Fall always provides a necessary transition between the bright, sunny summer days and the winter wonderland of Nebraska that often signals the holiday season has arrived. It is truly unappealing for most of us busy people to consider that very soon, the beautiful mild weather and festive colors will disappear before we have had ample time to enjoy them and even more stressful to think of all of the necessary holiday preparations that will need to be made in the near future. However, to do your holiday party or gift buying justice (and even though it feels like a strange time to do so or you may not even want to think about it yet) right now is the best time to start planning certain aspects of your event or making arrangements for some really great gifts. While you don’t have to start listening to carols or chopping down a tree quite yet, other things–like securing the best venue or event planner to handle the details of your party for you, or pre-ordering and personalizing the perfect gift—are best done as early as possible.
Decisions, Decisions: Planning for Your 2013 Holiday Party
Choosing a Venue
When considering the “when and where” aspect of your holiday party, the where usually comes first and somewhat determines the options for when. That is why planning and booking your desired venue early is so important. There are many great choices in Lincoln, and we have included some great options to get you started.
Deborah Carroll of Country Inn & Suites agrees that when choosing and booking a venue, you should book as early as possible in order to get the facility you desire but also many times you can also take advantage of early booking fee rates. For example, Country Inn & Suites offers a discounted room rental rate on their banquet space for early bookings. Regarding their facilities and what they have to offer, Carroll says, “We love the holidays at Country Inns & Suites/Beacon Hills. We have some lovely venues for holiday gatherings, but one of my favorites is our Board Room. It accommodates smaller gatherings (15-32 guests) and features a gas fireplace so it makes those small holiday parties or family gatherings feel truly intimate and cozy. We have seen an increase over the last couple of seasons of office holiday parties or corporate holiday events, and it is wonderful that people are once again taking time to enjoy the season and spend time not only with family but with co-workers and friends. We also love to assist with your decorating ideas, from a winter celebration themes (icy, snowy, blues and whites, etc.) and to the traditional holiday décor–we can accommodate most of these requests. The staff at Country Inn & Suites caters to our clients by taking care of all the setup and decorating details, as well as meal planning, so they can concentrate on planning the entertainment for the event and simply enjoying themselves.”
Crystal Meister of The Apothecary adds that by planning your holiday party early, you not only get a better choice of available dates but it also allows you time to notify your employees of the date and place of your holiday party and thereby allow everyone ample time to plan ahead and arrange their busy holiday schedules accordingly. Meister emphasizes that The Apothecary Lofts and Ridnour Room are three gorgeous venues that provide a perfect location for both your corporate or family holiday parties. She adds, “The Apothecary Lofts have an intimate, warm setting with beautiful brick walls, an open wooden-beamed ceiling, plush carpeting, fireplace, and even a bedroom suite, complete with whirlpool, for overnight stays! Throughout the holiday season, the Apothecary Lofts will be beautifully decorated with holiday décor for that extra special touch. Many corporations prefer to host their holiday party in our facilities to eliminate the business-look and give their employees a relaxing environment to celebrate the holiday season. Families enjoy hosting their gatherings in our facilities because they don’t have to worry about cleaning their house for company or finding enough seating for everyone….we take care of those details! Another major advantage of hosting a holiday party in any of our venues is that outside food and beverages are allowed. Instead of restricting who can provide the food and alcohol, we let every client choose whomever they desire. This not only drastically increases your options; it also results in huge savings on food and alcohol. When preparing for events including holiday parties, we will meet with each client to determine which of our three facilities would be most ideal for their particular party. Closer to the event, we discuss details to ensure the facilities’ setups meet their expectations and needs. Again, utilizing our venues for holiday parties is very beneficial for both families and corporate groups because we allow them to choose their own caterer or bring in their own food and alcohol for the event. By having the control over the food and beverages, the client can save hundreds to thousands on their holiday party costs when comparing the food and alcohol costs at other venues. We are currently taking holiday party reservations in all three of our venues and we have some great holiday party specials going on right now! Feel free to contact me as soon as possible to further discuss your options or to make a reservation for your holiday party.”
