Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't Fear the Reapo-man

There's something haunting the holidays this year – reaching its slimy, oozy, steaming tendrils around everything in search of fresh fodder. It's not the Ghost of Christmas Past Recessions, it's a new breed of haunt for the new millennium. It's not going anywhere for a while, so we've all got to stand strong through this holiday season in anticipation of a dawning relief that is coming ... sometime soon.

What can we do about this insidious ghoul that takes on different faces – such as fear, oppression and depression? Look it in the eyes, realize it's there, and dance with it! Make the best of it because it's not leaving until... sometime soon.

This Halloween, instead of the usual horror-house with ragged mummies, vampires and spider webs, put something really scary lurking behind every turn. Life savings that disappear in a cloud of smoke. Unemployment jumping out unexpectedly. Bankruptcy. Foreclosure. Repossession. Swine Flu. Hunger. Homelessness. These things will scare your visitors down to their very soul so much that they'll come out on the other end thrilled just to be alive and well!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in concept because it's about gratitude for what we have already as opposed to what we want. This Thanksgiving, reach out to others, don't limit it to your closest friends and family. Have big "group dinners," maybe even "block dinners!" People are struggling more behind their brave faces than we know. Holiday times carry enough stress when the money is rolling in, so help make it easy on everyone and just celebrate being alive.

For Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Whatever holiday you hang your hat on in December that motivates you to start spending amounts of money that are completely disproportionate with the rest of your year, I suggest a word that isn't normally exciting: practical. Here's an innovative marketing opportunity that would help circulate more dinero without wasting it: discounted gift cards at utility companies, banks, mortgage holders, gas stations, drug stores, grocers, family marts... everywhere. If companies would take 10 or 15% off the top they would sell a helluva lot of cards! I'm all about buying the $50 gift card for $35! Everyone gives and everyone gets. More bills get paid, more shopping is done because more bills are getting paid, and so on.

We will all make it through the scary holiday season together if we maintain our sense of humor, stay grateful, be practical, generous, and creative with marketing and buying opportunities. What are your innovative ideas for the holidays?

If we're lucky, the creepy, haunting ghoul will start to lighten up with the coming of the new year... or sometime soon.

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