by Liz Henning Last week, I popped into a fabric store. As soon as I stepped into the arctic blast of AC, I saw a jolting summertime sight: fresh bolts of Christmas fabric, on the NEW ARRIVALS display shelves.
Outside, the parking lot shimmered in the midday heat; inside, gingerbread men, candy canes, reindeer, apple-cheeked cherubs and glitter-dusted sugarplums danced in my head. The juxtaposition set me reeling - and reminded me of the first time I experienced this strange phenomenon.
I was seven (maybe eight) shopping with my grandmother, at a fabric store in August. I was so surprised, I turned to ask “Wait, why is there CHRISTMAS STUFF?!?! School hasn’t started yet!” She laughed gently, along with the other cutting counter ladies. I was so confused - and weirdly distressed to see Rudolph out of season.
“If you’re going to make gifts, it’s time to start sewing now,” grandma said. The crew of seasoned seamstresses nodded, and started chatting about their holiday projects. It began to dawn on me that all the matching pajamas and stuffed animals Grandma made took months of preparation. So, home we went, with a bag of striped corduroy and new appreciation for holiday lead time.
This year, in the middle of our pandemic summer I was pleasantly surprised by those starched, shamelessly festive reminders that Christmas wasn’t cancelled after all. That we still need to prepare.
Seamstresses, quilters and crafters are starting to get ready for the holiday season. For Catholic parishes, now is the time to begin thinking about a Christmas outreach “ground game.”
Traditionally, Christmas Masses are a major evangelization opportunity for parishes. In the past, standing-room-only crowds brought families - and germs - packed into pews. This year, Christmas Masses will look different, but the desire to celebrate prayerfully will still be present.
How will your team plan to tweak your evangelization outreach this holiday season? Consider a few takeaways from the marketing side of the crafting world:
First, fabric and craft stores know that their audience (mostly women) are more likely to plan ahead and start early. So by the first week of August, stores have Christmas inventory ready to roll out. Who are you trying to reach? Work with your parish leadership team to be sure you know your audience. If you already know who they are, explore how your messages may need to be refreshed for this year.
Next, crafting stores look beyond their own offerings, to Pinterest and Etsy, for ideas. They offer classes and fabrics that align with trends, and connect crafters to one another. So, what’s trending for Catholics? Most people have turned to TV and movies, and to outdoor projects to cope. Explore using your social media to invite parishioners to share what they’ve been watching, planting, and praying, to strengthen your community.
Finally, stores offer an incentive - in this case, an app with the kind of stackable coupons that gives thrifty people a rush to see “TOTAL SAVINGS $19.54” at the bottom of a receipt. Where is the payoff? While you can’t offer parishioners 35% off of Christmas Mass, what can your parish offer that no other community can do?
Christmas Day is four months from today - happy planning!
From making strategic decisions to developing your marketing capabilities, the KPC team is here to help. Using our expertise and deep understanding of the industry, you’ll receive real solutions and experience true results. Get in touch to book a meeting today!