Decoded: Social-First Bets For Holiday Planning
Image Text: DECODED: Social-First Bets for Holiday Planning. On a pink background with exclaimation points. Overlaid images include: Sound Bath bowls, a city street, a holiday table scape, strawberry pies in process of being assembled, and a young woman in a hat and sunglasses looking to her left.


Tell me you’re in Marketing, without telling me you’re in Marketing…#ChristmasInJuly. We know holiday planning is in full swing and now is the time to make your holiday social media wishlist…and check it twice. Whether you’re looking to engage your audience in an ownable way or create content to inspire your followers, planning your holiday content strategically can make all the difference.

Here are bets we’re willing to place based on year-over-year trends and the 2024 cultural zeitgeist thus far. Ready, set, plan!

  1. Food Bets: “Lil Treat,” But Make It Festive
    People start looking for holiday meal inspo as early as October with peak menu planning between Thanksgiving and December 25th. But what will people crave? A “lil treat.” Lil treat culture–the daily act of self-indulgence or self-care–has amassed 25K+ mentions on X this year. This has sparked a consumer behavior of a little going a long way, which is ripe for social media content ideation this holiday season. Bring this into the kitchen and help home cooks with cheat codes for serving up a lil treat this holiday season.

    • Breakfast Lil Treat: Use pie crust dough to make mini pies in muffin tins. Fill them with classic holiday fillings like pecan or pumpkin. These bite-sized treats are perfect for the morning after a night of holiday hosting.
    • Afternoon Snack Lil Treat: Take ready-to-bake cookie dough and stuff it with surprises like caramel candies, chocolate truffles, or even marshmallows.
    • Movie Night Lil Treat: Use puff pastry dough to create festive shapes like Christmas trees or snowflakes. Fill them with something sweet like marshmallow fluff or peppermint chocolate bark then bake and decorate with icing or powdered sugar.

  2. Community Gifting Bets: Gift Like Gen-Z
    Gen-Z is all about gifts with a story and this year it’s about meaningful, greener gifts. Highlighting sustainable and personalized gifting ideas is a sure bet. Share ideas on how to gift with an #ecofriendly or customized twist.

    • Homemade custom crochet crafts (“crochet for beginners” hit an all-time Google search high in January of 2024)
    • Personalized scrap wood projects (“Pinterest reported scrap wood ideas were on the rise year-over-year and “scrap wood projects” hit a new peak in Pinterest search this spring)
    • Upcycled gift-wrapping hacks (26% of Pinners looking for gift-wrapping ideas are 18-24)

  3. Wellness Bets: Sounds of Self-Care
    They call it the #holidaze for a reason. With the holiday hustle, self-care content will be a staple this season. But how can you break through the noise? Think sound, not volume. As of May 2024, interest in “sound bath” hit an all-time high in searches on YouTube. Find ways to complement a YouTube sound bath experience and add value to its benefits of reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, increasing focus, and reducing pain. Need some thought starters? We got you…

    • Share ideas for a bubble + sound bath self-care combo
    • Partner with sound bath YouTube streamers to offer shoppers a break from the holiday hustle (and music)
    • Support a local meditation studio for Shop Small Saturday and drive participation with a giveaway or gift drive

  4. Travel Bets: Close-To-Home Adventures
    Local adventures are trending upward. In the last 10 years, day-tripping has become more popular, especially during the summer months. And with unpredictable weather patterns and unseasonably warmer winters, we see a future where day trips aren’t just for summer and families could make them a new holiday tradition. #DayTrip has amassed over 200K TikToks, an up-and-coming conversation compared to the saturated #RoadTrip video backlog of 4.2M+ posts, leaving a white space for any brand that wants a share of the outdoor/adventure market. Here’s how that could come to life in content:

    • Showcase nearby hidden gems like stores where your products are sold or places your product could be used within 30 minutes of city centers
    • Curate a “Main Streets Near You” series and transport followers to the decorated sidewalks of small towns to extend your digital brand experience from URL to IRL
    • Partner with a travel creator to offer tips for planning and packing for a day trip

  5. Home Bets: Holiday Decor Meets Color Theory
    Who hasn’t taken a free color theory online quiz in 2024? Whether you’re a winter, spring, summer, or autumn, you can bet homes for the holidays will take on the same personalized and popularized approach. We’re no experts in color analysis, but here are ways to have fun with this trend when it comes to holiday decor ideas:

    • Categorize decorations or textiles in cool or warm tones
    • Show outfits that match holiday decor ideas
    • Play with saturation and show a range of different greens, reds, blues and other festive hues

And for our holiday minimalists, just go with a festive pop of red. IYKYK.

With these social-first bets for holiday planning, you’re set to create content that not only entertains but also inspires and engages your audience. Happy planning, and we’re manifesting that your holiday season will be as bright and cheerful as your social feeds!

For more tips and trends, subscribe to our monthly newsletter here. Follow us on Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn.

Sources: Meltwater, Google, Pinterest, and TikTok.

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Background on The Social Lights
The Social Lights® is a social-first agency headquartered in Minneapolis that partners with clients to grow their business through strategy development, creative production, media buying, and social media management. Current clients include General Mills, Ecolab, Cargill, Caribou Coffee, Kwik Trip, Polaris and Massage Envy. The Social Lights was founded in 2011 and is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise. Learn more at The Social Lights.

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