Planning Your Store’s Holiday Event Calendar

Stores everywhere have said goodbye to Summer, hello to Fall and are anxiously preparing for the holiday season. There is a lot on any retailer’s to-do-list for the holidays, and among their tasks is preparing holiday events.

Whether grand or quaint in size, holiday events are an expected part of the holiday shopping experience for many customers. To help find balance in how you plan your events, consider having no less than one “grand” event and two “quaint” events. Combined, this trio of events will add impact to your holiday sales goals, excitement for your customers and an at large interest to your store’s marketing reach.

For your grand event, a formal invite – whether sent digitally or via snail mail – is a must. This adds a nice touch to the occasion, and suggests it’s extra special. Shopping will no doubt be a main attraction of this event, but layering this with live music – think soft instrumental holiday tunes – or interactive experiences that may include vendor participation, passed appetizers, product demonstrations and more are fantastic ways to make this party stand out from everyday in your store. The ambiance will set the mood, so pay special attention to the details here. For some great ideas on what to do, check out the book “Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells” by Rick Kizer, Georgeanne Bender and Debra Templar.

Your “quaint” events may be smaller in size, but the impact can be just as strong. Your goal with these events should be to draw a crowd that is like-minded – maybe evening shaping these events around certain group of people – and catering to their unique needs. Think “Moms Night Out” or “Celebrating the Holidays Single”. Both have a unique audience with unique lures of attraction.

Now here’s the catch. In addition to this trio, it’s important to add weekly “mini” events throughout November and December. For example:

Snacks & Shopping – This catchy tagline welcomes customers to your store during regular store hours for snacks while they shop. Offering trays of holiday cookies, nuts in bowl, complimentary pastries from a local bakery or other tasty treats is all you need to add to this “mini” event. Throw in festive gift wrapping and a holiday incentive, such as 10% off or a free gift with purchase, and you are on your way to a successful “mini” event!

Festive Evenings – Here’s a “mini” event that you can do weekly for the entire holiday  season. Select one night a week where you are open later and livin’ up your store with holiday music, warm cider or hot chocolate and lots of holiday character. Market this to customers so that they know every Thursday, for example, you will have gift wrapping, holiday specials, new inventory and other great buys available for customers to shop. The charm of the event – even this mini event – is the idea. No invites needed here, also. It should be open to anyone.

Now that you have a good understanding of how much more needs to be done on your holiday to-do-list, it’s time to start planning! And don’t forget… there are two built in events already scheduled for you that customers anticipate. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. While big box stores tend to get hit the hardest on the Friday after Thanksgiving, indies are becoming just as hot of a destination on that following Saturday. Learn more about this fantastic, nationwide event, Small Business Saturday, by visiting



  • Audra Lamoon
    September 18, 2012

    Hi there!
    Im speaking from the UK but my company works globaly (including the States), for developers with new or distressed malls. We help to turn distressed malls around and begin with the customer in mind. We provoke and challnege design, process and properties from every angle but ALWAYS with the customer journey and expereince in mind That way our clients really can measure and see for themselves just what the customer experience is like on their property.
    Its very innovative for clients to bring us on as consultants and trainrers in customer service, hospitality and concierge at design stage, but that is whats setting them apart, turning them aroiund and becoming award winners! So, be creative, be innovative but be the customer!

    Audra Lamoon, MD Livewire Performance Consultants, Ltd; UK

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