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retail holiday calendar 2020

The Ultimate 2020 Retail Holiday Calendar [PDF]

For businesses around the world, any seasonal holiday is like a big present, ready to be unwrapped. Holidays and are a time when opportunities are a plenty, and you’d better take advantage of each and every one.

The thing is, while most holidays occur on a fixed date, some are more capricious. Take, for example, Thanksgiving which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November — a different day each year.

The following is a month-by-month calendar of some of the major US and international holidays, observances, retail trends and seasonal events in 2020 to help you plan your marketing campaigns around these crucial dates.

Bookmark it or get a print-friendly version of the 2020 Retail Holiday Calendar.

retail holiday calendar 2020

Click here to download the .pdf version of the calendar.

Feel free to jump to any month to see which holidays await you, and start planning your marketing strategy ahead.

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Jump to:


January

retail calendar 2020 january holidays

Ski season

January picks up where December left off, with its own unique spin on New Year and Christmas. Thought the gift-wrapping season was finally over? Guess again!

New Year’s Day — 1 January

Eastern Orthodox Christmas — 7 January

Target audience: the Orthodox Christian community (Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Georgians, etc.)

Unlike regular Christmas, Eastern Orthodox Christmas is not as commercialized. Still, selling cards and ornaments is a nice idea. Jewellery, handicrafts and cards is your ticket here.

Also, if you’re in a food business, research some traditional Orthodox Christmas dishes. Show your customers that you care and are willing to learn about other cultures.

Hashtags to use: #christmas #easternorthodox #orthodox

Martin Luther King Jr. Day — 21 January

Chinese New Year — 25 January

Target audience: Chinese, people who follow Chineze zodiac

Chinese New Year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and follows Chinese astrology. 2020 is the Year of the Rat, so a plushie mouse and mice-patterned paraphernalia is a good start to get people in the mood.

Get numbers and colors right (for example, red and gold symbolize wealth)! You don’t have to care about Chinese astrology yourself to understand its importance to other people.

Hashtags to use: #chinesenewyear #zodiac

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February

retail calendar 2020 february holidays

Winter break

Apart from being home to the most romantic holiday on this list, February is also Black History Month. Use this opportunity to not only sell relevant literature but educate your customers — and yourself — on the subject.

Groundhog Day — 2 February

Super Bowl Sunday — 2 February

Target audience: NFL fans

Super Bowl Sunday caps the NFL season — one of the most popular sports events in the US. You can play around with the football theme on social media or when putting up decorations in your store.

Put up posters of an NFL star. Y’know, that one.

(We don’t know a thing about NFL, sorry.)

Hashtags to use: #superbowl #game #superbowlsunday #superbowlparty

Valentine’s Day — 14 February

Target audience: couples

Here goes your standard toolkit: gift cards, special bundles as well as bouquet and chocolate selections. Offer to provide a personalized message with a gift for an added experience.

Thinking outside of the chocolate box pays off, too. Give no reason for single people to avoid your store — offer self-care products and promotions. Let your customers feel loved no matter what.

Hashtags to use: #valentine #love #valentinesday #valentinedaygift

President’s Day — 18 February

Mardi Gras — 25 February

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March

retail calendar 2020 march holidays

Spring cleanup

When snow and ice start to melt away, people quickly warm up to the idea of social gatherings. March marks a terrific start with St. Patrick’s Day — an Irish-turned-international holiday.

International Women’s Day — 8 March

Target audience: engaged men, independent women

Flowers and chocolates? Name a better duo. Don’t forget about spa and massage coupons, clothing discounts, and promotions.

Think back to what this day represents. Host a charity event, distribute flyers and build a stronger sense of community. This is your chance to tell your story. If you’re running a bookstore, invite a woman author to give a lecture and sign books.

Hashtags to use: #womensday #womenday #internationalwomensday

Pi Day (3.14) — 14 March

St. Patrick’s Day — 17 March

Target audience: Irish, beer lovers, organizers of social events

You don’t really need our advice on this holiday. Just green-ify your decorations.

Be careful of making this day too commercial, though. It’s about celebrating Ireland’s culture, first and foremost. Cut down on gaudy displays of leprechauns, shamrocks, etc. Be creative!

