The holiday season is in full swing.
Actually, it started on November 1 and at some retail stores, even before that. Halloween decorations and candy hadn’t even been pulled from the shelves yet while garland and tinsel and holiday lights were busy being hung.
Most retail stores have no problem mentioning the word Christmas. It’s all about moving merchandise.
It just doesn’t sound right to say there’ll be lots of presents under the holiday tree. No, the presents go under a Christmas tree so they feel entitled to mention it.
Even car companies manage to get away with saying Christmas, as Santa is a frequent character who loves to give away vehicles for – the holidays? No, Santa comes on Christmas, leaving those shiny Lexus vehicles with the big red bow in the driveway or he drives a Mercedes convertible and encourages those who’ve been naughty or nice to choose red or white.
It’s a bigger deal for many corporations and large companies to publicly deliver a Merry Christmas message. It’s just not politically correct – not when you may have Jewish, Islamic, Hindu or atheist employees or customers among your mix.
It’s a problem that confronts agency and in-house creative departments every fall when they get around to creating the year end Holiday message.
Christmas stockings? Can’t show ’em. Ornaments hanging from a Christmas tree? Uh-uh. What about Santa somehow using your product or service? Even that’s risky.
So the creatives face the task of wishing everyone a generic Happy Holiday message.
Back when I worked on the Enterprise Rent-a-car account we always tried to do something with the e – one year we had an illustration of an ice skater on a pond who had skated the letter e into the ice. Another year we took two candy canes and photoshopped them into the shape of the e on red velvet. My favorite one was a New Yorker style illustration of a snowman driving an enterprise rental in city traffic, drawn from the back of the vehicle. He had his little stick arm hanging out the window to indicate he was making a left turn and his license plate read, ‘frost-e’.
It was a new challenge every year and I face the same kind of challenge where I currently work. This year, we’re celebrating our 150th anniversary so we came up with an e-card that contains ‘150 fun things to do for the holidays’.
And not a single one of those fun things mentions the word Christmas.
As a company, we can’t go there. But as individuals, we certainly can.
In our hallways, there will be plenty of Merry Christmas greetings being exchanged as well as Happy Hannukahs and I’m not sure what else.
But when you’re sending out messaging to a wide variety of people, Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year is what you’re going to get.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
On behalf of me, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.