An Oasis of Giving

December 1, 2004 by

In the world of retail marketing, the day after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday.” Why? It begins the busiest, scariest, nastiest time of the year: the holiday season. In many retail industries, 50% or more of your business gets done between that day and January 2. The poor salespeople get hit a bit worse than us marketing folk, but in the 10 years I was in retail I usually got strep or bronchitis (and one year, pneumonia) from the 60 hour weeks, mad levels of stress, etc. So, for the last few years, one thing I’ve been thankful for in late November is to be out of retail.

Kind of. It certainly was exciting. The same way sky diving can be (so I hear). But it’s nice to be able to relax and watch the shenanigans instead of being chin-deep in the hoopla.

Except, as Christians, the hoopla is kind of offensive. Isn’t it? The “commercialization” of Christmas is an old-school rant, and I don’t need to get into it here. You know the drill: Christmas should be about Christ, not about a new power drill, jewelry, perfume, DVD player, etc. It’s not about Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, the Grinch. It’s about Jesus.

But if Christmas is about the gift that God gave us, can’t it also be about giving to others?

Yes! And your church can market Christmas giving as opposed to Christmas spending as a key way to get people involved with their families, their communities and your church this holiday season. Examples:

Gifts of Family Time
Any church event where families spend time together worshiping, having fun, doing traditional holiday crafts or just being together… what a gift! Market it as a way to give a gift of Christmas time together; future memories in the making.

Gifts to the Community
This time of year more than any other, people who are less fortunate need our help. Whether it’s food, shelter, medicine, clothes, or toys for families and organizations less well off, how much more will those gifts mean than a new pair of skis? Market your church as a one-stop-shop for the kind of giving that Christ urges we take part in.

Gifts of Fun and Fellowship
Worship and fellowship can produce “leave behind” merchandise that is suitable for giving. Use children’s crafts as a way to teach the Christmas story and provide kids with something to give parents and relatives that they’ll treasure far more than a tie or gift certificate. Market CDs and tapes of your holiday concerts as fund raisers and keepsakes. Take pictures throughout the year at special events and make personalized calendars during Christmas time as gifts for church employees and volunteers. The list goes on.

With the right marketing, your church can be a central hub of Christmas activity that is a fun, joyous and worshipful way for members to enjoy the season. You can give each other so much of what Christ gave us… and not max out a single credit card.

Post By:

Andy Havens

Andy Havens brings 15 years of experience to the table and is the founder and president of the marketing firm Sanestorm, as well as a number of different blogs. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife, Christina, and his son, Daniel.
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