Even if you don’t carry partridges or pear trees, you might be able to use the concept of the Twelve Days of Christmas to encourage shopping local during the two weeks before the holiday. Because no matter what your store stocks, it’s bound to be more practical than swans a-swimming and lords a-leaping.

The actual twelve days of Christmas run from December 25 through Twelfth Night, or Epiphany Eve.  But retailers have often ignored this fact and used the song’s title as a kind of advent calendar counting down to the big day.  Since this concept has no basis in tradition, you could start on December 13 and end your count on Christmas Eve, or on December 14 and end on December 25.

One of the advantages of a twelve day promotion is that you can plan it out in advance, preparing your social media posts and in-store signage so that you know that you’ll be doing something every day during this busy time period.  Some stores even set up a special page on their website.  

There are many different ideas for what to do each day, ranging from a gift with purchase to a discount on a featured item.  Some retailers post a video announcing the deal of the day on Facebook, and others invite customers to come in regularly to discover what the special is each day.   It helps to be watching for great deals throughout the year so that you have twelve popular products to offer at a great price.

The twelve days of Christmas concept also works well for a shopping district or center. Instead of one store creating a dozen offers, each day can feature a different business.  Downtown Green Bay, Wisconsin is doing this – and they use December 1 through December 12 as the dates for their promotion.

Another idea is to encourage a local news media to feature a different local business for twelve days by offering a daily prize drawing for a gift card to a local store or restaurant.  KNBN in the Black Hills of South Dakota will be doing this from December 13 to 24.

Those who follow Bob Megan’s WhizBang! Retail Marketing program are encouraged to use the Twelve Days promotion, and you can get more ideas by joining the WhizBang! Retailers private group on Facebook.  Kate Foley of The Shop Files also has a wonderful post entitled The Ultimate Guide to Creating a 12 Days of Christmas Sale or Giveaway that I highly recommend.

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder