For most American retailers, the holiday shopping season ends on December 24th – Christmas Eve. But the fact is… it doesn’t have to.

Savvy retailers – those in tune with the Hispanic community and its traditions – will extend the shopping season through January 6th – Three Kings Day (El Día de los Reyes). Three Kings Day is a Christian celebration in honor of the three wise men who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Three Kings Day and Hispanic Traditions

Three Kings Day marks the end of a long period of celebration in the Hispanic community called Maratón Lupe-Reyes, a string of holiday celebrations that kicks off December 12th and ends January 6th. As a retailer (or their ad agency), why should you care about this? Simple… because it means two more weeks of shopping for Hispanic consumers.

The tradition goes like this: In the days preceding Three Kings Day, children write letters to the Magi requesting a toy or gift that they would like. On the night of January 5th, the figures of the Wise Men are placed in the family’s nativity scene. Children traditionally leave out their shoes with a bit of hay in them to feed the animals of the Magi (most often, camels). When the children wake up in the morning, their gifts will have appeared in the place of the hay.

These traditions are also supported by the results of a recent Omnibus Plus+ study across the United States:

  • 50% of Hispanics said they celebrate Three Kings Day; that’s even higher in the Spanish-speaking households (74%) and among the less-acculturated Hispanics (81%).
  • 38% of Hispanics buy gifts specifically to celebrate this holiday and 49% plan on serving special foods that day.

Three Kings’ Day Could Be a Celebration for Brands Too!

Brand managers at large consumer-focused companies that target the Hispanic community are taking advantage of this additional holiday shopping time to truly connect with Hispanic consumers:

  • For the second year in a row, Disney will be celebrating 3 Kings Day at Disneyland Park. Festivities include music, costumes, parades and arts & crafts.

Three Kings Day at Disneyland

  • Mattel Toys has launched a new advertising campaign targeted to Latina mothers called “Toy Feliz” or “Toy Happy” in English, a play on the Spanish phrase “Estoy feliz” or “I’m happy.”

Three Kings Day Mattel

  • Toy retailer, Toys R Us, supports and promotes the holiday with banners on their website:

Three Kings Day ToysRUs

  • In addition to having 3 Kings Day displays at more than 300 of their stores, Wal-Mart is also sponsoring the visit of three “real” kings at stores throughout the Southwest.

Three Kings Day Walmart

  • Online retailer, Zazzle.com, makes 3 Kings Day greeting cards available:

Three Kings Day Zazzle

Three Kings Day Recommendations for Retailers:

  • Toy companies, toy retailers, grocers, specialty food stores and their ad agencies need to pay attention to Three Kings Day… it represents not only an important day of celebration to the Hispanic community, it can extend the holiday shopping timeframe by almost two weeks.
  • By helping Hispanic consumers celebrate Three Kings Day, you’re showing that you know and appreciate their customs and traditions. But remember… be sensitive to language and cultural nuances… don’t create your campaigns and communications in English and then just translate them into Spanish – create them from scratch by listening to your Hispanic audience through research.

Happy Holidays! And don’t forget to feed the camels…

Three Kings Camel