I'm one of those people who refuses to decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving has passed. One holiday at a time for me please...
But there is one exception.
When it comes to holiday promotions, and corporate Thank You Gifts, I start talking Christmas as early as July. Such an early time frame stems from my days designing products as early as six months ahead of time. When everyone else was shivering, I'd be creating posters and newsletters warning people about the dangers of heat exhaustion. And although in part it's an old habit of mine, it is one I've kept because there is a certain amount of wisdom in thinking ahead — especially for the various end-of-year holidays.
While thinking on your feet is a good skill to have, the truly inspired ideas are most often given time grow. So instead of rushing around in a panic like a one-shoed shopper on Black Friday, take your good sweet time thinking of ways you can stand out this year from the rest of the crowd.
Many print vendors and mail houses get slammed, and the closer to Christmas, the worse it is. Especially if you've got a tight budget, you're going to want to be early — July and August are two of the slowest months, so some vendors might just be willing to give you a little break on the cost of printing.
Okay, so you you're reading this now, it's October... so is it too late? No, not really. Although it'll still be a crunch, coming up with a holiday promotion/gift/greeting is still very doable. Just don't procrastinate any further.
But if you're reading this in Mid November... well... now you're really in trouble. If you put it together soup to nuts really, really fast, you might have a very slim chance to get your piece dropped in the mail, but you'll probably miss Hannukah altogether and there's a decent chance it won't land on the intended desk until Christmas morning.
So what to do? Just switch gears from "Holiday" to "New Year." You'll buy yourself a couple extra weeks and as long as it lands in the first half of January, then you should be fine.
No matter what, don't panic. Where there's a will, there's a way, it's just that some ways are better than others. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for a future article with a seasonal production calendar that anyone can follow.