Holiday Wrap-Up in Lincoln, NE 2017

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Holiday Wrap-Up in Lincoln, NE 2017

December is quite the month, full of merriment and making memories. During which time, there’s a lot to get done and not an abundance of time in which to accomplish it. Although it can be a tall order to prepare for all of the holiday festivities to come, in the true spirit of the season it’s a time for celebration and to count our many blessings. In order to focus the majority of your attention on the latter of those things and minimize stress in handling the former, look no further than our fantastic local businesses for help with all of your holiday needs!

A little strategic planning sure does go a long way towards getting all of the things done during the holiday season. When planning for how you’ll tackle all of the last-minute shopping and arrangements for your parties and gatherings, consider having some fun while you’re at it! Moreover, there are also plenty of ways you can make life easier and save precious time that you can spend enjoying yourself with family and friends. Or, do this all at the same time and truly make some multi-tasking magic happen!

Headshot - Jaclyn Howard Venue Catering & Events

Jaclyn Howard
Venue Catering & Events

“We always love it when shoppers stop in for lunch or happy hour with us,” says Jaclyn Howard with Venue Restaurant & Lounge. “Holiday shopping is such an opportunity to bond with your loved ones. Some of my most cherished memories I have with my sister have been going shopping and out for lunch. Venue would love to be a part of those memories. During the craziness of the holiday season, we all need to stop, slow down, and enjoy those special times. What better way to do that than with a Venue Pecan Bleu Salad and a hand-crafted cocktail? While you are here, be sure to pick up some gift cards. During the holiday season with qualifying gift card purchases, we offer a complimentary percentage back.

Venue also has a delicious assortment of holiday platters, which are a beautiful addition to any holiday party, big or small. We offer them at a discounted rate and they only need to be ordered 24 hours in advance. You’ll find our most popular items on the holiday platter menu, so they are sure to be the hit at any party this holiday season.

Make Venue Restaurant & Lounge your go-to spot this holiday season! With quick pick-up holiday platters and gift cards, it minimizes running around all over town and the stress that goes along with it. Stop in for a glass of wine and let us take care of all of your gift needs.”

As for holiday parties, while there are plenty this month, in line with the recent trend it’s highly likely there will be more coming up in January and February. For those who are debating whether to put together a party in short order yet this month or to begin making plans for one after the hectic holiday schedules become more open for most, Howard provides the following advice:

“January is becoming a very popular month for holiday parties! Attendance at after-holiday parties does seem to be higher as your group has fewer obligations pulling them in all different directions. The biggest problem I see guests run in to with throwing a party together on the fly is attendance. We work a lot of holiday parties and we are able to help regardless of which you choose. Reducing stress and encouraging fun is always the main goal for every event that we work. My biggest piece of advice is again to just slow down and don’t stress the small stuff. Or better yet hire Venue to cater your event and let us take the cooking, serving and cleaning off your plate!”

Sara Reyes Sudman
Fields Floral

In agreement, Sara Reyes Sudman with Fields Floral adds, “The advantage of hosting your party after the holidays is getting to actually enjoy the holidays, without the additional stress of planning something. Plus, it’s always fun to have something to look forward to in January.

That being said, all you need to put together a quick office party or for entertaining guests in your home to celebrate the holidays is great food, drinks, and great company. Of course, adding a few decorations doesn’t hurt either.

If you are crunched for time, let us help you. We can come to your home and decorate your tree or all throughout, and the same applies to your party venue or office space. We decorate several churches around Lincoln and create many centerpieces for various parties.

We also have a lot of seasonal holiday arrangements that make great centerpieces and each Friday, we offer $10 bouquets, so stop in and take one home.

Besides holiday arrangements, we offer gifts for every personality, including drink enthusiasts, cooks, writers, baby, gardeners and pet lovers. One of our most popular products is the Organic Grow Kit, which allows you to grow herbs in the comfort of your kitchen.

We can customize any gift or arrangement to meet your needs, so let us help you add a little creativity to your celebration!”

Matthew Rogge
Talon Room

Specifically regarding corporate holiday parties, Matthew Rogge with Talon Room further advises, “It’s become common for events that are focused on client entertaining during the holidays to take precedence during the holidays, with events to thank your employees for their hard work the past year following in January and February. Alternatively, both types could be well-positioned in the beginning of 2018 and even beyond.

After the holidays everything has settled down a bit and you have a lot more time to dedicate to your party arrangements and entertaining your attendees. There are a lot more open dates to choose from too when it comes to booking your venue and vendors of choice. Likewise, your clients and/or employees will be able to enjoy themselves more without having to worry about everything else that’s going on in their lives. Employees may appreciate a bonus before the holidays, but when it comes to an event, I’d say it’s definitely fully appreciated afterward.

