Bakers Journal

Concepts for Success: Five festive bakery promotion ideas for the holidays

November 2, 2022
By Diane Chiasson

Trying out new and original promotion ideas can help grow your business

Photo: Lindsay Royle / Terra Breads

December is a month packed with celebrations, including Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Kwanzaa. It’s a busy time for big businesses and one that could benefit your bakery as long as you make the proper preparations. 

As you know, your most effective marketing tool is your product. However, trying out new and original promotion ideas is always a good idea to help grow your business. Here are five festive bakery promotion ideas for the holidays. 

1. Prepare unique, creative bakery specials
You should try to attract the most non-traditional of customers by preparing some unique and creative Christmas specials. Consider emphasizing that your baked goods are prepared with a personal touch and a bit of history, which may strike a chord with customers seeking traditional items. What about some gingerbread donuts, pumpkin tortes, eggnog pies, Christmas cookie cups, mince pies, chocolate logs, Jell-O moulds, old-fashioned puddings, marzipan in the shape of fruits, white chocolate peppermint pies, and some old-fashioned angel food cakes? As you know, the younger generations nowadays are highly intrigued about the past. If they come into your bakery store and see something unusual, it will resonate well with them. 

2.Consider promoting and selling some unbaked items
Many families look for meaningful activities to enjoy at home during the holidays. Bring out innovative unbaked bakery items, and it will be sure to attract customers. For instance, you could prepare some biscuits, pie dough and unbaked scones that customers could take home to prepare. Children love to do the mixing, rolling and cutting of cookie dough. This also allows your customers to add the finishing touches of their choice to produce their own creations. Put a big sign in your window saying, “We make, you bake.” 


3. Upgrade your menu for the holiday season
This time of year, your bakery menu should look quite fancy. To draw old and new customers, create a to-die-for holiday-themed menu that includes traditional dessert items and other options for customers for whom Christmas is just another day of the year. Prepare egg and ham breakfast sandwiches, Christmas puddings, sausage, cranberry, chestnut rolls, gingerbread-topped fruitcakes, apple pie granola, cupcake Christmas trees, glazed blueberry rolls, and cranberry-apple muffins. Don’t forget to cater to everyone’s needs by including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. Consider preparing some virgin Christmas-themed drinks, fun non-alcoholic cocktails and unique coffee and hot chocolate drinks.

4. Add festive decorations
To get a wonderful holiday atmosphere, there are several things you can do to make your bakery feel cozy, special and decorative. How about tying large red or green ribbons (or both) to chair backs, plants, wreaths, basket handles, gift boxes, doorknobs, etc.? You can easily get inexpensive ribbons at dollar stores and discount shops. You could also consider metallic silver or gold. Make your own bows using wire, and once done, attach them to many objects, furniture, display cases or wall units. 

Try to get out any presentation plates, dishes, bowls and mugs that fit the holiday theme – the more, the merrier. Many discount and dollar stores carry fun winter designs that are not so common, which is a great way to start the holiday themes.

Don’t forget to pile pine cones with red berries, ornaments and bows in a large bowl or basket. Fill some pretty baskets with traditional candy canes. You could also decorate your display cases with small fake or real poinsettia plants. Hang fairy lights everywhere in your bakery: on your windows, around your counters or even from the ceiling.

5. Offer Christmas bakery deals and gift cards
Take advantage of the 12 Days of Christmas theme to offer customers who come into your bakery unique deals and gift cards. You could offer discounts on specific items such as free drinks or desserts. Gift cards will be all the rage this holiday season, both online and offline. Many customers will be opting for a gift card as a gift idea this holiday season. Because almost 90 per cent of cards are redeemed in the first 60 days after they are received, selling them at your bakery during the holidays will give your business a nice boost in traffic during the first two months of the new year. Place your display and signage next to the register to maximize gift card sales. Don’t forget to train your employees to upsell these cards. Make sure they are in a prominent place on your website and added as an item in your website’s ecommerce inventory.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 35 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing food service and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, send her an email at, or visit

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