Hashtags to use: #irish #stpatricksday #guinness

Earth Hour Day — 30 March

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April

retail calendar 2020 april holidays

Fooling around

April starts with a bang — or, perhaps more aptly, a whoopie cushion fart — but then follows it up with a number of good-natured holidays. Also, for a lot of high schoolers, April is the prom month.

April Fool’s Day — 1 April

Target audience: kids, and children at heart

This is a day for all the pranksters out there. Sell novelty toys or, at the very least, share a joke or two on social media to get people in the mood. Show a sillier, off-beat side of your brand.

You can even pull a prank on your customers, but be careful — not all people might share your sense of humor. A prankee should be the one laughing the loudest, so err on the side of caution.

Hashtags to use: #aprilfools #joke #prank #aprilfoolsjoke #aprilfoolsday

Good Friday — 10 April

Easter Sunday — 12 April

Patriot’s Day — 20 April

Earth Hour Day — 30 March

Target audience: eco-minded people

Introduce products and services that are meant to support the environment. Underscore the eco-friendly side of your business: how your products are ethically made, are biodegradable, and aim at supporting a sustainable lifestyle.

Still using paper tickets for your queues? Throw them away in favor of a less wasteful digital queuing system!

Hashtags to use: #earthday #climatechange #gogreen #ecofriendly

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May

retail calendar 2020 may holidays

Mothers, memorials, and May the Fourth

April showers bring May flowers. The marketing foundation that you’ve built in previous months can then be used throughout the year.

May Day — 1 May

Star Wars Day — 4 May

Target audience: Star Wars fans

Sell Star Wars-themed T-shirts, cups, toys, clothes, utilities, etc. Don’t have anything SW-related? Use your imagination to give your store a festive flair.

Use this opportunity for some fun interactions on social media. Star Wars is mainstream enough to be enjoyed by all your followers.

Read our article to get inspired by the spirit of Star Wars.

Hashtags to use: #starwars #force #jedi #mayforce

Cinco de Mayo — 5 May

Mother’s Day — 10 May

Target audience: sons and daughters, husbands and boyfriends

Mothers around the world want to feel loved and cared for. Apply some of the tips we’ve shared for International Women’s Day: jewellery, gift cards, clothing, accessories, and special outings.

Offer personalization of products and upgraded shipping options, host a giveaway. Some people think it’s a day for handmade gifts (say, an artsy soap) — well, provide the tools for making them!

NB: Mother’s Day may not be celebrated on the same day around the world, so do your research beforehand.

Hashtags to use: #mothersday #mom #mother #mothersdaygift

Memorial Day — 25 May

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June

retail calendar 2020 june holidays

Dads and grads

June is also known as Pride Month — a 31 day long celebration of all things LGBTQ. Don’t be shy, paint your entire store in rainbow colors. Show your love and support. Also, keep in mind that for many students, this would be a graduation month.

Flag Day — 14 June

Father’s Day — 16 June

Target audience: sons and daughters, wives and girlfriends

Socks, razors, shaving creams and toolkits are a reliable, if predictable, choice. Curate a special Father’s Day collection of products.

Don’t have men-specific merchandise? Then consider selling greeting cards or special dad appreciation cards instead.

The usual family stories are centered around mother figures, so some fathers may feel underappreciated. Hold a social media contest for the best story about fatherhood.

On social media in general, you should bring out the biggest humor guns you have. If there’s a day that’s custom-built for dad jokes, it’s this one.

(Remember how June is Pride Month? Don’t ignore families with two fathers! Double the dads, double the fun.)

Hashtags to use: #fathersday #dad #father #fathersdaygift

Juneteenth — 19 June

Target audience: Americans

Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery. Not your typical retail holiday, Juneteenth is your chance not to upsell or cross-sell, but to increase awareness.

Host or participate in local festivals, parades, cookouts, and contests.

Hashtags to use: #fundraiser #nationalfreedomday #juneteenth

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July

retail calendar 2020 july holidays

Summer break

Independence Day may be July’s only holiday of note, but what a holiday it is! Picnics, barbecue and, of course, fireworks — what’s not to like? Prepare the barrage of special deals, discounts, and promotions.

