Practicing gratitude is important all-year round, but this time of year really highlights how much there is to be thankful for. The holidays allow us to spend time with our friends and family, and show them how much we appreciate them with gift giving and creating memories together. For some, it can be difficult to get into the holiday spirit, but there are methods to help jumpstart your cheer!

Many businesses in Lincoln start the celebrating early with holiday décor, sales, and events, but the employees are the real experts on everything holidays. We spoke to employees from businesses around Lincoln to get their insight on how to embrace this time of year.

Sprinkle In Some Holiday Cheer

Seeing the grocery store shelves fill with red and green packaging and holiday versions of your favorite candies can be one of the first signs that we are heading into the holiday season, but another way to spark that special feeling is with a homemade dessert.

Sweet Things by Marcy is a home-based bakery in Lincoln that has a vibrant menu of sweet treats that can highlight any holiday event. During the holidays, they offer a variety of desserts for office gatherings, families, and even individuals.

Marcy Haas
Sweet Things by Marcy

“This year we plan to offer whole and half cakes, as well as the miniature bundt cakes in select flavors,” shared Marcy Haas, owner. “The half cakes will be new for us this year. We had a customer that asked if we could do half German Chocolate and half Kentucky Butter last year and decided that it may be nice to offer during the holidays.”

When she’s not busy baking up a storm, Marcy likes to give back to community. The real joy of the holidays can be buried underneath the superficial things like gifts and parties, but doing something fulfilling like volunteering at a local nonprofit can help us center ourselves back to what the season is really about.

Marcy has been ready for the holidays since October, sharing with us that the Tempations’ Christmas Card album has already been playing in her home. She specifically recommends their rendition of “Silent Night.” She understands that it can be difficult for others to get into the spirit, especially those who may be spending the holidays alone this year.

“For someone spending the holidays alone, I recommend going to a church or visiting a neighbor’s home for dinner,” Marcy said. “Our first year in Lincoln, my sons and I went to Lincoln Berean for dinner.”

The holidays are a huge opportunity to support local small businesses like Sweet Things by Marcy. It is these businesses that you can trust to care about you and the community. Shopping, planning, or scheduling – they’ll make sure every aspect of your holiday season feels personalized and close to home.

Sipping and Singing

One way to express your holiday cheer is through music. If you enjoy the classic holiday tunes and want to find some live music, James Arthur Vineyards is the place to go.

Live music accompanies the numerous holiday events at the vineyard. In November, the holiday wine release will feature music from Spock’s Foster Sister in the evening. Shop for the new Christmas wines and relish in the cheerful atmosphere the music provides. Later in the month, the holiday open house will host Chris Sayre along with ornament-making, cookies, hot mulled wine, and gift shop specials.

In December, the holiday cheer just keeps on growing. The month starts with a series of holiday cabarets from Judy Anderson and Dave Claus. They will perform holiday favorites and Christmas carols that everyone can enjoy. Beware; it may be hard to stop yourself from singing along!

Holiday cheer won’t be hard to come by at James Arthur, but that seems to be the norm for Owner Jim Ballard and his family.

Jim Ballard
James Arthur Vineyards

“It doesn’t take much for our family to get into the holiday spirit as we truly enjoy the Christmas season. We especially love to take a couple of evenings and drive around Lincoln as a family, listening to Christmas music and enjoying all the wonderful light displays that people have put up,” said Jim.

The events at James Arthur Vineyards are only half of the story. The vineyard also has the capability to host small, intimate holiday parties. If you’re in the market for holiday gifts, get two things knocked off your to do list and pick up a few bottles of wine or hard cider at the vineyard while enjoying the company of your friends and family. A bottle of wine is a great stocking stuffer, and James Arthur’s own Curveball Cider can complete the perfect holiday gift basket. James Arthur Vineyards have a plethora of wines and ciders to satisfy any beverage lover in your life.

And Your Little Dog Too!

Waking up on Christmas morning to a tree overflowing with gifts is an experience that holds a dear place in many people’s memories. With all the hustle and bustle leading up to the big day, you may find you forgot a gift for one very special member of the family…the dog!

HydroDog Mobile Dog Grooming drives their Big Blue Dog mobile directly to your preferred location. They provide full-service washing and grooming, as well as treatment for fleas and ticks. Everything your dog needs to be a clean, happy, and healthy canine companion.

Shane Patrick, owner of HydroDog in Lincoln, can make your dog feel like the bell of the ball this holiday season. Nothing makes a dog feel better than a little pampering.

Of course, your dog may not be able to thank you for the gift of grooming, but a dog’s owner might! A service someone might not think of asking for can be a wonderful gift, especially if it helps eliminate something on their to-do list, like getting their dog to the groomer.

