Posted on Leave a comment

What are you doing for Christmas?

What are you doing for Christmas?

At the risk of sounding like Joey from Friends, how are you doing? Stressed out, frazzled, wondering how you’re going to fit it all in? Gliding into the festive season like a graceful swan (but paddling like mad underneath)? Or are you actually serene about the whole thing? However you feel about Christmas, remember this. In a month’s time it will be Boxing Day, which is a whisker away from it all being over.

As I write this I’ve done some Christmas shopping and we’ve had a half-hearted discussion about where we’re spending The Day Itself. I’m currently leaning towards doing what we’ve done for the last few years. Stay put and welcome whatever assortment of relatives want to come for Christmas dinner. So what are you doing for Christmas? Why am I even asking? The reason is that whilst I haven’t found the secret of a totally Zen Christmas, these days it doesn’t stress me out like it used to. In case the very idea of Christmas is turning you grey, here are a few of my stories of Christmases past that should help…

The one where we ate Boxing Day pizza

I used to put a whole heap of pressure on myself about Christmas dinner. While my husband used to do most of the cooking I was the one who did the shopping. I’d stress out about whether I’d ordered enough food. When it actually arrived I felt like a doomsday prepper.

One year we were seeing my Mum on Christmas Day then catching up with the rest of the family over the next few days. It was the first Christmas after a family bereavement so it was always going to be tough. My husband’s family were coming for Boxing Day and no-one could face cooking for a second day. So we went for pizza. It was relaxed, stress free and everyone was happy. Now we do it every year.

The one with nine people

Last Christmas we had more people for Christmas Day than I have ever cooked for. (I imagine some of you think I’m an amateur – you’re probably right.) It was only the second time I’d ever cooked Christmas dinner and we had four extra people, one of them vegan. Then I remembered that a turkey crown is designed to feed an army and my usual vegetarian main was also vegan. Once I learned how to make vegan crumble* all was well.

The main challenge with nine people isn’t feeding them or even getting them round the table. You just have to tuck your elbows in. It’s making sure that different generations aren’t falling over each other all day. Speaking of which…

The one where we went for a walk

I married a man who finds it impossible to do nothing. Admittedly, I’m also a fidget but give me a good book and I can remain stationery for hours. As the kids are also much nicer to be around when they’ve had fresh air, we spent one Christmas morning climbing a hill.

I packed sausage rolls, cheese straws and sweets to keep the kids going and off we went. We ambled up the hill, chatted to the dog walkers and enjoyed the fresh air. (And before you vomit at how idyllic it all sounds, it rained on the way back.) Still, the picnic tasted just as good in the car.

Why am I telling you this? It’s because these are some of the best Christmas memories I have and two of them came from loss. We changed things because we wanted new memories to distract us from the ones we missed. If Christmas is stressing you out, whether it’s because something is different or because it’s more of the same, try changing it.

*Use soya margarine. Yeah, that was a tough one.

More help

For the cooks among you, here’s BBC Good Food’s 2017 guide to a stress free Christmas with some handy hints. Of course, you could go out if taking your children to a restaurant isn’t stress inducing too.

Of course, you could just run away…

Posted on Leave a comment

Christmas blog: Can you write one when your business has nothing to do with Christmas?

Firstly, an apology. I know that now we’re past Halloween the floodgates have opened and your social media feeds are full of Christmas. I can’t be helping with my Christmas blog posts and festive marketing tips either. To be perfectly honest, I should be talking to you about Easter marketing by now. I’ve spoken to two people who are already working on Christmas 2020.

If you’re fed up of Christmas marketing because your business isn’t Christmassy, I’m actually here to help. You might not think that your business has anything to do with Christmas, but you’d be surprised. Even if you don’t sell gifts, decorations or Christmas food, you can still write a Christmas blog. It’s the season of goodwill and you can raise your business profile by joining in. Without further ado, here are 5 ideas for your Christmas blog.

1.  Family focus

Christmas with our loved ones can create both warm fuzzy feelings and total panic and your Christmas blog posts can tap into both. I once wrote a Christmas blog for a bathroom company about stress free ways to share your bathroom with guests. Do you have some house sharing wisdom to offer?