Independence Day — 4 July

Target audience: Americans

This is a time to inject some patriotism into the veins of your shop and celebrate all things stars and stripes. Flags, Budweiser, hotdogs, cookies, fireworks and BBQs — the list goes on. The more festive, the merrier.

Instead of arranging products in the shape of a boring old pyramid, why not try something more creative and patriotic? Say, Statue of Liberty. This may be a bit on the kitschy side, not to mention time-consuming, but the results will be awe-inspiring.

Hashtags to use: #independendecay #fourthofjuly #4thofjuly

Bastille Day — 14 July

Target audience: French people

This is the national day of France, with an official name of le 14 juillet. Frenchify your products by offering wine and cheese tastings, throwing a costume party or even reenacting scenes from history.

If you’re a board game shop, why not use tabletop armies of Orks and Tyranids instead of royal army and revolutionaries? Use your imagination.

Hashtags to use: #bastille #bastilleday #france

Parent’s Day — 28 July

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August

retail calendar 2020 august holidays

Last taste of summer

Just when Summer is about to find its groove, August is here and we got no more than 31 days to enjoy the last taste of sunshine.

International Beer Day — 2 August

Book Lover’s Day — 9 August

Target audience: well, book lovers (it’s right there in the name)

This one is easy: organize book giveaways and free book readings, encourage book clubs and give massive discounts. How about organizing a reading competition or asking people for their favorite books from this year? You can create a list of top 2020 books — and make people debate and argue which book is better.

Hashtags to use: #books #bookday #freebooks

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September

retail calendar 2020 september holidays

New season

This is a month that is met with groans and heavy sighs from students around the world. It’s back to school, baby! Not only that, but the air gets much cooler and rains much colder.

Labor Day — 2 September

Patriot Day — 11 September

Target audience: Americans

Not to be confused with Patriot’s Day on 20 April! This is a commemoration day in memory of the people killed in the September 11 attacks.

This isn’t a day for upselling. Focus your energy on caring for the community.

Hashtags to use: #rememberance #nineeleven #patriotday #usa

Oktoberfest — 21 September

Target audience: Germans and beer lovers

If you’re an owner of a brewery or pub, this is your day. Host a costume party with beer-chugging contests and live music, and present a selection of your best beer.

Hashtags to use: #oktoberfest #beer #beerfestival #craftbeer

Yom Kippur — 27-28 September

Coffee Day — 29 September

Target audience: coffee connoisseurs

Coffee brews, coffee machines and utilities, cups and mugs — these are your tickets on Coffee Day. Make a promotion or collaborate with a local donut shop for additional value (“Three donuts give you a free cup of coffee”).

Go hog wild on social media: post some relatable memes and jokes mixed with educational content (“It’s called espresso, not expresso!”) and personal stories. People are passionate about coffee, an

Hashtags to use: #coffee #cupcoffee #drinkcoffee #drinkingcoffee

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October

retail calendar 2020 october holidays

Trick or treat

Halloween isn’t the only holiday of note in October, but you can damned well be sure we will be writing about it here.

Columbus Day — 14 October

Target audience: anyone who wants to keep his job :)

This is an opportunity to liven up the atmosphere with quirky office gifts: T-shirts, posters and mugs with ironic prints. How about a punching bag or a stress ball? Or better yet, people might need some party utilities.

Don’t forget self-employed people! What freelancer wouldn’t want a mug saying “WORLD’S GREATEST BOSS”?

Hashtags to use: #bossday #officelife #colleagues

National Boss Day — 16 October

Red Ribbon Week — 22-28 October

Target audience: youth

Red Ribbon Week is a campaign meant to raise the anti-drug prevention awareness. Once again, this is your chance to donate to community and organize charity events.

Hashtags to use: #redribbons #redribbonday

Halloween — 31 October

Target audience: kids, parents, party organizers and partygoers

Preparing your store for Halloween is a no-brainer: just spookify the atmosphere in your store with costumes and masks, candies, candles, horror movies, mysterious music, decorations, and pumpkins.

Share some bloody punch recipes on social media or carve a pumpkin with your logo on it. If you’re bold enough, you can even change the copy on your website: instead of “great prices”, put “shiver-inducing prices”.

