I've been in a quandary.
A few weeks ago I was approached by Shutterfly about a Christmas card promotion. I would get 50 free cards plus be able to offer three of my readers 25 free cards each.
I've always wanted to send out those beautiful photo Christmas cards, but instead, I went the frugal route by printing my own photos and tucking them into cheap, cheap cards. More recently, I've gone the newsletter route with a few photos included on the page.
...And then I tuck the whole thing into a cheap, cheap card.
By doing this promotion, I would finally have beautiful, professional photo cards! Of course I said YES!
When I received the email full of details, well, that's when I sunk into the quandary. They wanted me to post it this week.
And I just couldn't do it.
You see, last year I joined my friend Suldog's "Thanksgiving Comes First" campaign, trying to urge businesses to hold off marketing Christmas until after Thanksgiving.
Oh, believe me, I tried to figure out a way around it so I could get some of those pretty cards. I even started writing a post, but I just couldn't finish it. I mean, my gosh, forget Thanksgiving... we haven't even celebrated Halloween! Or All Saint's Day. Or Veteran's Day. It's just too early to think about Christmas cards.
Because this whole campaign isn't just about Thanksgiving. It's about time and seasons and silence and space and simplifying. It's about focusing on one thing at a time and giving it all you've got, everything it deserves. It's about truly experiencing a season, thinking about what it means and being in the moment, not rushing ahead.
If you feel there's not time to prepare for Christmas if you wait until after Thanksgiving, perhaps you're making it too complicated. Trying to do too much.
Time goes by too fast as it is and life has gotten more and more complicated. I used this quote in a recent post, but it's appropriate here, too...
I’ve learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything… at least not at the same time. Timing is everything.
Timing is everything. Let's take time to relish and focus. Let's slow down and simplify, take things one at a time.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven... Eccleciastes 3:1
Suldog has some great ideas for how to get businesses on board with this. He pointed out that Nordstrom's has already emphasized they won't be filling the aisles with Christmas until after Thanksgiving. So I'm giving them a little shout-out here. (Yay, Nordstrom's!)
To their credit, Shutterfly's home page features Halloween items. But they were asking me to fill mine with Christmas.
One idea Suldog has is to offer merchants free advertizing on our blogs, so I'm going to follow his lead and offer any retailer a full-size ad, for one day, where my blog post usually goes, if the ad says you promise to not have Christmas merchandise on your sales floor prior to the day following Thanksgiving (and you uphold that promise!)
I'm going to borrow a portion of Suldog's post to illustrate why I think the "Thanksgiving Comes First" campaign is important. (He's talking about an episode of Mister Rogers...)
On one of his shows, Fred was explaining the concepts of noisy and quiet. In order to illustrate the difference, he took his television audience to see a musician friend of his.
Fred had the musician, a percussionist, play his many instruments. Some were very loud, while others were soft and gentle. Afterward, Mister Rogers looked into the camera and spoke. He said, "In music, the silences are just as important as the loud parts."
The silences are just as important as the loud parts.
That’s a very profound statement. It’s true, isn’t it? Without the silences, it’s all just noise. The silences – the pauses, the gaps, the unfilled spaces – are what give the notes their power and meaning. And when it comes to a holiday, the silences – the quiet times preceding (or even within) the holiday – are extremely important. They give the celebration its power and meaning. That’s why I care so deeply about this. We all need some silences. They’re just as important as the loud parts.
UPDATE! BREAKING NEWS!...
I just received an email from Shutterfly saying "We completely respect your stance. If you could try to get the post up by the first week of December, it would be much appreciated."
Yay! Thank you, Shutterfly!