Should My Martial Arts School Celebrate Holidays?
Holidays are a time for celebration, honoring and building community. From a sociological perspective, holidays serve as opportunities to increase social bonds and to give people time off work, leading to better health, well-being and happiness. For many people who are members at membership-based businesses such as martial arts schools, one of the things they may look forward to doing is attending a class during a holiday.
So how do we balance well-being for you and your staff members, while keeping your students happy and coming back for more? Here we break down the different factors you should think about to decide whether your martial arts school should celebrate holidays or not.
Holidays, Holidays, Holidays
To decide whether you teach classes during holidays or not, you really have to look at the purpose and function of holidays. While Christmas and New Year’s may create the biggest holiday period of the year, many of the other holidays we celebrate go towards honoring legacies like Martin Luther King Jr Day or Memorial Day, for example, or religious holidays like Easter or many other cultural practices. Holidays serve as an opportunity to build connections with your immediate and extended circles and that includes the other members of your martial arts school.
One big function of holidays, however, is for people to get a break from work. By staying open, you are able to please your members but your staff may not love the fact that they have to work. Another aspect to think about is the increase in pay you need to offer your staff for working on statutory holidays.
To learn more about holidays, check out this book by Amitai Etzioni and Jared Bloom, called We Are What We Celebrate. They discuss the “important role such celebrations play in maintaining a moral order as well as in cementing family bonds, building community relations and creating national identity”.
Community Building Opportunities
Celebrating holidays with your martial arts school members is a great way to build community within your school and really develop that family-based culture successful martial arts schools have. Hosting thematic events for certain holidays can be a great source of referrals, especially if you encourage your members to bring friends along.
For example, during Christmas time, a secret Santa game can do wonders for your members, while helping them get to know someone else a bit better. Just make sure you set the price limit low, to make it accessible and affordable and to emphasize thoughtful gifts, rather than expensive ones. Have low entry fees during the holidays can also entice friends, family and other potential students to join drop-ins or purchase memberships during this period.
As Always, it Depends
Some schools don’t have long hours for their instructors, while others may be more of a full-time job. Different instructors and staff members may also have differing opinions on wanting to work on holidays or not. If your instructors don’t have a heavy workload, they might want to teach during holidays and some instructors just want to work as much as possible, no matter how time much they are already spending at the dojo. Feel it out and see how your staff feels about holidays. It just might make the decision for you. As many holidays are also geared towards family, school owners and managers are highly encouraged to get involved.
Find a Balance
At the end of the day, you want the best of both worlds. Picking and choosing different holidays to stay open and closed might work out really well for your martial arts school. Pick the ones that are best at building community. Attending a Memorial Day or Remembrance Day event as a school is a great way to teach the importance of respect to your students. A food drive or setting up a food station for people in need in your community can show your students the importance of giving back to the community. Pick and choose, to maximize your staff getting a rest, you boosting your community, and to keep your students happy.