If you’re a counsellor, a tips post would be perfect. Show people how they can minimise stress or avoid arguments. After all, even families who get on well can feel the strain at Christmas.

2.  Looking forward to New Year

If you help people to transform their lives long term, why not encourage their friends and family to support them? You might think that a voucher is a bit naff at Christmas, but what if it’s for personal training that could improve their health? A blog post about Christmas gifts that could change your life gets people thinking – plus they’ll remember you when they make their New Year’s resolutions.

If you help small businesses*, a blog with gifts for business owners could help you find a new audience.

3.  Christmas emergencies

If you can help with an emergency that doesn’t need a 999 call, tell your customers. Your Christmas blog post could show people how to avoid emergencies. Can you advise on home security or fire safety checks? If you run a garage, talk about vehicle maintenance so they won’t break down on a Christmas road trip.

Oh, and if you’re open on Christmas Day, put it on Facebook. Our local garage saved our roast potatoes when we ran out of cooking oil and didn’t notice until Christmas morning!

4.  Wellbeing in your Christmas blog

My self-care is a bit hit and miss generally and goes completely out of the window in the run up to Christmas. If you have a wellbeing business, your Christmas blog can offer people ways to look after themselves when they don’t have time.

You could even take a different approach. I love supporting small businesses and hate city centre shopping so I’ve had a shopping party at home and am going to a couple of local fairs. Could your Christmas blog talk about ways to shop stress free?

5.  Christmas preparations (or the aftermath)

Professional cleaning tips go down well all year round, but especially at Christmas when you’re expecting guests. You could also write about the benefits of a professional clean at Christmas.  When I planned this blog I mentioned it to my cleaner, who was hoovering near my desk. She told me that it’s a sign of a good cleaner if they can clean properly without disturbing your decorations.

Use your Christmas blog to tell your customers how you can help them get ready and throw in a few surprises if you can.

*Like I do with great value blog packages. (If you’d like to buy the small business owner in your life a month’s worth of blog posts from me, I sell gift vouchers. Click here to find out about my packages or email me if you’d just like to send them a few quid to use as they like.)

If you want some ideas for posts to take you through December and up to Christmas Eve, sign up for my mailing list using the form below. You’ll get a copy of my free guide to creating your ultimate Christmas marketing plan.

Further reading

If your business does have something to do with Christmas and you’ve missed my earlier blogs, here they are:

This one is for you if you sell great Christmas gifts.

This one is for those of you who help your customers to create the perfect Christmas celebration.

Here’s another take on blog post ideas for a non-Christmassy business from

Posted on Leave a comment

5 Christmas blog post ideas for businesses that create the perfect day

Perfect Christmas blog post ideas

There are lots of fantastic businesses selling perfect Christmas gifts, but what about the rest of you? What if your business helps your customers to create the perfect Christmas? There are a whole range of businesses that offer everything from Christmas essentials to the finishing touches. Food, drink and Christmas decorations are obvious examples but there are lots of areas where people need some help to create the perfect Christmas. There can, of course, be plenty of overlap. I always feel as if I’m preparing for the apocalypse when the Christmas food delivery arrives, but there are always a few bottles of wine heading out as gifts too.

If you sell fashion or beauty it’s easy to focus on gifts but do your customers also need help deciding what to wear to the Christmas party or while they’re serving up turkey? Think about what will go into your customers’ perfect Christmas and talk about that. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

1.        Making the perfect Christmas easier

Creating the perfect Christmas sounds like a great idea but it can get stressful pretty quickly. If you offer something that helps to take some of the stress away, tell people about it. It could be anything from a handy short cut to Christmas on a plate. Do you offer pre-stuffed turkeys or a gift wrapping service? Can you deliver to their door to save them yet another trip to the shops?

If you give Christmas preppers one less thing to think about, let them know.

2.        Feeling good at Christmas

Are your customers are people who generally feel frazzled by the time Christmas is over? Help them out with a blog post that helps them make things better. It could be anything from advice on taking time out and still getting everything done through to nutrition to stop them getting ill.

Maybe they want to feel dressed up but not overdressed for Christmas dinner. I know there are people who feel perfectly comfortable dressing up to the nines to scoff sprouts – personally, I’m not one of them.

