Approach this holiday season with new perspective


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

Did you put your Christmas decorations up the day after Halloween? It seems like a lot of people are ignoring their usual holiday traditions this year and jumping into Christmas because that season just tends to lend itself to joy. And if 2020 is in need of anything, it is joy.

As we work with clients looking toward the holiday season, we are looking for ways for chambers to help their communities, to help small businesses especially in this time when sales and profits are usually high.

While many communities have ordinances in place that make in-person gatherings like holiday mixers or parades impossible in their traditional formats, even those aren’t without possibility given a little creativity and innovation. And 2020 has proven true the old adage about necessity being the mother of invention.

Support Small Businesses

Develop your community’s version of a #ShopLocal campaign. There are lots of available options from which to model your version if you need inspiration. (Just Google #ShopLocal and scan through the campaigns already being done. Keep in mind your community size and what would work best.)

Your campaign should ideally include:

  • The ability for residents to purchase gift cards online (both for safety and convenience)
  • Some incentive for member businesses to participate
  • Sponsorships for the chamber

Be sure you are really considering how this will impact your businesses and how you can make this beneficial for all parties. If you have questions, please contact us ( and we will be happy to walk you through options that would best suit your chamber and community.

Christmas Parades

Much of what will be done by your chamber in this next month during the holiday season will be done in the effort to build your community up, to foster a sense of goodwill amongst the people around you. Because this year has been difficult, people are looking forward to this time to give them a feeling of hope, of community, in its truest meaning.

And that’s challenging when we may not be able to safely gather in community. If your chamber doesn’t usually sponsor a Christmas parade, maybe now is the time to consider one of these options just for the ways in which they can provide people with a boost of positive energy.

If you do usually sponsor the annual Christmas Parade but know it’s impossible to gather a crowd of that size right now, don’t despair. You have options.

  • Do you have a video of last year’s parade? Would the businesses who were involved in the parade be willing to pay sponsorship dollars to help bring the video to a virtual format for this year? Play it on an accessible format and promote both it and your sponsors. Have local businesses offer Parade Discounts for take out or delivery dinners and snacks. Promote it on social media. Ask families to share their favorite memories of parades through the years. Have them share favorite photos from past parades. Not only will you generate excitement for the 2020 Parade, but you’ll build a bank of photos for your archives.
  • Offer your members the opportunity to dress up and perform sketches for a Parade of Businesses. Have them video themselves and submit them (for a fee, of course). Compile the video and distribute it on social media and your website.
  • Consider a contest. Invite local businesses to create a float just as they might for an in-person parade. Each entry needs a float, elves or other holiday characters in costume, and a dance routine. Videos should be 30 to 45 seconds. Let your community vote on the best videos. Be sure to get sponsorships along with entry fees.

Make Old Traditions New

When you were a child, did your parents put you and your siblings in the car to drive around and look at Christmas lights? A little seasonal music on the radio… candy canes or a hot chocolate in a thermos? Did you do the same with your children?

This year, as we’re being advised to stay with our ‘Covid pod,’ consider how you can give that old holiday stand-by a makeover.

  • Can you create a Trail of Lights? Let businesses pay to have their location and light display included on your Trail of Lights. Produce an online listing of where the best lights are available. Let businesses give short stories or links to their lights or businesses.
  • Do a ‘Best Of’ and let the community vote. Set a specified time period and allow the community to vote for the business that has the best lights display.

There are so many ways you could spend this next month celebrating the holidays with your community. Start from the basics… what could you do to bring that feeling of Christmas cheer, of holiday happiness, to your community? And go from there.

If we can help you brainstorm ideas, please get in touch with us (

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