Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The Season of Goodwill?

January 6, 2019

Christmas Carol

Another Christmas “season” comes to an end.

The long break that we were looking forward to for ages, the one we all needed to get some much needed R and R,, just came and went in a flash and it is done, the Christmas tree is down and we get back to our normal routines and kick off another year with resolutions and great intentions,

This year was a strange one, well at least it was for me.

This time last year the big “C” finally got the better of my dad, he had a bad turn literally as dinner was served on Christmas day and then we entered that dark and horrible, inevitable tunnel that saw him sadly pass away on the 25th January.

So heading into this Christmas break I wondered how it was going to be for me and the family and I could see this “dilemma” echoed by so many others on social media and in the general conversations that people have – for many it just isn’t a good time for many different reasons.

I wasn’t really sure how I would feel, how it was going to be for my mum and the rest of the family.

Thankfully it felt great, the decorations went up and I could not help but be carried along by the genuine season of “Goodwill”.

I felt a genuine sense of joy, we had worked hard all year and we were going to enjoy a much deserved break and spend precious time with friends, family and the two dogs, Honey and Bert!

One silly moment captured what this time of year is all about for me.

We were in a huge queue in the fantastic newly revamped Dunnes Stores in Bishopstown Court in Cork, which nearly stretched the full length of one of the aisles.

I’m sure that this was the very last place anyone wanted to be spending an hour of their busy lead up to Christmas and instead of being stressed and irritated in the queue people were in great form and there was plenty of friendly banter between everyone.

There wasn’t one cranky person, the Dunnes Stores team even went as far as handing out sweets and bottles of water to those in the queues, and for those with babies and the odd older person who wasn’t great on their feet, they were moved up without any grumble from anyone.

There was one guy in a line directly opposite me and we were having some fun as my queue seemed to move a lot faster than his – I won the race!

Everywhere you go at this time of the year people wish you Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year and while part of it is formula, a big part of it is genuine – we are allowed to be nice to each other at this time!

How bad is that?

A close friend of mine (who absolutely hates Christmas and refuses to get together at this time) sent me a text asking how I was. I think she was expecting me to be down because of dad but instead she got the opposite and she got really cross with me when I explained that I was in great form and feeling genuine joy.

You must think of others who are having a hard time at Christmas” she responded.

Of course I do think of others but I am joyful and I won’t alter that because of your beliefs!

I pushed her to join us over Christmas – even if you don’t “believe” it’s still a great time to relax and enjoy the company of friends without the stress of work and life.

Nothing doing unfortunately, and she insisted that she would avoid all contact until the “season of goodwill” was over…bizarre!

The present I bought for her will be delivered some time in the next few weeks.

My biggest concern was for my mum this Christmas but she refused to be down, she put up her tree and decorations and despite the incredible sadness and loneliness she had fun and spent lots of time with us, as well as the inevitable tears for dad, which we all shed at various times – we miss him deeply.

So reflecting on it all, the traditions, the commercialism, the symbolism and the rare time off I feel it is the very best time of the year, a time to be embraced and enjoyed with friends and family.

And if nothing else, it is a “season of goodwill” and how bad, that for this special window of time each year we are all a little nicer and a little kinder to each other.

How many weeks is it to Christmas?


Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland





Christmas Interruption ..

December 28, 2012
interrupting christmas

Spend time with your loved ones!

60% off nearly all stock tomorrow

When someone likes our Facebook business page, follows our business on twitter, signs up for our newsletter or follows our company blog  in effect they give us permission to send them updates, news about our business and general communication. When they “sign up” they can’t control when we might interrupt them ..when it happens, about what or how often.

Permission to interrupt is a precious gift that we should respect.

In this “social media” age it’s become part of our ritual to check Facebook and Twitter , even on Christmas morning to see what our on-line buddies are up to, including friends and family – it brings us close ..I’m looking at friend’s children open their Christmas presents, I’m watching other friends having fun pictured in their new Munster Rugby Jerseys, I’m watching family pictures, I’m watching family reunions, I’m watching my “circle” cracking jokes and enjoying their precious family day ..

