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Whether it's baking cookies, making crafts or trimming the tree, Christmas is a time to spend 'offline' with family and friends. But it's also a wonderful time for companies to establish themselves online; one needs simply to point to the success of websites like the NORAD Santa Tracker and Elf Yourself to show just how powerful the digital space can be for marketers.

The good news is there's still lots of room at the table for other brands to make their mark this holiday season.

Take Zulu Alpha Kilo, for example, an advertising agency located in Toronto. They recently launched Kringl, a 'proof of Santa video app' that provides users with a pre-selected scene which can be overlaid on a film shot in the user's living room. Santa can be oriented within the room and lighting adjusted to match his surroundings, establishing the idea that Santa is, indeed, in your home.

Similar to Elf Yourself, this free app leverages the popular trend of user-generated content, allowing Santa Claus to become something personal for each user while creating very shareable content. The app also embodies the seasonal theme of goodwill by giving users the option to donate to Make-A-Wish Canada. Kringl effectively celebrates the holidays in a way that's personal, shareable and in-line with the giving season.

Also embodying the idea of goodwill, IKEA Switzerland developed an online initiative called No Empty Chairs at Christmas. The company's website acts as a holiday dinner matchmaking service, ensuring people won't have to be alone between Dec. 24 and 26.

This digital platform enables anyone finding themselves on their own for the holidays the chance to either host or guest, and becoming a part of IKEA's unique experience.

WestJet scored a bona fide hit with its 'Christmas miracle' video, in which unsuspecting passengers are surprised with personalized gifts from Santa at the end of their flights.

In this video, WestJet vice-president Richard Bartrem talks about how their annual video has become a part of their internal culture, taking months to plan and involving more than 150 WestJetters internally.

"Our culture at WestJet is all about fun, friendly, and caring and our team… really knocked it out of the park," said Mr. Bartrem in his video. Sure the program surprised some lucky passengers and resonated with video viewers, but a big part of its value is the internal team-building and the employee pride that results from this annual program.

With the digital space constantly allowing for fresh and new activations, brands need to constantly reinvent themselves. It's not just about positioning your brand with a seasonal angle this time of year, but becoming known for it – establishing a new idea that is contextually in-line with what consumers are looking for. Taking this strategy can't help but snowball into success this holiday season.

Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

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