Think of it as the online equivalent of decorating your workplace for the holidays.
I recently decorated my website, and I had to stop and ask myself why I did that. Why, with all the many projects on my plate, did I take time to email my webmaster and ask him to put a Santa cap on my logo?
Well, I had a business reason, although I had to tease that reason out of the deepest corners of my brain.
It has to do with clients -- the reason, after all, that we're in business. I wanted to give them a little joy at this time of year.
As Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen so bluntly puts it, we decorate websites for the holidays because we "respect users as human beings, rather than simply as 'eyeballs' or a source of e-commerce transactions. Commemorating special events is a way for websites to connect to users and be seen as welcoming environments, rather than places focused solely on money grubbing."
Yep, I suppose there are more "important" (read: "money grubbing" - heh) projects I could have been working on. But it took me no more than 10 minutes to send off an email and later approve the decorated logo.
For a 10-minute investment of my time, and maybe 30 minutes of my Webmaster's time, it's a bargain if in a small way it conveys respect to clients and readers. In the end, treating my clients like human beings is one of THE most important things I can do at this time of year.
PS, I'm keeping a running list of sites that have decorated for the holidays -- go here and take the virtual holiday decoration tour.