Ho? Ho? Or Ho?

You can go big or small on your holiday theme; just be sure to go creative too.

This year’s grab bag of holiday mail was an interesting mix of the “I can’t believe there’s more!” spectacular array of free gifts and at the other end of the spectrum, the simplest of offers that are simmered down like demi-glace to, “You know what time of year it is. You know what to do. And we thank you for it.”

Many of these seasonal packages I have seen before, while others are familiar tunes — but not only is the volume pumped up, it’s also in state-of-the-art surround sound.

You know that wild Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog with the Fantasy Wish List? (This year’s most expensive gift, for example: his and her watches from Van Cleef & Arpels called “Poetic Wish” — costing $1.09 million. Yikes.) Anyway, in the world of direct-response fundraising and fulfilling a Fantasy Wish List of front-end premiums, here’s a doozy:

Merry Christmas!

St. Joseph’s Indian School’s 2012 Christmas Appeal is a chubby 9-inch-by-9.5-inch inline package with crazy madness inside premium-wise — from the gold foil “Christ Tunpi” teaser on the outer to the matching headline on the letter (it means “Merry Christmas” in Lakota, the first sentence explains).

This package is all about the free gifts “from the Lakota youngsters at St. Joseph’s. May these simple gifts of love show our appreciation for your generous support:

  • Lakota Dreamcatcher Ornament
  • Gold Foil Address Labels
  • Holiday Notepads
  • Silver Foil Stationery Seals
  • Holiday Gift Tags”

Add to the above what’s not listed: a 7-inch-by-8.5-inch 2013 year-at-a-glance calendar personalized in my name and a certificate of appreciation on heavyweight stock, also personalized in my name.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, then you know how I feel about the importance of storytelling. In this case, St. Joseph’s introduces Emily, a 7-year-old who was quiet and hopeless when she arrived a year ago but today is thriving at her loving home-away-from-home where she’s getting an education, fed nutritious meals and is warmly clothed.

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