Cherie Anderson of Venue also emphasizes, “Plan now and plan ahead! If you are hoping for a private dining room or catering, dates book early. Most people aren’t aware, but restaurants such as Venue have BLACK OUT dates where additional orders cannot be taken because of too much volume and the chance of jeopardizing the execution of great food and service. So reserving your date now is crucial, and then menu selections and logistics can be planned as the month draws near. Venue offers three private dining rooms which allows for private and intimate dining you would have in your own home, but without all the stress that party planning entails. Venue is always beautifully decorated throughout the restaurant and the ambiance just adds to the dining experience. She adds, “I see so many businesses where appreciation is a ‘pat on the back’ and verbal affirmation. Although this is just as important, action speaks a lot louder than words. What a great way to show appreciation to your employees by hosting a great dinner and topping the night off with a Venue Gift Card! For larger companies, Venue can cater a holiday lunch or dinner to your place of business. It’s the small things throughout the year that get noticed by employees and you reap the retention of long lasting, loyal employees when they truly feel valued and appreciated.” Venue offers full service catering for simple events such as lunch or dinner buffet to personalized wine dinners in the privacy of your home to a plated meal where serving staff is required. The great food and service that you have come to know at Venue is available and achievable off-site as well!
Hollie Waldo and Nathan Stewart, both Catering Sales Managers for The Holiday Inn Downtown, contributed their thoughts on why a hotel, such as The Holiday Inn Downtown, is a great place to host holiday parties:
The holiday season is often a time to not only give back to your community but also to the employees that have served your business throughout the year. It is a time to reflect on all of your success and throwing a holiday party is one way to give back. To plan a successful event you first need to select a venue that fits your needs. Downtown Lincoln provides a picturesque backdrop during the holiday season with all of the beautiful display of lights, horse and carriage rides, live entertainment and more. There are also many advantages of hosting your event at a hotel due to the ability to provide sleeping accommodations for your guests. The Holiday Inn Downtown can create a full package for your business starting with food and drink specials and discounted room blocks. Our professional event staff has over 20 years in planning holiday celebrations so creating memorable events is truly our passion. Planning early is always something our staff encourages companies to do so you can properly notify your employees and their guests. It can also allow you to secure your date and event space before anyone else has the chance to. Planning early also allows you to schedule a food tasting to sample a variety of menu options ensuring you have selected the proper menu. As you can see there are many advantages to booking early, booking downtown and booking at the Holiday Inn. No matter how large or small your company is, it is important to thank those employees that do so much for you throughout the year. Let us help create a memorable experience for your company this holiday season.
There are many types of venues or scheduling considerations that could be perfect for your holiday party, depending on your specific goals for the event. Jennifer Davis-Korn of 48 Bowl advises, “If you’re thinking about booking your holiday party, NOW is the time to do it. Unfortunately, venues can begin to fill up before Halloween for December dates–especially if you are looking to book your outing during a popular time like Saturday nights. One idea that you could incorporate into your holiday party this year that will have your staff feeling rewarded is to plan your party during an afternoon and excuse them from work! Not only will your team think that they got a great present from you, but with the burden of accommodating everyone’s schedules around the holidays, you know they already have “work” scheduled on a weekday. So throw a party instead and your attendance will be high! At 48 Bowl centers, Parkway Lanes and Hollywood Bowl, we LOVE weekday parties (It also provides a fun break in the routine for our daytime staff). The great thing for you is that we have a lot more daytime availability for our lanes than we do on weekends and the BEST part is that our rates are less expensive. Our moderate food and drink prices might also be nice on your budget. You can get a great meal and include a drink for around $10 a person.” She adds, “If you would like to incorporate team building into your holiday party, we can certainly help you design a mini-tournament for your guests. This includes having your names entered when you arrive and providing you with official results when you’re done bowling. If you’d rather stick with casual fun, we are still happy to enter your names and play some festive music.”
Jennifer recommends– whether you’ve done research and decided on your venue or not—that when you call to book your party or ask questions it is a great idea to consider the following questions ahead of time and have your answers right in front of you. This will help the business owner or staff to give you the best rates, dates, and service.
• What date(s) and time is your group looking to book?
• How large is your group? Will it be just adults or include families? A good estimate with a set date for final numbers is better than “I’m not sure.”
• Does your group plan to eat?
• Does your group plan to drink? Will it be their responsibility to pay or are you providing drink tickets or a tab?
• What is your total budget?
She adds, “If you cannot answer these questions yet, you’re still in the planning stages! Get these answered with your group, start on the web for rates and ideas, and then call venues when you know what you want. Good luck and we’ll be happy to guide you!”
