So This Is How We Celebrate Christmas Today: Pop Up Bars?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Let me guess: The folks in this image from a place called Elf’d Up were sort of formally coached (and professionally dressed up and made up) to demonstrate the holiday spirit.

Let it not be said that The PRDude is a curmudgeonly Grinch when it comes to sharing thoughts and memories related to the Christmas holiday.

After all, this space has published a plethora of sorts of Christmas-focused posts over the years. Here are six:

  • A 2016 perspective based on the long-running Christmas Extravaganza gig put on by me and my mates from Chicago cover band Love House. (Free December 22? We’re playing Fitzgerald’s Side Bar.)
  • A video featuring an original Christmas song performed by — me on Christmas Eve 2014 — was my gift to you four years ago.  (Please excuse the questionable audio/visual quality; hope to re-record some day.)
  • In 2012, I grappled with the question: “What’s new this Christmas? Learn what I found in this post. (And, yes, I’m still looking for more answers.)
  • Once upon a time, there were no blogs and no one had personal computers; but we found reason for joy at Christmas.  I recall a favorite memory in a 2011 retrospective. (The story presented — very much true — still resonates.)
  • During my search for “that next great job in public relations,” I wrote what I hope was an inspirational commentary in 2010. (Sometimes we should be thankful for more than physical stuff.)
  • And, in this 2009 post, I injected some humor (it’s there, trust me) in an argument that Santa Claus is supported by sound public relations counsel.  (Okay, maybe I had a holiday glass of wine or two while writing this one.)

Each of these six posts — some corny, some serious, all heartfelt — have kind of a traditional scope (friendship, memories, thankfulness), and hopefully will resonate over the years.

That’s why I was somewhat taken aback by an online article I read this week on Block Club Chicago, an excellent locally-focused digital news source. The subject of the piece published December 5: Pop up holiday bars.

Yes, pop up — meaning not designed for permanence — establishments where you can ring in the Christmas holidays in a “fully curated” (my interpretation) environment, but one that will vanish and be recreated to celebrate the next holiday, possibly featuring all things Super Bowl Sunday or Groundhog Day.

Hey, I enjoy bars, restaurants or any business establishment that makes a concerted effort to decorate for the holidays and provide a festive environment.  But, I find it somewhat disconcerting that a business would market itself as a “holiday destination” — then get discarded like spent wrapping paper.  Where’s the permanence? How could these places build tradition, inspire memories, knowing they’ll be gone in January?

Wishing the pop up businesses success this season; they are businesses, and businesses are designed to make a profit.  Just call me old-fashioned, but please don’t call me the Grinch-that-wants-to pull the plug on-Christmas-pop up-bars.

















What’s New to Say About Christmas: A Blog of Sorts

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

If you’re reading this post the evening of December 25, 2013, then one of the following scenarios must be taking place:
1. Your Christmas celebration is over, and you’re bored.  Very bored.

2. You’ve seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” so many times you no longer care if George gets his life back, or if Clarence ever gets his wings.Christmas-2013

3. You’ve given up on trying to assemble your kid’s new bike and need to do something sane — like stare at a flat screen monitor.

Or, perhaps you haven’t heard from The PRDude in a few days and you need some provocative, witty insight on modern strategic public relations before closing out your Christmas holiday.  You know, a “Christmas” blog.

Well, I had hoped to comply with a post offering new insight on some aspect of Christmas and public relations, but frankly folks, it just ain’t coming.  I’ve stared out into the cold, snowy Chicago night sky and all I see are streetlights and snow.  All I hear is quiet.

I’ve been successful in the past.


What’s more commercial or artificial than a 6-foot “silver laser tree.” There was still one available tonight for $81.27

In 2009, I published this post sharing insight on Santa Claus’ use of public relations counsel.  That was followed by an admittedly sappy blog of “reflective” thoughts the following year.  And, a 2011 post was an account of my days as a young reporter working on Christmas Day many years ago.

Thoughts have crossed my mind:

  • Write about how Christmas has become decidedly commercial and artificial, pointing out how some public relations practices probably contribute! Yea, like that subject hasn’t been covered before.
  • Recount your favorite holiday songs! Which songs?  I like a lot of them; besides, none are about public relations, and I don’t believe anyone’s written “All I Want for Christmas is a Wall Street Journal Placement.”

So, this is what I’ve decided to do: Stroll out into the  cold, snowy Chicago night, amidst the streetlights and snow.  I hope all I hear is quiet.

If I run into you, I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas.