Story ideas for December: Holiday ideas from reader involvement to hard news stories

Tis’ the season for giving. And for reader engagement.

The holidays are officially here and the opportunities to get readers to share their content with your news organization is at an all-time high because of all of the holiday activities around us.

We’ve rounded up a bunch of good ideas any size media company could pull off.

1. Create a map of all of those holiday lights readers will submit. Contests are obviously golden this time of the year. 

2. Elf on the Shelf can take over parents’ lives for the next few weeks. So ask parents in a quiz what their Elf on the Shelf style is.

3. Christmas ornaments can have deep meaning for people. So ask readers to share info about their favorite ornaments. It could turn into a nice lifestyle piece.

4. Somewhat but not totally similar, is this idea by The Washington Post where they rounded up fun Christmas traditions from readers. This could also turn into a list of the ways you can create new traditions with your family.

5. While much of the holiday is fun, Santa photos for small children are anything but. This is a pretty funny gallery of readers sharing their children horrified by Santa.

6. Pets always make for a good gallery. Always. Ask readers to submit their efforts of dressing up their cute pets for the holiday.

7. Christmas trees, stockings and the list could go on and on of things readers are proud of putting up or together during the holiday. So ask them to share those things. This is a nice gallery of reader-submitted Christmas trees.

8. Ugly sweaters are all the rage: Holiday parties, specialty days and more. Ask readers to share their favorites.

Other December-related story ideas

9. Plumbers report the holidays are busy times, usually because of turkey getting stuck in the drain. Find out how busy it is and offer readers tips on how to avoid having to make the call to have a plumber come out.

10. Bad checks are on the rise during the holidays. Find out what kind of problem it is in your community, how local businesses manage it and how many they get, as well as things consumers can do to avoid writing them.

11. How much does it cost to get a Christmas tree in your area? Look at the price points at different lots and experiences (like cutting down your own). Last year, some reported a lack of trees. Is that going to be an issue in your town this year? A good piece by the New York Times.

12. Lists are helpful during the holiday, especially when they can help readers navigate their busy lives. Consider a list of lists: Top events and festivals, best small towns to visit, Santa visits and more. Look at your calendar and consider how you could break apart your calendar into different lists per some of the topics noted above.