Christmas Giving

I used to think that Christmas was all about the gifts, especially the receiving of gifts. As a kid, I remember the excitement of flipping through the Eaton’s and Sears catalogues and telling my parents which gifts I wanted Santa to bring me. My Christmas spirit was all about what was in it for me!

Of course, as I grew older my focus on gifts gradually shifted from receiving to the thrill of giving great gifts. Seeking out those great gifts became a big part of my getting into the Christmas spirit.

For a number of years, my siblings and I shared a fun tradition of going to our local mall on the afternoon of December 24th to pick up last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. Part of the fun was seeing who we’d bump into at the mall, like my high school gym teacher, Mr. Martin. I didn’t have the wisdom to ask him but I suspect he was there every year to see who he could bump into. Maybe that was one of his Christmas traditions and a way for him to get into the spirit.

With time, I’ve come to realize that much of my Christmas spirit comes from the traditions I’ve shared with my family. For example, we have many eating traditions; tourtière and French onion soup for Christmas Eve dinner, croissants on Christmas morning, the big turkey dinner, and of course a vast selection of desserts suitable for any meal or between meals!

A fun tradition emerged quite by accident one year when my mom gave each of us four kids a flexible, pliable little Santa Claus. We quickly realized we could entertain ourselves and each other by bending and twisting Santa into a new position, and then giving him a new name. I’m not quite sure how it started but it’s likely that my brother Jim had something to do with it. Here are a few favourites:

You get the idea. The possibilities are endless. This year, I have decided to print Christmas cards for my three nephews featuring these and other versions of Santa in the hopes it might inspire them to develop some silly traditions of their own.

I still enjoy giving gifts and in that spirit, I’ve got one for you. All you have to do is ask for it.

As a reader of this newsletter, you are probably aware that I advocate using a scorecard to measure your marketing effectiveness. I’ve developed a new version of my scorecard and I’d like to know what you think of it.

I’d like to give you a generic template of my scorecard so that you can customize and use it in your business to measure your marketing. I’ll also include an example to help you understand how to use it. I’ll send it to you as an Excel file so it will be easy to work with.

The scorecard is not designed to be a stand-alone product but rather part of a larger measurement process, so you may need a little help to get started. I’d be happy to provide some guidance by phone or whatever method makes sense.

In exchange, I’ll ask you for some feedback to see if I’m on track with this new version of the scorecard. In general, here are the kinds of things I’ll want to learn about:

  • How was the overall experience of working with this scorecard?
  • How do you feel using the scorecard has helped or could help to improve your marketing effectiveness?
  • Is this approach to measuring marketing suitable for your business?
  • How could the scorecard be improved?
  • What would stop you from using it?

I’m open minded about where our follow up discussion might go and what we might each learn in the process. I think that we should both benefit from this and that we might learn something unexpected.

If you’d like to receive your Optiv8 Christmas gift, email me at and I will send you the scorecard. Please make sure to include your contact information so I can follow up with you in the new year.

I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, I’ll be making Christmas cards for my nephews!

About Rick Shea
Rick Shea is President of Optiv8 Consulting, a marketing consultancy that helps small to mid-sized organizations improve their marketing impact and business outcomes through customer insights, strategic discipline and effective content. Copyright ©2007-2023 Optiv8 Consulting, a brand operating under Rick Shea Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved. You may reproduce this article by including this copyright and, if reproducing electronically, including a link to:

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