- The “Vlogmas” Christmas video tradition 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 examining trends and coming up with challenges.
Vlogmas, the long-standing and lucrative YouTube tradition in which creators release daily festivity-filled videos from December through Christmas Day, is getting the YouTube Shorts treatment this year, with hundreds of creators taking part in a revamped trend called #Shortsmas.
Vlogmas was invented in 2011 by retired beauty vlogger Ingrid Nilsen, she told Refinery29 in 2017, conceived as a kind of digital advent calendar. Nilsen’s daily videos featured festive theme songs and hosed down Christmas shopping and decorating-related content.
As an end-of-year sprint that drives hyper-engagement, Vlogmas has also historically served as a way for creators to take advantage of the high ad rates that tend to peak during the holiday shopping season.
While Vlogmas features lengthy, everyday-style videos, Shortsmas capitalizes on YouTube Shorts, the video giant’s answer to TikTok, which can be up to sixty seconds long.
Shortsmas is entirely the invention of YouTube itself, with the video giant seeding the hashtag through its Community of short film creators—an internal resource group that shares growth trends and tips with up-and-coming creators through weekly emails, virtual webinars, and IRL networking events.
A separate group was formed specifically for Shortsmas contestants, said maternity vlogger Kallie Branciforte, who has 991,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel. but first coffee. That group comprises approximately 300 participants who have committed to posting Shorts every day in December. Currently, there are 3,400 videos from 760 channels promoting the #Shortsmas hashtag, though not all refer to the 31-day effort.
YouTube hosts calls with Shortsmas participants on Mondays and Fridays, Branciforte said, sharing trends and encouraging participants with different challenges: showing their unwanted christmas giftsfor example, or narrate the transformations of the decoration of the room.
The challenge videos submitted by YouTube staff, which are not required, have the hashtag #ShortsmasChallenge and are set to “All I want for Christmas is you,” Branciforte said, and Mariah Carey christened the season with his own short on December 1.
“Posting thirty-one Shorts felt so much more achievable”
While there are no explicit financial incentives to participate in Shortsmas (though participants do get a Shorts-branded pillow, fashion and lifestyle vlogger said tanisha cherry), Shortsmas allows creators to ride the wave of YouTube’s fastest growing format, which represents 30 billion daily visits. (YouTube will start sharing ad revenue with the creators of Shorts next year).
“The shorts definitely allow me to get in front of people who might not be watching my long version,” Branciforte said. “I had a short go viral in August and I had double the number of subscribers that month than I normally would.”
Shortsmas also marks a more viable workload than its long-form predecessor, said Austen Tosone, who provides advice for aspiring creators to 12,000 subscribers, and who made Vlogmas on 2018. While that was a grueling endeavor, Tosone said, he pre-shot all of his Shortsmas clips this year and has received more than 1,000 views on each post thus far.
“Publishing thirty-one shorts felt a lot more achievable,” Tosone said. “The only year I did the twenty-four days, I thought, I don’t think I can do this again.”
In the midst of something of an arms race for short-form content between the major platforms, Tosone said the hands-on approach of YouTube’s community of short-form creators feels like something of a welcome anomaly: “It’s nice to know there’s a real human being that I can contact”. if there’s ever a problem,” she said, “unlike Instagram.”
This isn’t the first time that Vlogmas has been done in an abbreviated medium or off the shores of YouTube. In 2019, shane dawson He said that he would post Vlogmas on his Instagram Stories and Snapchat. And many TikTokers this year are participating in the more or less analogous #Tokmas. There are 8.8 million videos associated with that hashtag, though again, not all of them refer to a daily task.
Those who try Shortsmas are free to reuse their Shorts on other platforms, participants said. And Cherry, who is more active on TikTok and has only 400 subscribers on her YouTube channel, sees it as a way to boost her channel after a months-long hiatus.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that people actually consume more Shorts than they realize,” said Cherry, who tried out Vlogmas in 2021 but quit halfway through. “So it’s a really good time to start pushing that organic content.”