If this year was just too crazy to focus on hosting a party in the near future, start planning a spring or summer event and you’ll definitely stand out then! We know how busy the holiday season is for everyone – we’re busy as well. Check our open availability into spring and summer just in case and then evaluate your options accordingly. Many people take the opportunity to do events throughout the year, so don’t feel stressed if you’re limited on possibilities, just get creative.

At the Talon Room, we have an ideal amount of space to host large and small groups alike. It’s an intimate venue with a lot of character, which lends well to all types of décor. We offer all-inclusive packages that include the space, food and drinks, decorations, and live entertainment courtesy of our deejay, all at one price. We pride ourselves on the value of what we have to offer and being easy to work with. At the Talon Room, we can handle it all – just call us with your ideas and we’ll make your dream event happen!”

There are many fun places around town to gather with your favorite people during the holidays, whether it’s for a party or just a quick impromptu outing for a few hours.

One such place is the bowling alley and Jennifer Davis-Korn with 48 Bowl offers a few suggestions to consider:

“48 Bowl, Inc. centers, Parkway Lanes and Hollywood Bowl, have a lot of great opportunities for family and friend gatherings over the holidays. When kids are out of school, grab your neighbors and come in for our special School’s Out pricing from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. on December 26-29 and January 2-5. Get one game and shoes for $5 per person, two games and shoes for $8 per person, or three games and shoes for just $10 per person. Prices are valid for everyone in your group, not just the kids!

If you’re looking for New Year’s Eve fun, we are offering four different party packages this year across our two centers. We have a variety of daytime and nighttime party packages and some geared just towards families! All parties include bowling and shoe rental, and may also include drinks, pizzas, party favors and more! Party packages start at only $60 per lane and are available now for reservation online at 48bowl.com. Hurry, though, because some parties sell out fast!

Our centers will be open for open bowling throughout the holiday season with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Keep in mind that peak times are weekdays after lunch and again after dinner, as well as Friday and Saturday nights. We may have some special events or leagues going on in our buildings and for this reason, we always recommend calling the center you’re thinking of bowling at and inquiring about lane availability.

For Parkway Lanes, located at 2555 S. 48th Street, call (402) 483-7763. For Hollywood Bowl, located at 920 N. 48th Street, call (402) 466-1911.”

Jen Miseno
Sun Valley Lanes

As previously discussed, Jen Miseno with Sun Valley Lanes also notes that parties after the holidays are popular affairs at the local bowling alleys as well.

“The main benefit of waiting until after the holidays are over to host your party is that you are not competing with all the hustle and bustle of holiday prep,” she explains. “When you have your event during an off-peak time, people tend to be more relaxed and are able to really enjoy themselves without worrying about their own gatherings. You also give them something to look forward to after the stress of the holiday has passed.”

Giving the gift of a fun experience is also an excellent idea for kids and adults alike, and gift cards are nice because you can do exactly what you like most. Miseno notes, “This season we will be offering a special on gift cards. When you purchase a $25 gift card, we will throw in an extra $5 bonus arcade credit. It’s just another way to help stretch those holiday dollars!”

Related to party planning, gift shopping, and all of the other things on your agenda this month, she offers a few words of advice in closing, stating, “Try to relax and remember that the holidays are meant to be fun! If you need to, make lists, ask people for help and be sure to take time out for yourself.”

Another experience you can give as a gift is a show at the Lied Center for Performing Arts! There are a number of exciting shows coming up, and each season there is so much variety (and an enormous amount of talent) found in the line-up of performances. Make it a night out on the town and grab dinner and drinks beforehand or afterward since it’s in proximity to so many excellent options.

With the holiday party season in full swing, the Small Business Legal Center at the National Federation of Independent Business has advised keeping celebrations safe by watching out for two problem areas – drunk driving and harassment. Just as much as all of the fun things associated with holiday parties, it’s important to take these things into consideration when planning.

Drunk Driving

An increasing number of states require employers to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries by intoxicated employees leaving holiday parties. To minimize the risk of liability an employer should do the following:

  • Use professional bartenders, and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears intoxicated.
  • Distribute drink tickets to limit the number of free drinks.
  • Serve lots of free food to soak up the alcohol.
  • Ask trusted managers and supervisors to be on the lookout for people who have had too much to drink and are unable to drive or need assistance getting home.
  • Pay for transportation to take impaired employees and guests home or offer designated drivers.

Harassment

Socializing, alcohol, and mistletoe combine to create an environment that can lead to sexual harassment or fighting. Just because it’s a holiday party doesn’t mean you can’t be liable for what happens as an employer. Employee lawsuits can result from voluntary events held outside the office and outside normal work hours.

