You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Merry Shortsmas: YouTube's Vlogmas Christmas tradition is being reimagined this year amid the platform's push of YouTube Shorts

INSIDER 12/6/2022 insider@insider.com (Geoff Weiss,Marta Biino)
Kallie Branciforte's #Shortsmas clips. youtube.com/@butfirstcoffee © Provided by INSIDER Kallie Branciforte's #Shortsmas clips. youtube.com/@butfirstcoffee
  • The holiday video tradition "Vlogmas" was invented by retired beauty guru Ingrid Nilsen. 
  • Hundreds of creators this year are doing #Shortsmas, or 31 consecutive days of YouTube Shorts.
  • The initiative is seeded by YouTube itself, with an internal group surveying trends and prompting challenges.

Vlogmas, the longstanding and lucrative YouTube tradition where creators release daily, holiday-studded videos in December through Christmas Day, is getting the YouTube Shorts treatment this year—with hundreds of creators partaking in a revamped trend called #Shortsmas.

Vlogmas was invented in 2011 by the retired beauty vlogger Ingrid Nilsen, she told Refinery29 in 2017, conceived as a kind of digital advent calendar. Nilsen's daily videos comprised festive theme songs and a firehose of holiday shopping and decor-related content.

As an end-of-year sprint driving hyper-engagement, Vlogmas has also historically served as a way for creators to capitalize on the high ad rates that tend to peak during the holiday shopping season. 

Whereas Vlogmas features lengthy, day-in-the-life style videos, Shortsmas capitalizes on YouTube Shorts—the video giant's answer to TikTok, which can be sixty seconds max. 

Shortsmas is entirely an invention of YouTube itself, with the video giant seeding the hashtag through its Shorts Creator Community—an internal resource group that shares trends and growth hacks with emerging creators through weekly emails, virtual webinars, and IRL networking events.

A separate group has been formed specifically for Shortsmas participants, said motherhood vlogger Kallie Branciforte, who counts 991,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, But First, Coffee. That group comprises roughly 300 participants who have committed to posting Shorts every day in December. Currently, there are 3,400 videos from 760 channels touting the #Shortsmas tag, though not all refer to the 31-day endeavor.

YouTube hosts calls with Shortsmas participants on Mondays and Fridays, Branciforte said, sharing trends and prompting participants with different challenges: to show their unwanted Christmas gifts, for instance, or chronicle room decor transformations. 

The challenge videos laid out by YouTube staff, which are not mandatory, are hashtagged #ShortsmasChallenge and set to "All I Want For Christmas Is You," Branciforte said—with Mariah Carey having christened the season with her very own Short on Dec. 1.

'Posting thirty-one Shorts felt a lot more attainable'

While there aren't explicit financial incentives for partaking in Shortsmas (though participants get a Shorts-branded pillow, said fashion and lifestyle vlogger Tanisha Cherry), Shortsmas allows creators to ride the wave of YouTube's fastest-growing format, which accounts for 30 billion daily views. (YouTube will begin sharing ad revenue with Shorts creators next year).

"Shorts definitely allows me to get in front of people that maybe aren't watching my long form," Branciforte said. "I had a Short that went viral in August and had double the subscribers that month than I would usually get."

Tanisha Cherry's inaugural #Shortsmas post. youtube.com/@tanishacherry © youtube.com/@tanishacherry Tanisha Cherry's inaugural #Shortsmas post. youtube.com/@tanishacherry

Shortsmas also marks a more viable workload than its long-form predecessor, said Austen Tosone, who furnishes advice for aspiring creators to 12,000 subscribers, and who did Vlogmas back in 2018. While that was a depleting endeavor, Tosone said, she has pre-filmed all of her Shortsmas clips this year, and has received upwards of 1,000 views on each post thus far. 

"Posting thirty-one Shorts felt a lot more attainable," Tosone said. "The one year that I did all twenty-four days, I was like, I don't think I could do this again."

Amid a kind of arms race for short-form content between the major platforms, Tosone said the hands-on approach of YouTube's Shorts Creator Community feels like something of a welcome anomaly: "It's nice to know that there's an actual human I can reach out to if there's ever an issue," she said, "unlike Instagram."  

This isn't the first time that Vlogmas has been conducted in an abbreviated medium or off YouTube's shores. In 2019, Shane Dawson said he would post Vlogmas on his Instagram and Snapchat Stories. And many TikTokers this year are partaking in the roughly analogous #Tokmas. There are 8.8 million videos associated with that hashtag – though again, not all refer to a daily undertaking.

Those trying Shortsmas are free to repurpose their Shorts onto other platforms, participants said. And Cherry, who is more active on TikTok and has just 400 subscribers on her YouTube channel, sees it as a way to kickstart her channel after a months-long break.  

"One of things I learned is that people are actually consuming more Shorts than are being created," said Cherry, who tried Vlogmas in 2021 but quit halfway through. "So it's a really great time to start pushing out that organic content."

AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon