seasonal searches

Seasonal pages and SEO strategy: what works best?

How should sites plan their SEO strategies for seasonal events, which tend to be very competitive? 

The obvious example is Christmas, but recurring events like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and sporting occasions like the Grand National all provide spikes in traffic and interest which brands should look to take advantage of. 

Using examples for Christmas-related search terms, I’ll look at the best strategy for ranking for such competitive events. 

Broadly speaking, the answer is to publish early and not to mess with the pages too much.