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Before we start talking about all the upcoming wonderful and exciting special advertising sections and events, I’d like to pay homage to the Thanksgiving just past.

For many people, Thanksgiving is their most favorite holiday...and until this Thanksgiving, I never really got it. My memories of Thanksgivings as a child were bleak. The gathering of our dysfunctional clan at Aunt Sis’s dark, dank and musty old gothic Victorian in Oakland California was...well...dark and dank. My aunt, who had a real affection for the bottle, is remembered yelling at her quiet and withdrawn husband and us kids. My mother, always the in-law, just sort of stayed out of the way. Grandma, or Momo as we called her, generally kept to herself in the overstuffed chair in the living room. The only bright spot was Aunt Lilly who was genuinely curious about us kids, witty, full of laughter, and always had a mischievous glint in her eye. The children usually retreated to an upstairs room where we hid out until supper...which, as it turns out, offered no respite. Even the meal was abysmal...the turkey was always dry and overcooked and conversation around the table was strained or absent. And good ole Aunt Sis never offered up left-over turkey and the fixings for any of us to take home. That, deservedly so, earned her the infamous nickname of ‘no turkey’. Heck, I haven’t referred to her in years by any other name.

thanksgiving

Well, I found myself back in California this Thanksgiving after a 40 plus year hiatus. After hooking up with my son in St. Louis for a family wedding, we gathered at our cousin’s house in Healdsburg in the heart of the wine country. Four generations came together. As we sat around the table one followed the other in giving thanks...and to a person, we all gave thanks for the sweetness of our lives...and for our shared company. There was laughter, affection, warmth and a genuine sense of family...and the turkey was delicious!! So.

Life is becoming clearer and richer now as I get older. Much like viewing a landscape through a view finder or scope, that which surrounds me now has greater depth, clarity and texture. Cousins are dear, nephews are cherished, my sister has become a good friend and companion, and my son is becoming a human being. After all, as he would say now, “Dad, I am 21 now…you know”. Thank God for small favors. Even my estranged sister is hovering just outside the circle of family looking to join in...again.

So now, I think I too will adopt Thanksgiving as my most favorite holiday



Upcoming Special Sections and The
BIG BANG FOR YOUR BUCK Time of the Year


THE SPRING AND SUMMER ACTIVITY GUIDE (the SSAG)

swimmerAs most of you folks are out shopping, feasting, or sleeping with dreams of sugar plumbs dancing in your heads in the upcoming weeks, we at The KD will be thinking about summer camps, fencing and swim lessons, day camps and enrichment activities of all kinds.....all things Spring and Summer. You see, we are always a few months ahead...always thinking about what comes next.

For us, what’s next is the January kick off of the Spring and Summer Activity Guide (SSAG) and a deadline of December 14th. The SSAG is Houston’s Advertising Gold Standard for business’ that market spring and summer activities to Houston’s families. It runs from January through June. We have testimonials galore from a host of advertisers who will swear that SSAG has been the single most important part of their advertising program. So whether you are Mr. Clint’s Texas Snakes and More, Houston Arboretum, School of the Woods, Writers in the Schools or...you name it, we invite you to join one of Houston’s most celebrated special advertising sections. So.

camp

As you contemplate your advertising program for this next year, give some thought to your individual marketing needs. For example, summer resident camps often start their big advertising push in December and January. Summer enrichment programs look to start increasing the print advertising in February or March. Schools generally have a marketing push in January and February and then again at the end of summer and first of fall. Drop-in camps/programs sometimes wait for their big push until say, April or May. Every business has its own unique marketing requirements. While I would encourage virtually all advertisers to maintain a presence in the KD all of the time, I would also say that certain times of the year need special emphasis and attention. In all cases, it is all about thinking ahead. As we look around the next corner, before you know it, winter will be gone and parents and kids will be scrambling about looking for interesting fun things to do. They will all be looking for the SSAG and The Kid’s Directory. Don’t wait to advertise until after families have already made their activity decisions. As an old and very dear friend of mine used to say...“Snooze...you lose.”

THE EARLY ENROLLMENT GUIDE
(the EEG)
And there is more. In January and February we will also run the special section entitled The Early Enrollment Guide. This is really just for schools that push for an enrollment spurt in January and February. We now know, as do a lot of schools, that parents looking forward to the upcoming fall have come to see these months as the time to decide where their kids will be going to school. So for schools looking to increase their fall enrollment, The KD is just the place you ought to be.

chalkboard

In cadence with the notion of...well...two birds with one stone...keep in mind that a family will often use a school’s summer program to assess whether it is the best place for their kid(s) in the fall. So schools, there are the two birds (that be your summer programs/camps and fall enrollment)...and the stone...well, that be The KD.


