Holiday Hoobie Whatty??

blogpic_laurenFor those of you who don’t recognize the phrase, “Holiday Hoobie Whatty?”: I should explain that’s it’s the famous response of the Grinch (yes, that Grinch) to the idea of a holiday.  Clearly the Grinch was unclear on the value of holidays. With faint apologies to the Grinch, holidays are important–especially when planning a story for your senior community.  Let me explain.

Using holidays to make stories more relevant? Oh, the Who-manity!

For every news opportunity, there is a strategic planning session that helps determine what the best news opp for a given time period is.  During the session, we discuss what is happening at the community that month, what historical anniversaries are approaching, what holidays or commemorative days are coming up and things of that nature. When planning a news opportunity it is important to determine if there is any relevancy between the story and what is happening in the world. While it is not necessary, having a relevant tie-in for your story makes it timelier and creates a sense of urgency to run it. If it is not timely, members of the media might put it on the back burner and use it as a filler story later on.

For example, during a strategic planning session Buckner Westminster Place brought up that are two residents that worked on the Apollo 11 mission. So I looked up the date that man landed on the moon, which was July 21, 1969. So we held the story and decided to run it in July to make it relevant to the anniversary. In another instance, Woodland Pond suggested we focus on a story about active residents that raised $5,000 and led the project of building a scenic viewing platform at the end of a wooded trail by a pond on the community’s campus. After a little research, I found that their celebration for the completion of the project fell during National Active Aging Week. Perfect! I pitched the story with the focus on seniors who desired to be active during their retirement and valued exercise. Getting to and from the platform would require physical exertion, which also reinforced the idea of aging actively. Sometimes, a community and I will look at local/national happenings first and then plan the news opportunity around that. During a weekly planning call with Parkway Place in the beginning of August, we were talking about how everyone was getting ready to go back to school. So I asked if they had any retired teachers that could talk about their teaching experiences, how academic curriculum has changed and provide parents, teachers and students with advice for the new school year. Sure enough, they did!

Once we figure out the plan and a relevant tie-in, I make sure to highlight it in my pitch when I finally contact the media with the story idea. I will usually try to find a way to incorporate it in the subject line of the email and bold it in the release. If the story is relevant it is more likely to catch their attention and there will be a sense of urgency to run it if they are interested. In the examples listed above, the media wanted to run the story on the anniversary of man landing on the moon, they were eager to run the story about the viewing platform during Active Aging Week and they made sure to run the advice from a retired teacher within the first couple weeks of school starting.  Planning ahead, doing a little research and getting in the know on what is hot and timely right now helps get more placements for your story.

I’ve included a list of this month’s bizarre and fun holidays just for funsies! Why don’t you take a look and  see what stands out to you and ties in to what you having going on at your senior living community? Like the Grinch that stole Christmas, you may find yourself asking “Holiday Hoobie Whatty?”

October, 2013-2014 Bizarre and Unique Holidays


Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

American Pharmacist Month

Apple Jack Month

Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Clergy Appreciation Month

Computer Learning Month

Cookie Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Eat Country Ham Month

International Drum Month

Lupus Awareness Month

National Diabetes Month

National Pizza Month

National Vegetarian Month

National Popcorn Popping Month

Sarcastic Month

Seafood Month


Weekly Celebrations:

Week 1 Get Organized Week

Week 1 Customer Service Week

Week 2 Fire Prevention Week

Week 2 Pet Peeve Week

Week 3 Pastoral Care Week


October, 2013 Daily Holidays, Special and Wacky Days:

1 World Vegetarian Day

2 National Custodial Worker Day

2 Name Your Car Day

3 Techies Day

3 Virus Appreciation Day

4 National Golf Day

4 National Frappe Day

4 World Smile Day first Friday of month

5 Do Something Nice Day

5 International Frugal Fun Day – first Saturday of the month

5 Oktoberfest in Germany ends, date varies

5 World Teacher’s Day

6 Come and Take it Day

6 Mad Hatter Day

6 Physician Assistant Day

7 Bald and Free Day

8 American Touch Tag Day

9 Curious Events Day

9 Emergency Nurses Day- date varies

9 Fire Prevention Day

9 Leif Erikson Day

9 Moldy Cheese Day

10 National Angel Food Cake Day

11 It’s My Party Day

11 Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day

11 World Egg Day  – second Friday of month

12 Cookbook Launch Day

12 Old Farmer’s Day

12 Moment of Frustration Day

14 Columbus Day – second Monday of month

13 International Skeptics Day

14 Be Bald and Free Day

14 National Dessert Day – take an extra helping, or two

15 White Cane Safety Day

16 Bosses Day

16 Dictionary Day

17 Wear Something Gaudy Day

18 No Beard Day

19 Evaluate Your Life Day

19 International Newspaper Carrier Day -date varies each year

19 Sweetest Day Third Saturday of month

20 Brandied Fruit Day

21 Babbling Day

21 Count Your Buttons Day

21 National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day find a recipe, too.

22 National Nut Day

23 National Mole Day

23 Tv Talk Show Host Day

24 National Bologna Day

24 United Nations Day

19 Sweetest Day Third Saturday of month

25 Punk for a Day Day

25 World Pasta Day

25 Frankenstein Friday – last Friday in October

26 Make a Difference Day-  fourth Saturday of the month, neighbors helping neighbors.

26 National Mincemeat Day

27 National Tell a Story Day – in Scotland and the U.K.

27  Mother-In-Law Day – fourth Sunday in October

27 Navy Day

28 Plush Animal Lover’s Day

29 Hermit Day

29 National Frankenstein Day

30 National Candy Corn Day

30 Mischief Night

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