Christmas. Love it or hate it, it’s impossible to ignore and it seems to arrive a little earlier every year. I noticed myself Christmas lights being erected in my hometown a full week before even Halloween. Just a decade ago, this would have seemed ridiculous but, given the turmoil and misery of the last few years, it would appear we all need a little bit more Christmas a little bit sooner right now.
Or do we?
As the crisp November air sets in, it's almost impossible not to feel the anticipation building up for the festive season ahead. But, as the Halloween decorations come down and the shelves start filling with Christmas lights and ornaments, the perennial debate emerges: Is it too early to start talking about Christmas?
As creatives, particularly those of us in the advertising and design world, this question carries added weight as campaigns and projects don’t happen overnight and prior planning needs to start weeks or even months in advance. So, let's explore both sides of the argument and discover why November could be the perfect time to kickstart the Christmas conversation.
Capturing the Spirit of the Season
One of the most compelling reasons to start talking about Christmas in November is the simple opportunity to capture the spirit of the season. Designers and advertisers (the best ones, anyway) are in the business of cultivating emotional connections, and the holiday season is overflowing with emotion. By initiating the conversation early, creative professionals can craft compelling narratives that resonate with their target audiences.
November serves as the ideal canvas for these narratives to unfold. Families begin planning their festivities, retailers announce their holiday promotions, and individuals start dreaming about their cherished traditions. By entering the conversation in November, creative industries can ensure they are part of these early discussions, tapping into the collective anticipation that permeates the atmosphere.
Planning and Preparation
For those working in advertising and design, the lead-up to the holiday season is akin to a high-stakes production. From creating festive ad campaigns to designing holiday-themed packaging and merchandise, meticulous planning and preparation are paramount. Starting in November allows creative professionals to plan their projects, allocate resources, and ensure they have ample time for the design, production, and execution phases.
November is a strategic time to engage with clients and stakeholders. By discussing Christmas early, agencies and businesses can align their visions and goals, ensuring that all creative elements are well-coordinated and on schedule. This early preparation can make a significant difference in the success of holiday campaigns.
In today's hyperconnected world, consumers have come to expect early glimpses of the holiday season. With the rise of online shopping, social media, and the constant flow of information, brands need to be proactive in engaging their audiences. Waiting until December to start discussing Christmas might mean missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with customers.
Consumers are on the lookout for holiday promotions, gift ideas, and festive content as soon as November arrives. Creative industries that delay their holiday-themed campaigns may find themselves playing catch-up in a crowded market. By embracing the early Christmas spirit, they can meet consumer expectations and maintain a competitive edge.
Respect for Tradition
For many people, November marks the beginning of a cherished tradition—the gradual transformation of the world into a winter wonderland. From putting up decorations to enjoying seasonal treats, the anticipation of Christmas is deeply rooted in these traditions. Creative industries can play a role in honouring and enhancing these traditions by starting the conversation early.
By doing so, they contribute to the collective experience of joy and togetherness that defines the holiday season. Creative professionals have the power to inspire, uplift, and evoke nostalgia, and starting the Christmas conversation in November allows them to do just that.
Too Early or Just Right?
Is it too early to start talking about Christmas in November? The answer largely depends on the perspective and how relevant the holiday is to your sector, your brand, or your niche. For many in the creative industries, November is an opportune time to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit.
It allows them to capture the essence of the season, plan meticulously, meet consumer expectations, and respect cherished traditions. Ultimately, by embracing the early arrival of Christmas, creative professionals can create memorable, heartwarming, and impactful experiences for their audiences as long as the creative is genuine.
In fact, that might be the underlying sentiment here; early Christmas creative is fine as long as it makes sense. Shoehorning Christmas into existing creative can yield success (just look at East 17’s “Stay Another Day”) but it can also seem contrived, which is something many have accused John Lewis of feeling in recent years. Putting it out in the first weeks of November is only going to underline the inherent phoniness.
To underline this fact, I’ll be shining a spotlight in the coming weeks on some of the best Christmas activations of this year, exploring why they work and why others don’t. So, watch this space!