Given that people really can shop till they drop today (and tonight), it is strange that the siege mentality still takes hold at Christmas. People panic buy, and they spend more, spend differently and spend in different places. The most important thing is to make sure that you get a piece of the action and the best way to do this is to be proactive. Here are a few suggestions: l Circulate your seasonal offers in a leaflet drop. Leaflets act not only as a reminder to your old customers but as incentives to new ones. l Keep the leaflet simple and punchy and remember to mention any new service (ATM/phonecards). l Remind customers of your long trading hours ­ remember that siege mentality. l Reinforce your message with an ad in the local paper. l Deck the halls ­ it shows you've made an effort. People might say they're sick of it all, but they're not really. The winter solstice is at its deepest, so a little light goes a long way. Buy your more outgoing staff some Christmas bell earrings or reindeer antlers. It will create a talking point. A good atmosphere makes for more sales. l Organise a tasting of a new line. The multiples do, and not because they want to give away food. l Christmas is a good time for cross-promotions. Make sure your promotions stand out by using shelf talkers, dump bins or off-shelf displays. l Give the checkout area the once-over. We all know its impulse factor role, but that often gets overlooked. So, if you are stocking any gift lines consider dual siting near the checkout or, if they are too big, draw up a sign. {{GROCER CLUB }}