Another unique place to host a holiday party that provides an activity as well as socialization is The Corky Canvas. According to Angie Lewis, owner of The Corky Canvas, “Holiday parties at The Corky Canvas are unique in that we paint, drink wine, eat and mingle all while listening to good music! It seems as though companies are looking for something different and we are definitely different. While sipping on a glass of wine and snacking on catered food of your choice, our instructors will walk you through a painting step-by-step. No artistic experience needed–really! We provide a fun atmosphere where employees are encouraged to try something new. The best part is everyone gets to take their paintings home with them to remember the fun time they had at your holiday event! She adds, “A trend we’ve been seeing is companies are booking their holiday parties in November, taking a group picture of everyone holding their finished holiday painting, and then using it as their professional holiday card. It really does make for a perfect greeting card! More often we see department holiday parties as opposed to big 200 employee parties, and these are the kind where you get to relax with those you work with the most! We see everything from doctor, dental and dermatology offices to insurance companies from all over Nebraska. While this includes a lot of women, guys really seem to like it too! Some groups book private parties and others go to dinner and then join one of our high energy night classes, but there are definitely options to best accommodate your specific needs. Check out the “Book a Party” page and calendar page on our website for more information and to check availability. A paint brush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other makes for a memorable holiday party!”
Many venues will let you choose your own food and beverage providers, and choosing a great caterer is crucial to the overall quality of your holiday party. ChefauChef provides a wide variety of holiday party catering options that are perfect for business or family events. Aaron Young, owner and head chef of ChefauChef, advises “I think it is important to host a corporate party to give your employees a chance to have fun and enjoy each other while not working. They have worked hard for you all year, one night for them is not asking much, plus you can write off the costs. Personally, I am throwing my employees and their family a Holiday party to celebrate the season and to thank them for all their hard work–because without them my business would not be where it is today. It is essential to plan early because event spaces and caterers fill up fast. The worst case scenario is that you plan early and have to move the date, but in this case it is always better to be over organized than the opposite. You never really hear someone say, ‘Dang, I over planned and was way too organized for this event.’ I help my clients plan their menu and can help them lock down a space with the places I am connected with around Lincoln. When you cater your own event, you put a good amount of stress on yourself. It also pulls you in so many directions that are you not use to being pulled in, which drains you of your energy. ChefauChef will gladly handle the responsibilities related to menu planning, food preparation and catering in order to make your party more enjoyable for you and your guests. The only catch is ChefauChef does not cater on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, News Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.” He adds, “It is also beneficial for people to utilize ChefauChef for the holidays because we are not going to jack up the prices for the holiday season. I am a consumer too and I have so many other expenses during the holidays, the last thing ChefauChef is going to do is charge more just because it’s the holiday season. ChefauChef’s purpose is to provide the highest quality food and service that you want at the BEST price around. Furthermore, I truly cater to my clients. I have clients who want only grass fed beef, all organic vegetables and starches and I have clients who just want meat and potatoes. ChefauChef means first and foremost and that is what we do, we make your needs First and Foremost. Mainly, I just want to encourage everyone to Plan, Plan, Plan, and get details locked in as soon as you can for your holiday parties and event. Planning will help eliminate some stress. Visit the ChefauChef website and use the contact form to get in touch with me and see what ChefauChef can do for your next event to make your life a little easier and a lot tastier!”
Event Planning Services
We consulted Annette Marquez, a local event planner and owner of Perfect Occasion, LLC about the essentials of holiday party planning and she offered the following information and tips:
“Sitting at my computer the second week of September 2013, with my air conditioner working overtime, I find it hard to believe that holiday party season is just around the corner and we should already be planning company and nonprofit holiday parties. Hopefully the weather will be cooler soon and we will all be more in the holiday party mood. But I wouldn’t wait until then to start the process! It doesn’t matter how carefully you plan your party, if you don’t book early. If you think that a venue or supplier will be perfect for your party, very likely other organizations will as well and you may find it booked when you contact them. Setting a date and booking early means you will have your first choice of venues and suppliers and it lets you get the word out to your guests so then can get the event on their calendars.
