Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, Part Two

People outside the ad/design world probably don't give this much thought, but for us the holiday season brings a little added stress because of a little added obligation: the Agency Holiday Mailer. Our clients expect (or at least we expect them to expect) an ingenious, enchanting, exquisitely executed demonstration of our brilliance, somehow made relevant to the Christmas season.

And yes, in case you wondered, we do generally avoid any specific references to Christmas.

Even though it's actually a very difficult assignment if you really think about it, it's one that generally goes to the junior members of the creative department, being as it's not for a specific, paying job, and toward the end of the year a lot of the senior writers and art directors are tied up with big important other stuff anyway. Like, for instance, vacations.

So picture me, right out of college. I'm the junior writer at this big fancy ad agency with a reputation for being the most creative around, and the junior designer and I are supposed to come up with something so great that it will not only impress all the clients on our mailing list, and make them exclaim "Yeah! I'm glad I hired those guys!", but also inspire grudging admiration from all the other creative folks at all the other agencies around town, who will undoubtedly get their hands on our mailer one way or another.

We've got one idea that's pretty strong. (I can't remember what it was now.) There's only one concern with it - a couple of people on the team wonder if it might be too Christmas-specific. It doesn't actually say Christmas on it; I remember that much, but it hints somehow. "Ah, so what?" I say. "Everybody knows Christmas is the big event this time of year." To reinforce my point, I gesture to my friend David, who, even though I've only worked there for about a month I already know is not a big bible-beater. "David, you may not go to church every Sunday, but don't you have a Christmas tree at your house? Just for your kids, at least?"

Big quiet pause.

"Uh," he says softly... "Well, we celebrate Hannukah at my house."


So that's what I get for making assumptions. Anymore, I'm not jumping to any conclusions about anybody, and yeah, I'll say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas if I'm addressing someone I don't know well. And I'll tell you: if you'd ever been publicly mortified by your own errant presumptiveness, you would too.

I got made fun of for years for asking David if he had a Christmas tree, and rightfully so. Sheesh... even looking back after all this time I still feel like a dolt.


Anonymous said...

do you know anything about the bible

Anonymous said...

How does that have anything to do with this post?
Read it again.

Colin said...

You know, I never *think* I'm writing inflammatory blogs here, but I guess there are just some topics that people really want to fight about.

Anonymous said...

why would some people fight over a silly blog?