Put some “fun” in “funeral”.

Read our article for more Halloween tips.

Hashtags to use: #halloween #happyhalloween #ghoststories #halloweencandy #halloweenparty

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November

retail calendar 2020 november holidays

Movember

Ever wanted to grow out a beard? Movember is the best time of the year to try this. Whether it’s a thin goatee or a full-on beard, be thankful for what you have: when November comes, the spirit of Thanksgiving is in the air.

It’s not only about trying on new beard styles: you can try new things in marketing too, like finding influencers who can reach your audience.

Veteran’s Day — 11 November

Thanksgiving — 26 November

Target audience: Americans

Thanksgiving is a universally understood holiday. Celebrate American culture and history by organizing festive events and fostering a sense of closeness and community. Perhaps instead of eating or selling turkey, you can donate to animal charity?

Hashtags to use: #thanksgiving #happythanksgiving #thanksgivingday #turkey

Black Friday — 27 November

Target audience: shoppers

Black Friday is a day associated with enormous discounts and promotions — so do that. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Just make sure your customers are safe, by employing a reliable queue management system. You don’t want your visitors get injured on this day.

Read our article for more Black Friday tips.

Hashtags to use: #blackfriday #blackfridaydeals #blackfridaysale #blackfridayweekend

Small Business Saturday — 28 November

Target audience: local shoppers

Small Business Saturday is Black Friday, just on a local level. The same things apply: discounts, promotions, and safety concerns. Collaborate with other local shops to bring your marketing efforts to a whole new level.

Read our article for more Small Business Saturday tips.

Hashtags to use: #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smallbizsat #smallbusinesssaturday

Cyber Monday — 30 November

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December

retail calendar 2020 december holidays

Holiday season

December — the mother of all holiday seasons — is a hectic month, to say the least. So many holidays to keep in mind, but don’t give up, you can almost make out the finish line. End the year with a bang, by exceeding everyone’s, even your own, expectations.

Giving Tuesday — 1 December

Christmas Card Day — 9 December

Green Monday — 14 December

Hanukkah — 23-30 December

Target audience: Jewish people

Make sure you understand what Hanukkah stands for. It is not related to Christmas, although it does focus on family gatherings.

Prepare your stock accordingly: candles, decorations and all things that help create a cozy atmosphere. Incorporate blue and silver into your store layout, as these are traditional Hanukkah colors.

You can use some of the objects of Hanukkah — like dreidels — into ads and social media, although make sure not to come across as exploitative and culturally insensitive.

Hashtags to use: #hanukkah #happyhanukkah #chanukah #menorah #happyholidays

Christmas Eve — 24 December

Christmas Day — 25 December

Target audience: everyone

Christmas is a holiday you should be preparing for all year round. No one knows better what your shop needs to sell and promote on Christmas than you.

A bit of advice: green and red are the traditional colors of Christmas, but you can add gold and silver, too.

Also, turning Christmas music on is a nice way to create a festive atmosphere. Try to mix it up a bit, as there’s only so many times in a row a man can hear White Christmas and not go insane.

Read our article for more Christmas tips.

Hashtags to use: #merrychristmas #christmasparty #holiday #christmas #christmasgift #happyholidays

Kwanzaa — 26 December

Target audience: African diaspora

Kwanzaa is a day of giving gifts of cultural significance: books, costumes, musical instruments, etc. As a retailer, you’d do better to create an experience rather than commercialize this holiday. Announce your plan to give back to the community or donate to charity.

Hashtags to use: #kwanzaa #7principles #happyholidays

Boxing Day — 26 December

New Year’s Eve — 31 December

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Declare your own retail holiday

Can’t think of a great tie-in promotion for any of the events? Then declare a retail holiday of your own!

Small Business Saturday was started by American Express as a way to celebrate local retail shops. What’s stopping you from coming up with Recycled Gift Day, when you give your loved ones eco-friendly presents from recycled materials?

(Wait, that’s actually good. Dammit, we should’ve trademarked that!)

Whichever holiday you end up with, you will probably need the help of a powerful queue management tool to keep track of customers and offer them a superior experience.

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Any holidays we’ve missed? Be sure to let us know in the comment section below.

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