on holiday promotions (and why I offer none)

I am not religious in any way. But I am also not without faith. I have a very deep faith, just not in a divinity. Rather, my faith lies in the staggering wonders of the universe, and I don’t feel any need for explanations of those that currently defy explanation. My faith lies in the farther reaches and the better nature of my fellow humans. My faith lies in the sparkle of a child’s eye that reminds us all that anything is possible. And my faith lies in the everyday miracles of love, hope and kindness—little blessings that when bestowed on each other, can make all the difference.

Regrettably, in the hustle of daily life, we often forget these little miracles. Even though I do not believe in some of the core beliefs of my religious friends, I have a deep admiration for those among them whose faith reminds them to offer these small blessings to others as freely and often as possible. But, being human in a hectic world, even they sometimes forget or are unable to live up to this ideal. And so we set aside a few precious days each year as a time of giving. A few precious days to hope or pray (and possibly act) for peace. A few precious days to offer kindnesses to those who are less fortunate than are we. To me, this is the Christmas spirit.  And it is why I love this time of year.Holiday promotions, although frequently guised as “our gift to you”, are the antithesis of this spirit. Their sole purpose is to drum up business, to increase sales, to boost profits before the year closes. Holiday specials, offers, coupons and sales  promote, and cannot not promote a spirit of taking. They are, at best, mutually beneficial transactions and, at worst, acts of greed. But, even when offered with the best intentions, they are in no way acts of kindness, selflessness, or giving. They are offers to conduct transactions of commerce and nothing more.

#FunkParade Block PartyDuring the few days or weeks of the holidays, I strive to embody the spirit of the season—the spirit I should, but too often fail to embrace every hour of every day. And I strive to meet this goal not only as Jeffrey Morris, but also as Jeffrey Morris Photography as there is really no substantial difference (any distinction between people and their businesses is a false pretense used to excuse them from “the business’ actions that they know are wrong). I thought about running a Christmas promotion. I even started to prepare materials to market it when I realized that I was marketing it. I realized that I could not live up to the spirit of giving by using it for selling; that I could not live up to the spirit of caring by using it for promoting; that I could not live up to the spirit of the season by using it for purposes that are the polar antithesis of this spirit. So, I spend my professional time this season doing some extra volunteer work with a couple of very deserving non-profit organizations, by giving an art print or two to an admirer who otherwise would be unable to enjoy art in his home, and by creating a few photographic memories of, and with some special friends. I fill my time this season with acts of giving and, of course, with normal business activities gained via normal methods with no pretense of providing a “holiday gift” that is really a come-on.

Early in 2015 I will run a promotion to drum up some business during what could be a slow time of year. Later, perhaps I will run a holiday portrait/card promotion to boost business and yearly revenues. Hopefully, these promotions will benefit some of you as well, and I will be happy if I can save you some money while always providing my best work. But, let’s be honest: the primary purpose of these, or any promotions is to advance business goals. I will not insult you or demean the true spirit of the holiday season by pretending otherwise. I will promote some special offers for my business during the year, and I will refer to them accordingly, as business promotions. But not for the advancement of business will I give up the opportunity to embrace the spirit of the season for a few precious days.  So I offer no holiday promotions other than to promote the spirit of giving, kindness, love and hope.

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