Christmas Clichés

A journalism major friend of mine posted the a link to this great column from Jon McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun, in which he takes to task all the horrible holiday clichés every writer could be suckered into using.

This is a good reminder for any kind of writing, not just journalists. Fundraisers are just as apt to pour on the tired holiday sayings in an effort to stir up holiday feelings and as a result a few more donations.

I love all the suggestions, but this one is the best:

“’Tis the season”: Not in copy, not in headlines, not at all. Never, never, never, never, never. You cannot make this fresh. Do not attempt it.

In my journalism days, I may have done this. I can’t remember, but it feels like when I had to file something fluffy and feature-y that didn’t involve City Hall, school board budgets or the Freedom of Information Act, I probably succumbed. It’s cheap and easy, the McDonald’s drive-thru version of writing. It might taste good for a moment, but you’ll likely feel guilty and hungry later for partaking in such cheap turns of phrase.

It’s probably even easier to do now in fundraising. We can’t say Christmas (of course) so “Tis the season” is one of those warm phrases that can conjure up holiday thoughts without actually referencing a holiday.

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I’m busy working on our last solicitation letter of the year and keeping it free of easy clichés.

Because you know, for the cost of just one turtledove, you could help five adults learn how to download eBooks at their library.

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