How To Make A New Holiday

Holidays are an effective and impactful way of commemorating a special memory, product, or service to build a groundswell of awareness and activity around it at a predetermined moment in time.

History of Creating a Holiday

The concept of holidays originated in connection with cultural and religious observances. The goal was typically to allow individuals and groups to tend to religious duties associated with important dates on the calendar.

Creating a holiday has become increasingly popular in recent years, with every day in the calendar full of celebrations and observations that inspire people to take action.

Why Make A New Holiday?

Businesses that create holidays to drive action are participating in what is known as calendar-based marketing. Calendar-based marketing activates consumers at a peak moment in time to drive action. One of the best examples of this is Alibaba’s Singles Day, which generated $84 billion worth of sales in 2021. The holiday, which started out as a celebration of being single, is now the biggest online shopping event in the world!

It helps to build brand awareness and visibility

By making a holiday you are creating a timely news hook that allow you to effectively put up a display window and position your brand, product, or service at the heart of it. Having your own designated day of celebration or observation gives you an ownable moment within each calendar year.

This visibility can be further enhanced with well-thought-out PR campaigns, influencers, data reports, and social content (more on that later).

And it isn’t a one-time thing, either. What we’ve seen at National Today, as evidenced by Singles Day and Amazon Prime Day, is that the reach of these holidays tends to grow with each year.

It’s a great tool for product promotion

Whether you’re launching a new product or looking to cement a consumer hit in the public consciousness for years to come, whatever your objectives, if you want to highlight a specific product, holidays are a great way of doing that.

Nike uses Air Max Day each year for different product drives, often showcasing new releases and specials that sneaker lovers are scrambling to buy. Product-led holidays not only give your customer a reason to buy, but they also give them a reason to buy now. Holidays are often accompanied by discounts, vouchers, or special offers that add an extra layer of urgency to drive more action.

It boosts your relatability

Holidays are a great avenue for building emotional connections with your target audience. Their repetitive nature reinforces those connections over time.

The relatability of holidays is perhaps best demonstrated by their success across social media platforms. We’ve seen some holidays gain over a million shares directly from National Today. That’s a million people relating so much to a holiday they want to tell their friends and family about it!

Creating A Holiday For Your Brand Or Product

While there are many types of holidays — national, international, and religious, to name a few — there are three main types of holidays that you can create to help promote your brand/product:

1) Brand Name Holidays
This type of holiday uses the brand’s name in the official holiday name — think Amazon Prime Day, National Barbie Day, or National Have a Coke Day.  This puts your brand front and center.

2) Featured Product Holidays
This holiday type highlights a specific product offering — like Nike’s Air Max Day or Williams-Sonoma’s National Peppermint Bark Day. This ties in well with specific product promos or giveaways such as 7-Eleven’s National Free Slurpee Day.

3) Product Category Holidays
This holiday type celebrates product categories related to a brand — like Freshpair’s National Underwear Day, Bath & Body Works’ Candle Day, or Boston Market’s National Rotisserie Chicken Day. This allows a brand to “own” a product category while getting other beneficiary brands to cross-promote it.

7 Steps to Creating Your Holiday

National Today has a dedicated team of holiday specialists that can help you create your own holiday. The process can be broken down into seven steps.

1) Come up with a buzz-worthy holiday concept

The key to driving consumer action is for your holiday to resonate and connect with the target audience. To do that, you need the right holiday concept. Ask yourself:

1) What will be the theme/idea behind the holiday?
2) What emotions and/or responses do you want it to evoke in your audience?
3) Which product/service will your holiday focus on or emphasize?

If you’re struggling to pin down what you want your holiday concept to be, then a good starting point is to refocus on your overall goals. What does your holiday need to achieve to be considered a success?

2) Choose the optimal date on the cultural calendar

The date and the reasonings behind it can enhance your messaging. Free Slurpee Day of course falls on 7/11, Amazon Prime day was originally positioned as a 20th-anniversary celebration, and Singles Day falls on November 11th, with the date 11/11 representing four singles standing together.