HydroDog is a new addition to Lincoln. Services started in October.

Shane Patrick HydroDog Mobile Dog Grooming

“I look forward to meeting your fur babies and giving them the special attention and calming influence only a Big Blue Dog can provide,” said Shane. “Oswald and I plan to be up and running in early October, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to work with you and our furry friends!”

The holidays are also a time for giving back to your community, and HydroDog is committed to doing just that. The team at HydroDog hosts Bathe to Save events where they wash shelter dogs just before adoption into their new homes. The shelter dogs are often being saved from being euthanized, and the events promote the importance of adopting dogs from rescue shelters.

Shooting For the Perfect Gift

Having an outdoors lover in your life to shop for can be a blessing and a curse. There is so much stuff out there to buy for someone who enjoys hunting, camping, fishing, or anything in between, and new products and technologies are being released every day. However, how do you know what they already have? What’s the difference between a bowie knife blade and a Wharncliffe knife blade? These are things you can’t exactly ask your loved one without them getting a clue on what you’re planning on putting under the tree for them.

Luckily, the employees at DEGUNS can help you find the best gifts that will impress all of your family members on the 25th.

DEGUNS is an online and retail dealer and distribution center. They have over 1,000 guns on display and over 10,000 in stock. In addition, their inventory includes clothing, hunting gear, ammo, body armor, sporting goods, knives, safes, tools, and more. The knowledgeable staff will help you find exactly what you don’t know you’re looking for.

If you aren’t looking for a physical gift, DEGUNS in Lincoln boasts an impressive gun range on their property. They offer experiences like a self-defense demo range where you can try out guns without committing to a purchase. There are also occasional classes focusing on different types of guns and how to operate and store them safely.

The 110,000-square-foot store and its vast variety of offerings can be overwhelming, and you can always count on a trusty gift card from DEGUNS to get the job done!

Golfing Fun for Everyone

Some of the best gifts aren’t found under the tree. Helping a loved one improve on a skill or go out and do one of their favorite hobbies is an intangible gift that can lead to a lifetime of memories. A popular pastime for many is hitting the golf course. Whether your loved one is a pro player or just a beginner, Under Par Golf Studio LLC has everything you need to give the best present.

Under Par has a plethora of services to help your golfer improve their skills. Golf lessons are taught by PGA Professional Derek Jensen, and use the best of the best golf technology.

Derek Jensen
Under Par Golf Studio

“Lessons will utilize Swing Catalyst swing analysis software, where students can access their videos on-the-go by downloading the Swing Catalyst app on their phone. GCQuad launch monitor technology is also used during lessons to get accurate club and ball data,” said Derek. “Putting lessons are also available using Quintic Putting launch monitor technology to make sure your stroke, as well as your putter fits with what you are currently trying to do on the putting greens.”

Lessons are available for adults, kids, and groups. In person lessons will be conducted at Under Par Golf Studio, but on course lessons can be arranged at certain Lincoln area courses with enough notice.

Under Par also offers a Golf Simulator that golfers can rent to play a round of simulator golf. The hitting bay has options ranging from mini games to a full 18-hole round. A monthly membership to the golf simulator would be a great gift for an avid golfer in the winter time. If you’re loved one is starting to become more invested in golfing, another service available is golf club fitting. This will not only be a great experience for them to learn more about each club and how to best suit their game play, but can also save them money in the long run by avoiding buying clubs that don’t fit them. At Under Par, club fittings are free if you purchase clubs through them, but purchasing the fitting will give your loved one the opportunity to research and find the clubs that provide exactly what they want.

If you still want the satisfaction of watching someone open a gift, Under Par can also repair golf clubs. A golfer may never give you the opportunity to sneakily steal their clubs, but if they’ve put them away for the off-season, they’ll be shocked to see them under the tree!

Of course, a gift card to Under Par will always do the trick if you can’t decide between all of these options. The thought and intention behind a gift is always more important than the gift itself.

A Gift for the Whole Family

The gift giving side of the holidays is all about making those around you happy, but why can’t you enjoy the gift too? Home Innovations Spa offers the perfect gift for you and your family— a hot tub!

Sinking into a relaxing hot tub in your own home is the perfect end to a stressful day. Equipped with therapeutic water jets, soothing sound systems, tranquil lighting systems, and noise reduction systems, Home Innovation Spa’s variety of hot tubs are specially made to help you take back your time and provide the peak of relaxation.

