26 November 2016 Bec Derrington

As we inch closer to December, you may have started to notice the subtle (not) references to Christmas adorn our shopping strips, malls and supermarkets. Like a Jacaranda in full bloom is to a student facing exams (you possibly need to be from Queensland to get this analogy), this is a sign you've let your run too late if you're hoping to piggyback Santa's news sack.

However, Christmas isn't the only occasion we celebrate at this time of year. Some other reindeer you can lasso in December include…


With statistics like ‘1 in 10 Aussie men will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime’, it's not as much of a shock to hear that bowel cancer is Australia's second biggest cancer killer. To help raise money to fund public awareness campaigns and vital research, Decembeard is a hair-raising fundraiser that encourages men to grow a beard in December (to join up with the moustache they grew in November). 

For anyone providing health and nutrition advice, it might be a good time for you to proactively get in touch with the media with tip sheets and guidelines on the sort of diet and health regime you’d recommend adopting for a healthy bowel. (Perhaps you could also provide expert comment on recent research that linked a food additive to a growth of colon cancer in mice.)

World AIDS Day (1 December)

As one of the most globally recognised events of the year, World AIDS Day aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. It’s often a day of reflection on those who’ve died of this horrible disease and a day to show support for people living with HIV. And for those of us who offer relevant support or medical services and are hoping to get your name in the media’s headlights, you could prepare up-to-date statistics on the success or otherwise of our current treatments, insights into how we’re tackling this issue, new information on preventative measures and antiretroviral therapy, and research highlighting the stigma that remains (after all these years) for those living with HIV.

International Day of People with Disability (3 December)

Every year, people around the globe take this opportunity to acknowledge the valuable contribution people of all abilities make to our community. The theme for this year is: 'Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want', which references '17 Sustainable Development Goals' and how they can help create a more inclusive, equitable world for people with disabilities. This is a wonderful initiative and one that (I believe) the media would happily promote if disability support services offered up case studies demonstrating what’s achievable and examples of relevant services that are available for people with disabilities.

Human Rights Day (10 December)

Perhaps more timely than ever, Human Rights Day is an annual event that celebrates the basic rights of all humans, and reminds us that many are still fighting for many basic rights we take for granted. And this year, UN Women hosted an ‘Orange the World’ event at the UN Headquarters in New York to kick off 16 days of activism starting on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) and ending on Human Rights Day (10 December). The initiative aims to raise awareness and money to help end violence against women and girls.

If you’re an expert on human rights, domestic violence or any related issues or support services, now is your chance to get your voice heard.

Christmas Day (25 December)

‘nuff said.

Buy Nothing Christmas

Like every year, I expect we’ll be inundated with special offers and promotions to BUY MORE STUFF! But there’s an anti-consumerism movement, which started in Canada, that’s growing in popularity globally as more and more people opt of out the spending craze that is Christmas.

This might appeal to mental health professionals who can discuss the unnecessary emotional and financial stress that gift buying brings along with it each year. You could also offer up tips on how to get through the Christmas period in a 'happier' place.

The 12 Do's of Christmas

Since most of us will (nevertheless) opt to buy more, travel more and eat more than at any other time of the year, Planet Ark has come up with 12 actions - the 12 Do's of Christmas - to help reduce the environmental and financial impact of the festive period. Many of these ‘do’s’ involve recycling, reusing, recharging and minimising waste. If this message is synonymous with your own, take this opportunity to get some cut through with the media.

No Gender December

Started by advocacy group Play Unlimited, this campaign aims to end the segregation of toys along gender lines. This might be a perfect opportunity for the retailers or manufacturers among us to make a fuss about (ie. highlight to the press) your toys that are not promoted to a particular gender or the marketing techniques you’re engaging in that display an active move away from gendered marketing of toys to children.

Whether or not you can piggyback your message on any of these end-of-year events, I'm hoping that just by sharing some suggestions, it's helped you think creatively about how you can make more of what's happening this month, and every month. Until next month...(good grief, it's 2017!)...