Regardless of the reasoning behind it, the most important thing is to choose a date that works for your business needs.

3) Develop a strategy to get others to engage with the day

This can be broken down into two parts.

  1. How can your holiday get others to engage and spread the message on social media?
  2. How can your holiday get consumers to act?

Common tactics we often see on social media are competitions that involve tagging a friend, sharing a photo, or coming up with a compelling answer to enter. These engagements all amplify the post and therefore the holiday’s reach.

Alternatively, selfies posted to Instagram from an in-person event or Tweets commenting on an online live stream are also ways of getting social momentum building. There are countless tactics to explore, the main priority is to ensure your tactics marry well with your product or service, target audience, and overall goals.

When it comes to getting consumers to act, retail outlets often favor limited-time discounts or special offers — but that’s not the only solution. We’ve seen with Nike how exclusives or limited edition products can also create a groundswell of hype and anticipation.

Ultimately, you should be asking yourself, “What is going to get my audience excited?”

4) Establish a marketing budget and timeline

Whilst holidays usually occur on a designated day, you should plan your activities to build anticipation and awareness ahead of the event. Detailed budgets and timelines reduce the possibility of any nasty last-minute surprises.

It’s also worth remembering that holidays are returning events, meaning, in theory, you should get better at marketing it every year. Track the spend, performance metrics, and overall ROI of each activity to build an understanding of how well the budget has been spent and optimizations that should be made next year.

5) Develop digital assets or microsites

Microsites are a great way of showcasing your holiday’s messaging and its associated products or services in their own environment to avoid confusion, clashes, or conflicts with your main website and other campaigns and initiatives that may be running concurrently. From a data perspective, they also make tracking some of the key performance metrics of the campaign simpler.

Creating a collection of digital assets in advance of the holiday will be necessary to help build the anticipation. Depending on your holiday concept and the tactics being used, you may need assets such as logos or endboards that can be sent to influencers, images and videos that can be used for social, and infographics for PR campaigns, etc.

6) Implement an effective PR strategy

A well-planned PR strategy can elevate your holiday on the screens and in the minds of millions of people. At National Today we’ve built up a database of 5,000 local, national, and international journalists who have expressed an interest in covering holidays.

Holidays themselves serve as timely news hooks that make your brand newsworthy and the results can be further enhanced by including extras such as data studies and infographics in your pitches. We call this tailored and targeted pitch a CalendarWire release.

7) Get influencers on board

If you want your target audience to pay attention, there’s no better way to do this than channeling your message through the people whose opinions they hold in high regard.

At National Today, we believe the best approach is to identify the influencers with real influence. It’s not all about the size of the following, 10 micro or nano influencers can be more effective than one huge one. It’s all about research and identifying the influencers who hit the sweet spot of aligning well with both your holiday and your target audience.

Campaigns that come across as authentic yield better results, and to do this, influencer selection is key.

FAQs on Creating Your Own Holiday

How can you make up your own holiday?

You can register a holiday to be part of the official National Today holiday registry. Our site is used as the “source of truth” by millions of media gatekeepers, thought leaders, influencers, brands, and non-profits for finding out which holidays occur on which days. It’s the fastest way to start widespread adoption of the holiday.

How much does it cost to create a holiday?

To create a holiday and be part of the official National Today holiday registry, you can expect to spend $5,000. We also offer additional extras such as featured content, a holiday announcement, and a CalendarWire release.

Can anyone make a holiday?

It’s a lot easier than you’d expect. We collaborate with you to ensure the messaging on the holiday’s purpose is as you’d want it to be and that it’s observed or celebrated in the way you envisioned it would be.


When executed in the right way, calendar-based marketing and holidays can be among the most potent tools in a marketer’s bag. Whilst they are proven to deliver short-term results, holidays should also be approached with a long-term view. This is a celebration that you can repeat annually, with increasingly impactful results as you go.

If you’d like to talk to one of our holiday specialists about creating a holiday, get in touch right away!