In between all of this I’m also watching supermarkets,coffee shops, gift shops, hotels, breweries and APP suppliers pitching in …in fairness most of them are wishing me Merry Christmas but a few are way too enthusiastic trying to sell, announcing their sales or offering special deals.

Most of these posts will have been scheduled in advance while their social media personnel were at work before the holidays and definitely not on Christmas day!

For everyone in business …with social media there is a time to interrupt and a time to definitely not interrupt. Christmas day, is a day when it is better not to say anything even when you think you have permission …you don’t!

Merry Christmas!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion provide social media consultancy and training from our offices in Dublin and Cork

When Christmas Trees were Tall

December 27, 2010

Tall Christmas Tree

It scares me how quickly we forget things, how quickly memories just disappear .. The exception is the “big occasions” or the “big moments” such as wedding days, terrific concerts, children being born or even total disasters such as an accident, big or small.

When we do remember certain moments, that weren’t “big moments” as such – what happened that makes these stay with us specifically?

I grew up in a musical family .. Not in a way that you might imagine with us all playing instruments but there was always some music playing. Mum and Dad always had music on in the car or at home so we were raised on Johnny Mathis, Glen Campbell, Perry Como, Jose Feliciano, Johnny Cash and many more. I guess this rubbed off on me as I started collecting music seriously from the age of 13.

One Christmas, at least a few days after the main event I remember feeling a little nostalgic and I started going through my parents old albums hoping to find some gems that would still be relevant to me.

I remember putting on this album by a blind artist, Jose Feliciano, which my folks used to listen to with us and stated moving from track to track carefully lifting and placing the stylus or needle at the start of each track ..

This special song, which turns out was actually written by The Bee Gees (I am only just after discovering this by the way) came on and for some reason I started to cry, and cry quite uncontrollably and just couldn’t stop!

I guess I listened to the words, was taken in by how soulfully it was sung, remembered all those times I listened to it with my folks and recalled a time of lost innocence: “When I was small and Christmas trees were tall” .. Why does that moment stay with me to this day?

I was thirteen!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

Full lyrics: The First of May

When I was small, and Christmas trees were tall,
we used to love while others used to play.
Don’t ask me why, but time has passed us by,
someone else moved in from far away.

Now we are tall, and Christmas trees are small,
and you don’t ask the time of day.
But you and I, our love will never die,
but guess who’ll cry come first of May.

The apple tree that grew for you and me,
I watched the apples falling one by one.
And as I recall the moment of them all,
the day I kissed your cheek and you were gone.

Now we are tall, and Christmas trees are small,
and you don’t ask the time of day.
But you and I, our love will never die,
but guess who’ll cry come first of May.

When I was small, and Christmas trees were tall,
do do do do do do do do do …
Don’t ask me why, but time has passed us by,
someone else moved in from far away.

Music and lyrics: Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb (Bee Gees)

What an amazing song – check it out!

Wow, What a Year!

December 24, 2010
Fuzion Christmas Card

Merry Christmas

I’m not sure about you but the crew here are fairly wiped out after a super and very hectic year where we had all sorts of ups and a few personal downs. We worked harder than ever before (I promise we were never slouches), because that is what is required from all of us to “storm” our way through these tricky times.

We are looking forward to rolling our sleeves up again with you in 2011 and making it another good year – these challenging times aren’t going to beat us and we want to be in a position to grab those unique opportunities for Fuzion and our clients when they present themselves.

But … we do need a little break to recharge the batteries and come back in 2011 with all guns blazing. We’re going to be off from December 24th till Tuesday the 4th January – we will of course be available for anything important that needs doing in the meantime.

On that note the Fuzion team would like to sincerely wish our clients both past and present and all of those partners and friends who have shared our 10 Year Fuzion Journey, the most fabulous Christmas and of course a really Happy New Year.

