’s preconceived notions, and just coming together to celebrate life, love, and the pursuit of eggnog. (Or whatever they said in the Constitution.) Kris Jenner and Khloé Kardashian have abandoned the reason for the season in favor of having their faces (and possibly their entire heads) photoshopped into these campaign stills.

Zoom into this still, and you’ll find that something looks alarmingly amiss with the placement of Kris Jenner’s visage upon “Kris Jenner’s” neck. It’s far too forward-facing, with the neck bent just enough to make everything suspicious. This is like one of those optical illusion photos where you initially see a vase, but if you look hard enough, it’s two people kissing. Except instead of that, it’s a photo of Kris Jenner’s face pasted on the body of an android with human-like skin, propped up next to Khloé while the real Kris was on a conference call.

To be fair, they don’t all look so blatantly retouched. But they shouldn’t be retouched in the first place! What charm is there in dusting off an old VHS tape from 1995, popping it into a decrepit tape player, and watching a family look gorgeous and beautiful, with not one eyelash out of place on Christmas morning? The charm of the holiday season comes from bringing our imperfections together and celebrating them, not digitally retouching our gaze a little less hollow. Wouldn’t it be more appealing to market a collection with an unaltered, fun look at Kardashian-Jenner family life, even if it was shot in the middle of summer? That would make me want the pajamas. What can I say? I’m easily bought.

What’s even more perplexing to me is why Kris Jenner posted about the collaboration just once, two weeks ago, while Khloé’s feed is completely devoid of any sign of merriment. I know the per-post fee must be astronomical, but surely if The Children’s Place could hire them for the campaign (or, at least, license their image), they could make sure that both Khloé and Kris use their combined 324 million followers to drum up a little business. Seeing one yuletide-patterned post amidst the wall of beige, gray, and black that dominates the family’s feed is just bloodcurdling.

No less haunting is the collection—sorry, Kollection—itself. I’m an aficionado, so believe me, I know that Christmas clothes are nothing but a gimmick designed to be worn a few times and then thrown in a landfill. It pains me to say that, but it’s true. Still, these might be some of the worst I’ve ever seen—and I was once an Old Navy sales associate who got bulldozed for $1 patterned cozy socks on Black Friday.

I am perturbed by the idea of a family of white people wearing matching shirts that say “Christmas with My Gnomies” for their family Christmas cards. Aside from the obvious reasons, gnomes also are not a Christmas staple. If a corporation simply had to co-opt and appropriate language, a family of snowpeople is the obvious choice here. Hello! “Christmas with My Snowmies?” It writes itself.

Another shirt simply reads, “We are family. 2022.” I get it, but if you read it more literally, it makes New Year’s Eve a bit more ominous. But the one that’s most irksome is a shirt that reads like an old-fashioned Buzzfeed listicle. “DASHER, DANCER, PRANCER, SANTA, PRESENTS, STOCKINGS, RUDOLPH.” I don’t seem to remember those being the words to the song, and I don’t know if the classics necessarily warrant a remix.

The entire campaign confounds me. But at the end of the day, when the last flames are flickering on the wooden-wick, Douglas Fir-scented candle I paid $8 for (that’s certainly poisoning me with enough chemicals to fill a candy cane factory), I’ll still know in my heart that my inability to figure out how to profit off Christmas will mean that I’m ultimately enjoying it more. There’s a difference between immersing yourself in the joys of the holiday season early because you crave the joy it brings you and doing it because you want the cash. I’m happy to be the former, and I refuse to let anyone tell me I can’t have my yuletide joy long before a single flake of snow has fallen.

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