I went into a Hallmark store the other day and was shocked to see Christmas merchandise out already. On the other hand, it reminded me that as writers we have to start thinking about Christmas and other holidays long before others want to be reminded of them. Unfortunately, even if you started submitting those holiday pieces now, you would be too late for this holiday season—at least for most publications. However, it could be a good time to come up with ideas for next year.
Many new writers don’t realize how far ahead most publications start working on future holiday issues. Some work as much as 18 months ahead. Newspapers may have a lead time as short as three or four months, but most publications are working 9-12 months ahead.
If you like doing holiday pieces, I would encourage you to seek out those publications that produce holiday issues (many do not). The best way to locate those is using the topical listings in the Christian Writers Market Guide under “Holiday/Seasonal.” After you identify some possible markets for your holiday pieces, you might want to make up a submissions calendar that indicates when you must submit to each possible market.
Keep in mind that it’s best not to wait until the last minute to make your submission to a particular publication. Editors will be nervous about filling out their holiday issues and will be hoping to find appropriate material early. If producing holiday materials is one of your specialties, editors will start watching for your submissions.