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Holiday Season Preparations for Small Business Owners in the US

The holidays are approaching; is your small business ready for the Christmas season? As a business owner, you have much to consider during the holiday season. For some businesses, December is time to slow down and wrap up the end of the year; for other companies, the month of December puts the business under very high pressure to meet customer expectations and reach sales goals. Whichever type of business yours is, here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare your business for the holiday season.

Start Early

Long before the holiday season begins, you should be thinking of the concrete and specific steps you will need to take to prepare for the holidays. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Will you need to hire more staff for production?
  • More staff for packaging and shipping?
  • Will you need to downsize your staff?
  • Will you need to increase overtime hours?
  • Will you be giving gifts to clients? To employees?
  • Will you be hosting holiday events for clients or employees?

Some of these answers will indicate that your business needs to begin preparing for Christmas as early as June or July, while other answers will have you planning as late as the week of Christmas. Make lists, itemize, step by step, the things you need to do to prepare. A successful holiday season is often reliant on successful planning.

Increasing Sales

As you prepare for your Christmas campaign and marketing, remember that there are several holidays that happen during the same period: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and New Year’s.  Design your website, decorations, and window displays to recognize these other holidays as well.

In order to bring customers to your business and store, both virtual and brick and mortar, consider creating thoughtful gift packages for last minute shoppers. Gift packages examples include a service with a bonus offer, groups of items that go together, and gift packages that include the needed batteries and accessories. Helping last minute shoppers make thoughtful gift purchases will serve your business well in policy.

In addition, offering your customers an incentive to choose to use your business or service can increase sales. Providing a gift wrapping service will likely increase your sales and customer satisfaction. Customers will also appreciate discounts on gift cards or multiple purchases. Your business will draw attention, too, by offering to donate a percent of the proceeds of each sale to a charitable organization. Frequently these small services and extras will give a customer a reason to choose your business over a competitor.

Shipping dates

In order to satisfy the orders of your customers, you’ll need to be aware of the shipping dates and deadlines for the major shippers. Most major shippers deliver all the way up to Christmas Eve, December 24th. These are the dates for shipping with these major shipping companies.

USPS (US Postal Service):

  • USPS ground: December 15th
  • USPS First Class Mail: December 20th
  • USPS Priority Mail: December 21st
  • USPS Express Service: December 23rd to arrive on the 24th


  • Fed-Ex Ground and Home Delivery: last day for continental US is December 16th (the 14th for Alaska and Hawaii)
  • Two day and Two day AM: December 22nd
  • Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight,  First Overnight: December 23rd
  • Most shipping services deliver on the 23rd, but a few select services will deliver on the 24th


  • UPS Three Day Select: December 19th
  • UPS Second Day Packages: December 21st
  • UPS Next Day Air: December  22nd

Amazon Shipping: If you sell your products through Amazon

  • Last day for free shipping is December 14th
  • Standard Shipping: December 19th
  • Two Day Shipping: December 21st
  • One Day Shipping: December 22nd

Be sure to consider these shipping dates as you prepare your orders for your Christmas customers.

Giving gifts

Perhaps you have decided to provide each of your clients or customers with a gift for the holiday season. Up to 50% of the cost of gifts for customers and clients can be deducted on your yearly taxes. Check with your accountant for information specific to your business. However, holiday gifts for employees, while tax deductible for you, are counted as income for the employee. Note: Be aware that some people celebrate a seasonal holiday that is not Christmas.

Holiday parties

Holiday parties are a great way to celebrate the season with your clients and with your employees. The costs for a holiday party for clients and customers, like gifts for clients, may be tax deductible up to 50%. Hosting a holiday party for your employees can encourage good morale and dedication to your business. The expenses of an employee party are 100% deductible. This deduction helps spread the holiday cheer from your employees to your accountant.

We hope you and your staff have a great holiday, as you prepare your business for the coming season.







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