7 ways to improve the Christmas user experience

There was a time when many of us used to like Christmas. Or whatever holiday we celebrated in December. Now it sucks. Here’s how advertisers, retailers, anyone involved with media or the public, families, or the sucker who got put in charge of the office party could make it better:

1. Ban all Christmas songs in public places. We all have headphones. If you have to do it, pipe in a custom Internet radio station that customers will hear or not hear according to their preferences.

You've head of color therapy? This is whatever the horrible, soul-crushing opposite of that is.

You've head of color therapy? This is whatever the horrible, soul-crushing opposite of that is.

2. Ban the colors red and green from ever appearing together. For anyone. Ever.

3. Consider the local climate of the place you’re bringing your Christmas-themed whatever to. If it never snows there, don’t bring up snow. It makes people sad and angry when you do that.

4. Limit the holiday marketing season to a more appropriate time period. I’m thinking no more than a week. There are two very practical reasons for this. Firstly, drawing out the expectations for one day over the course of 3-4 months has seriously damaged the reputation of that one day. Can you say “oversell”? Not even the effing Superbowl has that kind of hype. And secondly, just because you have a media buy/ship date/new store opening/whatever between Labor Day and New Years, does NOT mean you automatically have to make the ad/packaging/grand opening/whatever holiday-themed. If a holiday theme is the most creative thing you can think of to catch people’s attention during the season when every single other jerkwad out there is doing it, you need to find a new line of work. Now. (If the client is demanding it, I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry. Here, have a rum and eggnog. Don’t worry there’s no eggnog in it.)

5. Give more. Christmas used to be about giving – not about buying. Instead of hawking your crappy products with pre-Christmas, pre-pre-Christmas, and post-Christmas sales, keep merchandise at regular price (which, if it’s any good, people will pay), and then donate to a cause that your customers will appreciate. Or give away the batteries. Or offer to wrap their purchase for free. Think of Christmas less as a chance to temporarily bump up the profit chart, and more as an opportunity to invest in the consumers who’ll keep your sales up for the rest of the year.

6. Personalize. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. That doesn’t mean we all have to go around saying “Seasons Greetings” to avoid offending people. If Facebook ads know that I love cupcakes, it can’t be that hard to figure out what frakking holiday I celebrate.

Ficuses love attention.

Ficuses love attention.

7. Leave trees alive. Besides the fact that pine trees are highly social and probably feel some version of extreme discomfort when we chop them down, no one likes watching them rot out on the sidewalk for the entire month of January. Real trees are fire hazards, dangerous to pets, messy, sticky, and ridiculously carbon-intensive. Fake trees aren’t much better. Get a live, native tree and plant it somewhere when you’re done with it. Or decorate your ficus. Less guilt, less danger, less chance of a massive pine tree revolt against humanity.

That’s all I got. I’m curious what changes everyone else out there would make. Leave something in the comments if you feel so inclined. That’s really all we’re asking Santa for this year – comments.

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 8, 2009 at 08:48 | Permalink

    I would ban canned music in public places. Permanently. Put some *real musicians* to work making music. (Keeps ’em out of trouble.)
    The hype is disgusting. The Midwinter holidays – even for atheists – are an invitation to pause, reflect, enjoy the beauty of the season, and show some caring toward one another. Shoving the secular “christmas” down everyone’s throat is the height of cynicism and corporate B.S. Go Outside and Look around.

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