See you in 2011 for even more fun!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

Another Crazy Christmas! – Some Tips for Retailers

December 10, 2010
Tips for Retail at Christmas

Tips for Retail for Christmas

Writing a piece about retailing at Christmas should be quite straight forward you would imagine, but writing a piece that it is really helpful for retailers that have been through so many of them at this stage is a little daunting I must admit!

With a backdrop of recession and cutbacks, getting customers parting with their hard earned cash will be more challenging than ever but presents must be bought so let’s roll up our sleeves.

As part of the preparation for this article I decided I should ask my good buddy Mr Google for a little help and see what extra nuggets I could find that would definitely impress the experienced retailers out there.

If you Google “Tips for retailing at Christmas” you will be quite surprised with what you will find! My search actually took me to a website called – can you imagine a website designated to just that topic!

In a way it’s not at all surprising seeing as the Christmas period accounts for a huge % of peoples revenue as well as a huge % of footfall. Even more important the festive period will bring a large number of “new” visitors who could well be trying out your store for the first time – what an incredible opportunity if you really think about it.

I will look at the tips under four broad headings:

Attract the customers into your store

Customer loyalty is as a result of the good work you have done throughout the year and will determine where customers will do their shopping when it comes to Christmas. However you have to do your utmost to attract them in and compete for their attention.

Database Promotions – this is where you use your databases, your invite lists, and your Facebook page for special offers, special customer nights and even Christmas cards as gentle reminders that you are open for business.

Wow Window displays – Christmas windows are really special and if possible push the boat out and really build attractive displays that grab customer attention. (I always get blown away by the window displays in London at this time)

While having an attractive window display is critical, remember that people need complete “solutions” with either their outfits or their gifts – be sure to put your best foot forward at all times with your most attractive and available stock.

Fresh – Have new merchandise arrive throughout the whole festive period keeping your store fresh and if not refresh and rotate the key displays so that the store feels new and vibrant.

Offers – Make sure your promotions are well displayed but in a tasteful way and in keeping with the overall store look and feel.

Clean and tidy store – Allow extra staff time each evening for cleaning, tidying and rearranging so that the store is looking the best as much as possible.


Look after the customer really well when they get there

Research has shown that at Christmas 60% of purchasing decisions are made within the store – once they come in your door make sure that happens.

Christmas is a Floor Show – One of the sites I visited referred to retailing at Christmas as being a “Floor Show”. The game is won and lost on the sales floor and this is where the staff and managers should be spending their time looking after customers, making sure that the part time staff knows what they are doing, spotting trends and sorting out issues – plenty time for the office work in the New Year!

Happy Team – Keep your team motivated and upbeat. Christmas is a happy time and cheery staff are vital for the business. It is your responsibility to keep them happy, plan a Christmas party, bring them coffee and treats and make sure you rotate them so that they don’t get too jaded as this will result in lost business.

Happy Customers – Make sure there is a good atmosphere in the store with nice scents and festive but not “too” typical music. Offering a festive drink or some sweets or treats can put the shopper in a very good mood.


Give yourself every chance of selling to customers and as much as possible

Once you have done the hard job of attracting people into your store you want them to do a lot more than browse and say thank you!

Make it easy – Shoppers want to maximise their time and minimise their decision making so make it easy for them by bundling and coordinating products, labelling them clearly and having relevant accessories within easy access.

Have a Top 10 or Favourites rail – Display the popular lines prominently making it easy for the customer to purchase with confidence.

Show people what to buy – Create displays with the specific solutions in mind such as mother’s gifts, party wear etc

The right staff – You need the right quantity of good staff to maximise your income at this time. Bring part-time staff in during the lead up to Christmas in plenty of time so they are sufficiently up to speed for the rush.

Speedy Gonzales – Have your quickest people on the tills and on wrapping duty – remember Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) in the store in the movie Love Actually!

Exchange policy and vouchers – make it as easy as possible for customers to buy by removing obstacles such as “What if they don’t like it?” objections.

Gift wrap – for the guys this is an absolute must as long as it doesn’t take too long and interferes with sales. Pre-wrap fast selling items where possible.


Entice them to return in the New Year

This is the one area that for some reason wasn’t covered in any of the websites, which really surprised me.

