T’is the season (almost) so it’s time to get your holiday messaging ready

Image by Rachel Burkum from Pixabay

By Mark G. Auerbach

The autumn leaves haven’t changed yet, but every business is gearing up for the holiday season, and, if your business done so yet, it’s time to get that marketing plan in place. As you fine tune your plans, consider your messaging. It’s been a tough year. We’re still recovering from the pandemic. The supply chain is broken, the economy is as frenetic as the vitriolic election season. Inflation is killing our pocketbooks, and the days are getting shorter.

The holiday season sends lots of mixed messages. Tradition can be comforting, but also unsettling. We’re under the pressure to make the holidays happy, in a cluttered environment.

So, as you craft your company’s holiday message, and put your best feet forward, who do you want that message to reach?

Your audiences

First, and most important this year, your staff. If they’ve shown up for work, produced under tough circumstances, and stayed dedicated, your first message will be to them. Thank them for their service. A large holiday gathering may be pretentious. The best gifts you can give them is a bonus check, or paid time off, and perhaps some extra holidays, paid of course, or ample flex time.

Second, your customer base and clients. If you have a budget, thank them with gift cards to local businesses (especially non-profits, like arts organizations). Otherwise, make a contribution to a local non-profit in their names. Design and eblast a card (which saves money on printing and postage) telling them that this year, in the spirit of giving, you’re giving money to local non-profits that better the community. I’ve been doing this for over a decade. Some years, I merely say, “to several community non-profits in our area who work towards the greater good” and some years, I list the nonprofits.

Third, your vendors. Many have faced staffing and supply chain obstacles, and rising prices. They’re working as hard as you do to maintain “business as usual”. Be sure to thank them and acknowledge their hard work.

Institutional advertising

Should you advertise your “peace and goodwill” in addition to your regular business advertising? This is the time to consider institutional advertising for your business that may have an impact regardless of the time of year. Some businesses choose to underwrite programming on their local public broadcasting services. One reaches a good audience, and according to research, that audience remembers who underwrites the programming they like.

As another option, you could sponsor your local high school newspaper, sports team, concert or play, or a local non-profit arts organization, library, museum, senior center, or PTA. Certainly a local shelter or food bank needs the support. Steer clear of anything political or religious, and make sure that the organization you support is viable and a non-profit. If you want to check a non-profit’s “track record”, Charity Navigator is a good place to start.

If your business produces a product or service, maybe you can contribute that. If you’re a baker, your baked goods, made with local products, will create a smile, or perhaps you want to share a recipe for an item you’re known for. If you provide legal services, accounting, or fundraising, maybe it’s the time to offer some pro-bono work to a local organization.


Timing is everything when you craft your holiday messaging. Thanksgiving is a good time to start. If you wait until Christmas, or the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day, your message may be lost amongst others’ messages or people’s holiday distractions. And remember, many of your customer base or audience may celebrate something other than Christmas, like Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or the other myriad of holidays in the season.

Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn. Mark also produces ArtsBeat in print in The Westfield News, on radio for Pioneer Valley Radio and on TV and radio on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He also produces the TV and radio series On The Mark and Athenaeum Spotlight with Guy McLain.

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