3.        Perfect Christmas entertainment

We’ve all been there – Christmas dinner is over and everyone just wants to slump in a chair. Christmas telly sounds like a great idea until the arguments over who wants to watch what get going. Either that or the kids have opened all of their presents and are bouncing on your last nerve whilst you’re trying to cook.

If you have the solution to either of those challenges, tell your customers about it. I promise they will love you for it.

4.        A green Christmas

Environmental issues are on everyone’s minds. The drive to reduce the volume of single use plastics we throw away every year is now a key influence in lots of people’s buying decisions. Of course, you’re not restricted to talking about plastic. You can tell your customers about anything you do to help lessen your (and their) environmental impact.

Give people 5 ways that they can use your products to have a green Christmas and you’ll be on to a winner.

5.        Christmas tips

Tips posts are a great way to catch your customers’ attention at any time of year, but they’re especially valuable at Christmas. This type of blog post works because it gives people information in easily digestible chunks. They’re perfect for busy people (which is basically all of us at Christmas).

I’ve talked about helping people who want quick fixes, but there is just as big an audience for advice on how to do things properly. If you have advice on preparing the perfect Christmas dinner, expert wrapping tips or the best way to decorate your tree, share them.

If you haven’t planned your Christmas marketing yet and want some ideas for posts to take you through December and up to Christmas Eve, sign up for my mailing list using the form below. You’ll get a copy of my free guide to creating your ultimate Christmas marketing plan.

Posted on Leave a comment

5 blog post ideas to help you sell more Christmas gifts

Sell Christmas gifts

If you run a business that sells perfect Christmas gifts, this is probably peak season for you. I’ve already started my Christmas shopping and I’ve got a list of local businesses that I’ll be buying from in the coming month. I know that you’re already doing loads of marketing to show people what you have to offer. If you’re not already writing a blog it can be a great way to showcase your products and build your profile.

A Facebook or Instagram post can be amazing at getting an immediate response. I’ve already bought presents for two people based on a photo the seller posted on Facebook. However, one of the reasons for my quick decision was that I already knew the business. Building relationships is incredibly important when you have a small business. You might already be doing that at events or online and a blog can be a big part of that.  A blog can be chatty and helpful which makes people more likely to trust you when you post about something you’re selling.

So without further ado here are my top 5 ideas for blogs that will help you to sell more Christmas gifts.

1.    Your ultimate gift guide

This one does what it says on the tin – write a monster post with your best ideas for every family member and interest group that you could possibly sell to. It’s the kind of thing that people will save for reference. This could take you quite a long time depending on how many products you have, so you might prefer to break it down into…

2.    Christmas gifts for…

You can write as many of these as you like and tailor them to your business. If you offer perfect gifts for women, children or a particular interest, break it down. You might write about choosing jewellery or your best gifts for kids who love dinosaurs. Your audience will find it really helpful and you can include pictures with product links to make it easy for them to buy.

3.    How to buy for the awkward one

We’ve all got one – the person we struggle to buy for every year. What have you got that’s a bit out of the ordinary? This could also be a great opportunity to educate people about your products. For example, a gift buyer with a newly vegan relative might think of them as ‘awkward’ – you could be the one to offer a gift that will change their view.

4.    What to buy for the person who has everything

Do you sell gifts for people who don’t want more stuff? Experience gifts or charity donations? You could also give ideas for interesting budget gifts for when you’re skint but need to buy for wealthier relatives. What do you sell for the person who doesn’t want to buy their mum more jewellery or yet another scarf?

5.    Are you a Secret Santa?

The dreaded Secret Santa can be a real challenge. Your customers might be buying for someone they don’t know very well or have a tiny budget. Can you help them to come up with something interesting and avoid falling back on an Amazon voucher? (Yes, I’ve had this – the perils of being a temp who still got invited to the team Christmas lunch.)

If you’re planning your Christmas marketing (or your non-Christmas marketing) and need some more ideas, head to my shiny new online shop where you’ll find ’50 blog post ideas for your business’ and my guide to Christmas marketing which gives you ideas for social media posts from 1st December all the way to Christmas Eve.