Accepting that many new customers visit your store in the Christmas period and many of the other shoppers may just be customers for special occasions, give them a special reason for returning earlier than expected.

New Year Initiatives such as invitations to a special VIP Customer “sale day” or a unique voucher that can be redeemed with purchases in the New Year might achieve this. Brainstorm ideas with your staff to encourage early New Year visits for customers.

Running competitions can be another clever way of building a fresh customer database at this time as long as it doesn’t create delays at the till!

I hope the Christmas tips have been helpful and serve you well into 2011 when we have to do it all over again, Merry Christmas!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications



A Merry Irish Christmas and a Happy New Year?

November 21, 2009

Bah humbug – we have just seen the NAMA legislation passed by the Dail and we are about to face a round of public sector one day strikes with the government and the unions both posturing in a serious game of who has more bottle for a battle as we nervously approach the second Budget day this year. Who knows where all of this will lead and how it will affect us? For the most part we are quite helpless with little enough ability to influence anything. Are you as fed up with all of this as I am?

The one thing that we can be sure of is that Christmas is around the corner and as with every other year since we can remember we will all be stretching our budgets on presents for loved ones and friends and even gifts for our customers and staff who will have looked after us during the year. As always we will indulge in extra treats for ourselves and for our home between food and decorations… Merry Christmas, we deserve it!

How can we take this opportunity to take some small element of control of our circumstances and positively influence the economic environment around us and help not only to make it a Merry Christmas but also a Happy New Year?

My simple challenge is that we all consciously influence that spend on our Christmas budgets will be on Irish products and Irish services as much as possible. Without a doubt there will be less spent this year compared to last year but at least if we consciously Spend Irish, the money will stay in circulation in Ireland with more money in the country coffers come January, which will help kick off 2010 in a really positive way.

Ok, this may sound very noble and patriotic but when it boils down to it are we really going to be able to do it? .. I think so.

Let’s have a look at the typical shopping list:

– Books: Irish books by Irish authors by Irish publishers – make the effort to specifically choose Irish where possible. There are some fabulous books available
– Music & DVD’s: given a choice can we vote for the Irish artist, comedian, movie?
– Vouchers: can we opt for the restaurant, spa treatment or weekend break instead of an alternative?
– Turkey & Ham: make sure these are from Irish suppliers, that should be easy
– Other foodstuffs, relishes etc: Irish all the way, there is plenty of terrific choice
– Booze: which brands are produced in Ireland? – can we substitute our favourite for an Irish alternative? Cork Dry Gin isn’t a bad substitute for Bombay!

This list can go on forever but if we consciously make it our business to choose for the option that keeps money in Irish circulation then, that is better for our economy, for jobs and ultimately for us.

And how about thank you gifts for customers and staff?

If you are in a position to allocate budget for Christmas gifts then consciously choose gifts that are Irish, Irish food and beverages, Irish vouchers, Irish books, Irish Christmas cards and so on. Without too much effort we should be able to easily steer all our precious Euros towards Irish products and services. Many of the hamper suppliers specialise in Irish products.

Where it just isn’t possible to choose an Irish alternative (Transformers and Hannah Montana and nothing else will do!) you will at least help the cause if you carefully choose how and where you purchase these products. You can help keep more money in the country by supporting our retailers or if you shop on the web try to keep the business for the Irish providers.

The retailers and Irish web retailers can also play a huge part in all of this with their choices about the products that they decide to stock this Christmas and how these are displayed and promoted. Purchasing behaviour can be significantly influenced by the retail space the products are given, by products featured in window displays and adverts and by the products featured on the home pages of the websites. Suppliers and retailers should proactively work together to ensure that Irish products are given a fair crack of the whip or even a significant advantage. How bad? – We will all benefit.

Recession or no recession, a huge amount of money will be spent between now and Christmas
…so when you are making your list this Christmas, try to check it twice and where possible decide to keep as much as possible of that money in Ireland, have a Merry Christmas and help to make it a Happy New Year!