  • Remind employees about company anti-harassment policies before the party.
  • If your business does not have an anti-harassment policy, get one! Check out the free sample policy developed by NFIB. Have an attorney review it.
  • Don’t hang mistletoe.
  • Ask trusted managers and supervisors to intervene and stop any fighting or inappropriate conduct witnesses or reported.
  • Finally, make sure that all employees understand that a holiday party is a work-related activity and that rules for appropriate work behavior still apply.

Regarding safe transportation, there are several options offered locally that one could utilize. Among those, one that’s popular every year as it’s especially fitting for a special occasion is a limousine!

Lori Hiebner Leisure Limousine & Sedan - Headshot

Lori Hiebner
Leisure Limousine & Sedan

“Transportation service after a party is always a smart thing to provide if you’re hosting a holiday party or gathering,” says Lori Hiebner with Leisure Limousine & Sedan. “Holiday parties with family or work friends can be a ton of fun, that’s for sure! It seems like transportation can sometimes be an afterthought when planning a party or going out with friends. But since many holiday parties involve alcohol, it’s wise to plan the transportation BEFORE the festivities begin. Your guests will definitely appreciate having the options, and can then plan accordingly ahead of time. I would suggest hiring a limo to pick everyone up and drop everyone off at the end of the evening to alleviate any concerns if someone has overindulged.

Or, from the attendee perspective, why not reserve a limo for that special holiday party? If you’re going to go through all of the effort of dressing up, why not rent a limo and ensure it’s a night to remember?

Don’t leave your holiday party transportation up in the air this year. Make the impression you want to make while enjoying the peace of mind that a professional car service provides.”

She also offers a few ideas to consider for family time, a date night, outing with friends, or hosting family from out of town. “Are you looking to see the Christmas lights in comfort and style? Book your holiday light tour now! Holiday light tours are offered in the evenings throughout the month of December and include a pre-determined route of the city’s best light displays. Pack up the kids and enjoy this special time of the year – pajamas optional! Get together with your favorite couples and have a fun, festive night out. Make it a romantic holiday light tour for a unique date night. There are many different types of groups that book our holiday light tours and every year there’s so much fun to be had.

Another popular one this time of year is turning shopping into an enjoyable group event. Make holiday shopping less of a chore this year and rent a limo to take you and your friends and family on a chauffeured holiday shopping trip!

Finally, if you have out-of-town guests flying in, set up car service to pick them up at the airport. Air travel can be stressful! Take care of the ground transportation and help your loved ones unwind after a less than relaxing day of travel.”

Entertaining at home is just as common as entertaining at local venues this time of year, and putting together a special soiree can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. There are generally some staples found at any holiday gathering across the board, and I think most of us would agree that one of them is good wine!

Barb Ballard
From Nebraska Gift Shop & James Arthur Vineyards

“Setting up a wine bar is a particularly great option for those hosting in their homes because it doesn’t require messing with ice,” says Barb Ballard with From Nebraska Gift Shop and James Arthur Vineyards. “Or, for entertainment at your holiday party, you could buy a number of wines, including those from JAV, put them in brown bags and do a blind wine tasting. Have guests make notes and have fun trying a number of different styles of wine.

The winery also makes a great place for an impromptu gathering, especially if family is in town. It’s a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy each other’s company while sipping on wine and enjoying some Nebraska-made food items.”

On the other side of the coin, as a guest in someone’s home during the holidays, it’s customary to come bearing gifts. Bring a beverage of choice along to share with everyone or as a gift for the host, depending on what called for on that particular occasion. With great seasonal wines and limited edition gift arrangements this time of year, you’re sure to find something that will be a big hit at our local retailers.

Ballard suggests, “At From Nebraska Gift Shop in the Haymarket, it’s a one-stop shop for great gifts. We offer all Nebraska products; anything grown or made in Nebraska, from food items, clothing, and art to award-winning wine, the store has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for an easy way to impress, From Nebraska Gift Shop also puts together an absolutely amazing assortment of gift baskets full of Nebraska-made goodies. The great thing about it is that we have pre-made gift baskets that are beautifully created or we can customize a basket to fit any need or budget. If the gift needs to be shipped, we can take care of that as well.

When it comes to our offerings at James Arthur Vineyards, wine always makes a great gift for family, friends or co-workers. Whether it’s a gift for a host or wine for that special holiday dinner, we can help find the perfect match.

We really try to encourage people to let us take care of all the details and make it as easy as possible for the customer, whether it be party or gift needs. For example, if someone walks into the From Nebraska Gift Shop, all they need is a budget and an idea of what they want and we’ll take care of the rest. Our goal is to simplify the process however possible. And, what better way to reduce stress than sampling some wine while you shop?”

Located in southeast Lincoln at 70th & Pioneers, Habitat is local retailer where you can find an abundance of great gifts as well as just about anything you could need or want for entertaining in your home this holiday season.

