Holiday Marketing 101:  “Happy Holidays”

As we saw in Marketing 101:  Hold the Reins on Holiday Sending, it is important to think carefully about what you include in your holiday newsletters to ensure email inbox satisfaction amongst readers.  Up next is the tricky topic of how to handle the religions/cultural issues that arise during the holiday season.

Saying the phrase “cultural sensitivity” does one of two things. It makes you think about farces and awkward sitcoms like The Office, or it makes you want to slowly creep away without anybody ever seeing you.  Being politically correct in today’s world is a weird, hard task.  Hence the phrase “happy holidays,” an all-inclusive phrase designed to allow each and every one of us to wish those around us the happy holiday of their choice.  So how PC do you really have to be?

Consider the Benefits ….. of Non-Specific Holiday Greetings
There are many winter holidays, many of which involve people gathering together and celebrating being together and all that we have to be grateful for.  Isn’t that enough, really?  I like to think of it this way:  winter is dark and cold; anything that brings more light into our worlds and bolsters our spirits at the darkest time of the year is a great thing.  Let your readers know that you are thankful for them and wish them happy holidays.  People who are in the holiday spirit will get what you’re saying; the Scrooges out there were never going to be convinced, no matter how inclusive you were. 

Know the Facts
If you’re going to be holiday specific and try to be inclusive, make sure you have all your dates and facts straight.  For example, some years Chanukah falls very close to Christmas but other years it occurs in early December.  It would be rather embarrassing to send out holiday greetings for a holiday that’s already passed.

To Thine Ownself Be True
Whatever your company or personal policy is, be true to that.  It may be that honoring a specific holiday is exactly what your company is all about, and you should feel fine about that - the folks receiving your email newsletters probably already know that about you.  (Personalities are recommended!).  No need to tiptoe around; a more delicate treatment of holiday language is simply helpful for whom the topic wouldn’t normally come up on in the course of business.  As another alternative, you could say nothing but charm your readers with a seasonal winter banner to let them know you’re in the holiday spirit.