There are many reasons for holding holiday parties. They let you thank your employees, volunteers or clients; provide an opportunity to celebrate the close of one year and think about the possibilities for the coming year; a chance to have fun and relax; or something else entirely. First decide the goal of your party and the type of event that will accomplish your goal. Creating the holiday event perfect for your organization need not be limited to doing the same thing every year or by what others are doing. You may choose a formal gala, a casual gathering, a family oriented gathering, or perhaps a team-building experience where the end product is given to a nonprofit organization for distribution. Whatever the goal of your holiday party, you want to create one designed with the guests in mind. You might want to consider asking a sampling of potential guests what appeals to them. Their suggestions might be surprise you and result in creative ideas. Who knows, maybe a holiday cookie back-off would be just the ticket? The type of party you want to create will dictate the venue you select, the food you serve, the decorations you choose, the time of day, certainly your budget and every other logistic of your event. We are lucky in Lincoln with such a wide variety of venues, caterers and other event and party suppliers who offer just the right services or products to help you make your party a wonderful experience for your guests. Venue possibilities are numerous and include museums, hotel ballrooms, theaters, restaurants, event centers, and many others. When you are looking for a venue, ask yourself if it is right for your type of event, is it the right size for the number of guests, is food service available on site, is there a stage and appropriate audiovisual for any entertainment, what are the costs, etc.? Also think about where you want to hold the event, downtown, the Haymarket District, or in another Lincoln location? Perhaps your own offices will be just the right fit. If your guest list is small, you might consider holding it in a private home with a catered meal and wine tasting. You may want to try one of the new venues and caterers Lincoln has to offer, or choose an old favorite. The only right venue, caterer and supplier are the ones that are right for you.
Additionally, it is fun to think outside the box for at least part of your event. It is a great way to create buzz before the event as well as enhancing guest experience. However, make sure your guests are informed so there are no unpleasant surprises. For example, if you are planning to serve heavy hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening followed by a dessert bar at the end, but no dinner let the guest know this upfront. This way they will know to consume hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening, otherwise they may only nibble on the hors d’oeuvres expecting a dinner. In addition to a venue and food and beverage, what other supplier services and products are desirable to enhance your party. What about hiring a limo service so your guests arrive in style? Other services could include live music, a DJ, some form of entertainment, hiring a professional photographer or a photo booth, lighting for a WOW factor, or appropriately themed decorations. A cautionary note here: Check with the venue to verify whether or not they provide the desired service. Do they provide onsite catering, the required type of audiovisual equipment, decorations, linens, etc.? If they do not, are you required to select from their preferred supplier list? Venues have regulations concerning bringing in your own food and beverage or other services. If you don’t know where to start your search or want some new ideas for venues and suppliers, the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau is a great resource. For ideas check out the CVB website www.Lincoln.org and click on Meet, then scroll to Meeting Planner Guide and click for nearly 140 pages of useful information on local venues, caterers and suppliers.
As you think about suppliers for your holiday event, consider hiring a Professional Independent Event Planner/Manager. As an Event Planner and Manager, I have plenty of experience working with other hospitality professionals. By knowing the questions to ask up front, I can save my clients money, time, and stress. It is not uncommon that staff or volunteers who have agreed to coordinate an organization’s party are so busy managing all the onsite details that aren’t able to fully ‘come to the party.’ They are busy setting up before the party begins, checking with the venue and suppliers to make sure everything is in order, registering guests, working with the AV people, making sure any entertainers or VIP guests have arrived, and trouble shooting. Nothing takes a guest out of party mood more than having to leave the dinner table to check in late arriving guests or finding someone to fix the PA system. That is where as a Professional Independent Event Planner/Manager I can help. Every member of your organization should be able to be a guest.”
Plenty of memories are sure to be made while everyone is having a great time at your holiday party, and capturing them will ensure that everyone can look back on the experience they had at the event—literally. Not only is documenting your holiday party great for looking back on the fond memories created at your event, but even to use in later promotions or company materials. Furthermore, that is why utilizing the services of a professional is very beneficial. Dark Room Cinema provides videography services that are perfect for documenting your holiday celebration. Additionally, they can create an entertaining video that you can play at your holiday party. Randy McGinnis of Dark Room Cinema notes that having a video of co-workers doing something funny or interviewing them saying something funny will always bring laughter and fun to a holiday party. He adds, “How about doing a video in which employees are asked to answer a crazy question? Maybe employees want to act out a skit that can be videotaped and played at the party? Or maybe your company just wants a video advertising the party to employees to encourage attendance. Another option is videotaping the party itself and making it available on the company website or have it emailed to employees. Hiring a professional videographer for your party will ensure that you will get a recording of your event that is high-definition, has great audio and is expertly edited. Many companies try to do this videotaping themselves, perhaps with a low-priced camcorder or a smart phone video camera. The results will show the difference. Providing employees with a high-quality, entertaining video is a great way to bring fun to your party.”