Jana Clark Habitat - headshot

Jana Clark
Habitat

“Creating an experience for our customers to enjoy is what we aim for at Habitat,” says Jana Clark with Habitat. “Our staff members are very knowledgeable and are happy to answer questions, provide recommendations, share tips, and offer as little or as much help as the customer desires.

Stroll through the store and you’ll find a nice variety of unique gift items as well as beautiful and functional serving pieces for any of your upcoming gatherings. For the cook in your family, we have quite the assortment of items ranging from the kitchen staples to innovative gadgets. In fact, we have a whole wall full of fun culinary gadgets that can be gifted independently or bundled together. We can put together any type of gift basket from our huge selection of goodies, including holiday coffee, caramels, brittle, cocoa, bread mixes, gingerbread house kits, shortbread cookies, olive oil and soup mixes. Another popular gift has been a microwave popcorn popper gifted with popcorn and unique seasoning, like Cracked Black Pepper Asiago or Dill Pickle. Or, we have a great selection of jams and spreaders, which are adorable with a bow and are at a great price point. Harp string bracelets at $14.99 have also been a huge hit, as well as our canvas prints, which are available in a variety of sizes and price points.

Then when you’ve finished shopping, let us do the gift wrap for you!”

Also nearby is Rachel’s Boutique, where you’ll find a nice selection of items perfect for the ladies on your gift list. With complimentary gift wrapping here too, you may be able to get away without having to bust out the tape and scissors at all this year!

photo-Cherie-Travis-Rachels-Boutique

Cherie Travis
Rachel’s Boutique

“Gifts are our specialty at Rachel’s Boutique,” says Cherie Travis with Rachel’s Boutique. “You’ll find many one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, clothing you don’t see at department stores, and we are more than happy to provide personal assistance with gift selection. While shopping for the perfect gift you can also find the perfect outfit or accessory for the holiday season!

We will have special things going on every week during the holiday season. This includes several different Brighton gift with purchase promotions. One happens to be a free holiday canvas tote with a $100 Brighton purchase. On December 7th, we will be hosting two special trunk show events. One will be for Brighton shoes and boots, with the opportunity to special order your size in any of the styles displayed. The other will be for Blo Vintage. Owner Allison Stackpole will be at the store with new and old whistles that she has made into necklaces and bracelets. She will also create one for you on the spot! These are one of the best gifts you can give. It’s not just a whistle; it is a personal safety device that happens to be pretty. Or, shop the new line we recently added this fall, Troll Beads. These are sterling silver pieces featuring hand-blown glass beads, with the choice of a necklace or bracelet. Each bead has a special name and story. You can create your own story or one for a gift.”

In addition to her recommendations for gift ideas, in order to have the most enjoyable, stress-free holiday shopping experience this year, Travis offers the following advice: “Make a list, be open to suggestions, pick stores that provide great customer service, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

The Shops at 70th & Pioneers will be hosting a holiday shopping event, which is coming up on December 7th. Many of the retailers in the area will be participating, offering discounts and specials to shoppers, so plan on a shopping outing then to take advantage!

For all things shiny and sparkling, you could also certainly peruse the impressive selection at Sartor Hamann Jewelers yet this month to find that special something for that special someone.

If you’re weighing your options between selecting a gift, whether it’s an item or an experience, or giving a gift card and letting the recipient be the one to choose, you’re in good company.

Gift cards do get a bit of a bad rap (not to be confused with a bad wrap, which you won’t have to worry about with these babies!) for being sort of a cop-out, but honestly, they make pretty great gifts.

You can give them alone in a card, with an assortment of items in a gift basket, or match them with other gifts for the perfect combination. You can get a bunch from one of your favorite places and spread them around as you please for others to experience what you already know to be amazing, or you could carefully select the gift cards based on what you know each recipient would like. The varying dollar amounts allow you to treat each of your coworkers or clients to something yummy from a local coffee shop or bakery without going broke, or go big and treat your neighbors, parents, the newlywed couple in your family, the couple with kids, etc. to a date night at a nice restaurant or to see a show at a local theatre.

For the pet lover, the sports lover, the book lover, the nature enthusiast, the hobbyist, the fitness guru…this could go on, but you get the picture, a gift card will let them get what they love, which is something you can definitely feel good about. It also gives you the choice between giving the gift of an item with a gift card from a local retailer or giving the gift of an experience with a gift card from a local entertainment venue – or both if the item will be used during the experience. And with so many awesome deals on gift cards during the holidays, you can stretch your funds and give more, or get what you need and keep the rest to treat yourself. So many options!

During the holidays, it’s especially important to be mindful to spread the cheer by supporting local businesses whenever possible. By keeping our money here in our community, it can do the most good for us all. There are so many wonderful places in Lincoln to explore and enjoy!