NOW FOR THE BIG BANG FOR YOUR BUCK THEORYbigbang
We are coming up on one the most active times of the year for special family events. Last year we had The Showcase for Private Schools in January, The Katy Mills Summer Camp Expo in February, The HEB Houston Children’s Festival (this is the really big one in downtown Houston) on April 1st & 2nd, and the Baby and Family Expo in May. We are lining up the dates of these events and any others that we think are an appropriate venue for our advertisers and will keep all of you informed through newsletters and our website (www.kids-houston.com). However...what is important for you to know here is the Big Bang Theory. Our participation in these events means that we overprint The Kid’s Directories...like crazy...which is great news for our advertisers who simply get a much bigger Bang for their Buck!!

 

It’s all about our passion for ‘Win - Win’ situations. The upcoming months offer wonderful special sections that enjoy a tremendous following AND increased circulation...all for the same advertising dollar. What’s not to like?


thefreebies

Hidden within the text this time...so you can’t just go to the end of the newsletter to find out what we have in our coffers of free stuff. I am encouraging you to read on all that is happening in The Kid’s Directory world...so this time I put this section sort of in the middle.

As is always the case, freebies are for our advertisers or those who we can bribe...or hope to bribe to advertise in the future. We have a lot of tickets this time around so just call and ask...even if the likelihood of advertising is remote or distant. We don’t want the tickets and passes to go to waste.

HERE IS WHAT WE HAVE:

Houston Aeros

go to the website (www.aeros.com) and choose which home game you would like to attend

Playhouse Disney
December 30 - 6:30 pm show ONLY!

Santa’s Wonderland
through December 31st

Schlitterbahn (Indoor)
through April 15

Monster Jam
January 5

Harlem Globetrotters
February 8 & 9


Our Most Wondrous Distributors
As discussed in the last newsletter (see our website for a read), there are changes afoot at The KD. What’s coming will be a lot about a new, fresher and upgraded look to our publications. But the upcoming change is more about an enhanced and better distribution system. And that’s happening now! Over this past month, those who manage the company and our distribution have met with every one of our distributors and charged them with a ‘mission’. In these meetings I talked about how The KD started with the philosophy of a servant...that our job is to make sure every single advertiser is supported through distribution. In the beginning, every time a new advertiser came on board, I would make sure that distribution within the advertiser’s market area was set up or improved. Some of our distributors have been with us for over 7 years so they get it. But there are some new folks that neither Sam or I have met deliverywith before...so now, they get it too.

The ‘mission’ is to fulfill a promise: to make sure your advertising dollars work better than they have ever worked before. All distribution routes are being evaluated so that the over 4500 points of distribution are all locations that benefit our advertisers. All of the distributors are charged with the responsibility of expanding and refining their distribution routes, finding more and better outlets to get in front of more of your potential customers. So, if when you open the door to your business in the near future, step outside and see KD distributors scurrying about everywhere and The Kid’s Directory publications in all those spots you yourself would like your business to be represented, don’t be surprised. The KD is simply doing its job.


Another Word About Our
Graphics Deptgraphicguy

What was mentioned in my last newsletter bears a second notice. I want to encourage any of you folks in receipt of this newsletter or who might see it on our web site, who have a pending or anticipated need for graphics work or printing, to give us a call. Our production department is available...well; they are until they begin to get backed up with work. We offer up our rather extensive expertise to the general public so long as they can live with our first priority...to produce The Kid’s Directory every month. In times past, the graphics department was overwhelmed with The KD work and a separate customer base so we hired an additional graphics person. Until they get real busy again, there are opportunities for all of you to take advantage of our excess capacity and much reduced rates. We can also probably save you a lot of money on your printing...again, so long as it is a large enough job. You can call us (713-663-7555) or email (publisher@kids-houston.com or sam@kids-houston.com).


A Final Note about ‘due dates’
calendarSome months ago, The KD changed its due date from the end of the month (net 30) to the 20th of each month (net 20). We did this to avoid a bottle neck at the end of the month. As we were laying out the upcoming issues we found that we were spending a lot of time on the phone asking that past due invoices be paid so that a customer’s advertising could be continued into the next month. This created a flurry of activity that upset the normal flow of things as advertisers stopped by with their checks or asked us to process credit card payments. So we thought that we’d push the due date up so that The KD and our advertisers would not be caught up in last minute craziness. Please help us maintain our sanity and avoid those pesky $10 late fees by getting your payment to us by the 20th of the month. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in making our operation more efficient and productive.


Freebies: in the spirit of a treasure hunt the freebies have been hidden within the pages of this newsletter...Good Luck!!

Well, that sort of wraps it up. For updates on the information provided here, go to our web site or call the office. Thank you, as always, for your loyal patronage over these past 18 years. It has been our pleasure to serve you and we always look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Robert Spott - Publisher
713-663-7555
publisher@kids-houston.com
kd



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