Whether you are preparing for your event or dealing with the aftermath, utilizing a cleaning service is an excellent way to make sure you are attending to other tasks at hand. By prioritizing what requires your attention most, it will allow you to relax and enjoy the event instead of worrying about the smaller details. This is especially great for those hosting parties in their home or office, or other places where services such as preparing the facility or cleaning afterwards is not included. Cleaning services, such as Morita Cleaning Service or Beyond Clean, are experts at making sure everything is presentable and you guessed it—clean! They offer a wide range of services including thorough floor cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, dusting, and thorough cleaning and sterilization of kitchens and restrooms. They are also able to offer custom scheduling options and one-time cleaning rates that accommodate your specific needs. With their flexibility and expertise, you are sure to be hosting your party in sparkling clean surroundings and won’t have to hassle with the clean-up either!
Holiday Gift Giving – Planning Ahead For Unique or Personalized Gift Options
While some people buy gifts for their friends, family, co-workers or employees year round; we are all familiar with what the rush looks like at many retailers and local businesses in the weeks prior to a major holiday. Though this gets the job done, it creates a lot of stress and doesn’t allow for time for creativity or personalized options. This may not be too concerning to some, or may seem overly materialistic, but finding the right gift can really send a message to the recipient that you know them well and value their presence in your life—and let’s face it, it’s touching on a personal level. That is why it is important to think about the perfect gift early, and keep your eyes and ears open for that perfect opportunity to WOW that special someone.
Play It Again Sports offers a full line of new and used fitness and sporting goods equipment—which means they have plenty of great gifts for any sports enthusiast or someone looking to start a new activity. Diane Hesson, owner of Play It Again Sports, says they prepare well ahead for the holiday rush and have plenty of merchandise that would make perfect holiday gifts. She says, “Baseball and softball are big categories for us in the spring, and we know that buying new equipment for that season early is a must. We will have all of our new products in just in time for the holiday season. We also carry a full line of fitness equipment and accessories. The holidays can be rough on all of us – physically and mentally. Whether you want to get in shape or stay in shape, we have solutions for everyone to utilize during and after the holidays. Gift cards are also a great option and make shopping for your sports or fitness enthusiast a breeze! She adds, “We still welcome trade-in items during the holidays. That concept can help you save money by allowing you to apply those trade dollars to your gift purchases. At Play It Again Sports, we are all about making your shopping experience painless!”
Musical instruments are also a very popular gift around the holidays, as it is not only a gift in itself but it also encourages a new talent that can be practiced and enjoyed year-round. Lessons are also a great idea, as it provides a call to action once the instrument is in their possession. While owning an instrument is ideal as it provides more opportunities to be able to sit down and make some music, it can easily become a home decoration if you never learn to play it! One of the most popular instruments given as a gift around the holidays is a guitar, so a gift certificate for guitar lessons seems to be the perfect companion to such a gift. However, lessons can be paired with just about any other musical instruments as well. This is not exclusive to new musical instruments, but also could be the perfect gift for someone who has an instrument sitting around at home for one reason or another but hasn’t devoted any time to learning or playing it. Furthermore, the gift of a musical instrument or lessons is great for all ages and skill levels. Learning to play a musical instrument builds confidence, increases motor skills, develops creativity or introduces a creative outlet, helps create a focus or hobby outside of daily life, encourages ‘practice makes perfect’ thinking, and it is simply fun to learn, play and become skilled at. In fact, many people who received an instrument during the last holiday season are gearing up and gathering their families to see how far they have come in the past year. Tim Woosley, Music Director at the Lincoln School of Music, adds, “We have a winter recital every December for our students to give them a chance to show off their newly acquired skills, overcome stage fright and have a clear, defined goal to work towards. Plus, it’s always exciting to tell your friends and family that you have a ‘gig’ coming up!”
For more mature audiences, have you ever considered Boudoir photography as a great, unique gift idea for your significant other? Not only is it a refreshing surprise, but it is a thoughtful and intimate way to show your partner they are your one-and-only. According to Jaime Incontro, owner of Purple Sky Productions and Boudoir Boutique, “Boudoir photography is one of the most personal gifts that you can give to your significant other – no one else can give him the same gift! What guy doesn’t want some sexy images of his lady? Our mission at Boudoir Boutique is to make every woman feel drop-dead gorgeous. Every woman has it inside her, she just needs the encouragement. We will help capture your unique beauty. It sounds scary, but DO IT! You will walk away feeling on top of the world! We are booking right now for those women who want their images ready in time for Christmas, and I recommend that you schedule your session 6-7 weeks before you want it (i.e. if you want it for a 12/1 birthday then have your session by 10/12).” She adds, “We photograph women of all shapes, sizes, ages and walks of life. Do not wait until you have “lost a few more pounds”. As we all know, life is busy. Celebrate who you are right now. You are beautiful on the inside and the out. Your guy knows it and he already loves you just the way you are.”
