• Laura McDonald

Christmas in July: Planning for the Holiday Marketing Season



Jingle bells! Jingle bells! Jingle all the way!


What? Too soon?!


With temperatures topping 90 degrees, thinking about the holidays may seem a little premature. But as business owners, nonprofit leaders and communication professionals, we must always have one eye to the months ahead. Waiting to think about how you will approach the holiday season may leave you rushing to put together a lackluster campaign.


1. Block planning time. Select thirty minutes to an hour of uninterrupted time to focus on your holiday calendar. Future planning can be an easy task to push down your priority list, but not today!

2. Use a calendar to identify important dates. The type of calendar you choose does not matter. Grab a paper planner, pull up your project planning software, or create a google sheet… the important thing is that you are putting your thoughts down in a cohesive manner. When completing your calendar, here are some dates to consider:


Holidays & Days of Note

November 28 Thanksgiving

November 29 Black Friday

November 30 Small Business Saturday

December 2 Cyber Monday

December 3 Giving Tuesday

December 21 Winter Solstice

December 22 Hanukkah Begins

December 24 Christmas Eve

December 25 Christmas Day

December 26 Kwanzaa Begins

December 30 Hanukkah Ends

December 31 New Year’s Eve

January 1 Happy New Year!


Organization Dates

Office Closures

Employee Parties and Gatherings

Open Houses

Client Events You will Attend

Sales and Promotions

Donation Deadlines

Year-End Budgets (final day to spend budgeted dollars)


3. Consider your budget. How much money do you have available to spend on an end-of-year thank you for your clients, customers or donors? How much revenue do you need to generate by the end of the year to reach your quarterly or yearly goals? With these answers in mind, set a budget for your holiday plans.

4. Add your ideas. In upcoming blogs this month, we will talk more specifically about holiday gift and event ideas. If you know you want to send a card or gift, or that you will host an event, add it to your calendar now. You don’t have to dig into the details of each of these, but you should include it on your calendar.

5. Work backward. The magic is in step five. Once you have an idea of what your general holiday calendar looks like, it is time to work backward. The holiday card you want to send out by December 10th, for example, needs to be designed, approved, printed and then signed by your team. When will each of those tasks be accomplished? The event you hope to host will require venue selection, invitation list, invitations, RSVPs and decorations, among other things. By mapping out these needs in advance, you are able to engage your team in the tasks, pull in outside resources as needed, and ensure that you aren’t caught trying to complete 10 weeks of work in a single week.


Set aside a little time brain power now to save yourself holiday stress and angst later. A well-planned calendar helps ease many marketing woes!


P.s. Check back each Friday for another Christmas in July blog post, including more holiday preparation suggestions and checklists.