This time of year always brings out the need for a warm, cozy home and candles are perfect for achieving an inviting holiday atmosphere! Hallow Candle Co. offers a wide variety of candles, as well as home decor, room sprays and jewelry that are great for gift giving as well. Sarah Mullins, owner of Hallow Candle Co., says, “At Hallow, we specialize in gift giving! Through our experience we’ve learned how to pick out a great gift and package it in a way that shows your care. Gifts are made easy when you’re shopping at Hallow–our customer service girls can help you with picking out the perfect gift and even with creating a custom gift basket. We also offer corporate gifts and provide in-town delivery!” She adds, “The holidays are a great time of year, but they can also bring up a lot of stress. To fight that stress, planning early and taking care of things like gift giving before your deadline will ease your mind and allow you to really enjoy the holidays instead of fretting over them. Hallow Candle can certainly help with the whole process, from designing your holiday gift to scheduling deliveries and more–just ask us!” It’s never too late to get a corporate order in for the holidays, as Hallow Candle Co. can take orders up to a week before all major celebrations. Let Hallow take the stress away and give you the credit for great gifts this holiday season!
Tis’ the Season…To Plan Ahead!
There are only so many weekends in the months of October, November and December, which makes planning ahead for the holidays such a necessity. Here are some general tips for holiday planning that will allow you to make the most of your free time in the next few months:
• Brighten up your planner or calendar (and outlook!) with holiday stickers or a festive color ink that you will remember indicates anything associated with the holidays including events, deadlines, appointments, and other planning and contact information.
• Plan where you will go for each holiday as far in advance as possible. For some that is fairly easy, however for others it may be a more complicated process of deciding which family members to see and when, whether to stay home with immediate family, and how your work and social events will factor into your location at those times.
• Mark your calendar with two-hour appointments for holiday preparations, such as Thursday: Bake, Friday: Decorate, or Saturday: Shop and Clean.
• Book the venue for your holiday party, event or gathering early!!! If everyone didn’t say it enough, I will gladly say it again because it really is THAT important!
• Rather than trying to handle the entire party planning process on your own, form a committee to help. Depending on the size of your organization and the size of the party, you could just have a couple helpers or a full team. For bigger committees, it is a good idea to divide into smaller groups that are in charge of different aspects such as games, food, or invitations.
• Define your party’s purpose. Is it to thank employees? Promote your company? Gather your family or a specific group of friends? Entertain clients? Figuring out your goals will certainly help you fine-tune your invitation list, budget, catering, etc.
• Use your budget wisely, and make sure you spend money on what matters most to you and your family or company. Also, make sure you are reviewing your financial statements so that you are not piling up too much debt. This will set you up for a host of bills due first thing next year, which can be really unpleasant after the holiday euphoria has disappeared.
• Enlist a holiday buddy so you can help each other plan and stay accountable. Whether a friend or family member, you can both double-check to make sure everything gets done and keep each other motivated.
• Shop early so you don’t get stuck shopping for convenience. Nothing is worse than rushing to your local “one-stop shop” and trying to pick out gifts for everyone on your list. It really takes away the pride and excitement of presenting your gifts to your loved ones, even though they will likely accept them graciously anyways.
• Try to minimize online shopping, unless you are on a website operated by a local business. By supporting local businesses, you are ensuring that the owners, employees and their families have a great holiday too!
• When in doubt, call or e-mail the person for whom you just can’t seem to find the perfect gift. You don’t necessarily have to ask what they would really like for the holidays, but you can save yourself some time and stress by getting pointed in the right direction.
• Pace yourself and take well-deserved breaks!
• Spend 15 minutes every day reviewing your lists, tracking your spending, checking your progress, and making sure you are on schedule for gifts that are more of a process. Spacing things out and scheduling them really does work wonders.
While there is definitely still time to enjoy fall, hopefully now you have more reasons to get excited about the holiday season and more specifically, planning your 2013 Holiday Party or checking people off of your gift list early! As everyone else has emphasized, we strongly encourage you to get that head start and begin brainstorming right now in order to ensure you can get as much of your holiday planning done as soon as possible. For holiday parties, this allows you to get the word out about how your company plans to celebrate, generate some excitement, and minimize any future stress or struggles. And for gift giving, you can get ahead of the game and also have enough time to add a personal touch. Let the holiday season begin!
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