In addition to hot tubs, Home Innovation Spa also offers spas and swim spas. Swim spas are normally twice or three times the size of a hot tub, to allow room for low-impact aerobic exercising. Public pools and fitness centers may be too crowded for your training and therapy needs, so a swim spa may be the perfect, private space for swim training.

Home Innovation Spa does it all. They will deliver your new hot tub or swim spa and install it themselves. They even have their own maintenance service to help keep your relaxation space in tip top shape.

Feel no shame in getting a gift for your family that you can benefit from. Just tell them it was from Santa!

Jingle All the Way…Down the Street!

The holidays only come around once a year, and everyone wants their own special celebration. Stand out from the crowd of dinners and office parties with a party on wheels! Tailored Dreams Party Buses has multiple party buses available that can fit anywhere from 26 to 45 passengers. These buses can take you to a destination of your choice while jamming to music that gets everyone dancing and having a good time. Buses are equipped with a Bluetooth sound system, thumping speakers, heating and A/C, and LED lights! Even more, they are the only party bus company in the area that has handicap accessible buses in their fleet.

DeeDee Loomis
Tailored Dreams Party Buses

“Having your party on wheels is a fun alternative to other venues,” suggested DeeDee Loomis, owner. “There have been so many groups that have had the time of their lives with us on our party buses! Our team takes pride and joy in making every occasion perfect. The holiday reservations fill up fast, so book now!”

A night out with Tailored Dreams Party Buses is a night to be remembered for months after. Your guests will remember the unique atmosphere and fun vibe that DeeDee and her husband bring to every ride. Take your holiday cheer to the streets and party all the way!

Have a (Knocker) Ball!

For a family-friendly celebration, Nebraska Knockerball has everything you need to keep guests of all ages engaged and entertained throughout the event.

Now offering event and game rentals year-round in their new indoor space, Nebraska Knockerball is ready to kick your holiday party into the next gear.

Manuel Walker Nebraska Knockerball

“What makes us especially unique is that we are the only company providing these services in Nebraska,” Manuel Walker, owner said. “This is all new to the local market. We are so excited to be here and remind people what it’s like to have fun again. We would love to be a part of your upcoming holiday planning!”

Nebraska Knockerball’s lineup of activities includes Giant Jenga; Giant Connect Four; yard pong; cornhole; yard dice; tug-of-war; human foosball; and foot darts, in which you kick Velcro soccer balls at a 12-foot-tall inflatable dart board. This is all in addition to the knockerballs themselves, which are single chamber inflatable spheres with inner handles and adjustable shoulder straps, allowing individuals to take part in activities such as bubble soccer. Nebraska Knockerball’s newest addition is Basketball Connect Four, which is just as fun as it sounds: it’s a giant blow-up Connect Four grid that is designed to stir up fun and competition at your next event.

These types of activities are not only fun, but they also utilize teamwork and communication skills that make an employee holiday gathering a team building exercise in disguise. Interact in ways that you don’t encounter on a regular work day, and grow deeper connections between you and your employees.

Perfect Holiday Décor

When the holiday season rolls around, you may start thinking about hosting a holiday party at your home. Finding décor that makes your home look put together and classy is a task made easy at Paisley Lynn Boutique.

Owners Cherie Anderson and Heather Chloupek have backgrounds in staging and ambiance and can help you find the perfect items to make your home a winter wonderland. They offer trendy and unique pieces that none of your guests will have seen before, all at affordable prices.

Cherie Anderson
Paisley Lynn Boutique

“We love the holidays! Whether it’s pictures, gnomes, snowmen, trees, or garlands, it all adds an amazing and memorable touch to your home,” said Cherie. “Need help decorating that fireplace mantel or the wall above your couch? We love designing and creating options for spaces that have always seemed daunting every holiday season.”

The benefit of decorating your home for the holidays or for a holiday party is wasting less money on cheap decorations that you throw away once the season is over. The quality products at Paisley Lynn are meant to be used year after year, and some may be useful year round!

Don’t feel like hosting? No problem! Paisley Lynn Boutique offers private parties at the boutique for shopping with friends and family. Hosts and their guests save money with special deals only available at the event, and you can get holiday shopping and socializing done at one time!

“We do the cleaning, dusting, and cooking. We provide light appetizers and drinks while you socialize and shop throughout the boutique,” explained Cherie. “Plus, you and your guests are supporting a small business. Owning my own business has emphasized the importance of supporting local Lincoln families who are doing their best to keep the doors open.”

On top of the holiday décor, the inventory at Paisley Lynn would make any home shine. A gift card or special item would be the perfect gift. Adding a piece of décor from a loved one to your home can serve as a constant reminder of your love for that person and will be a special memento of your relationship.

Taking the Party Downtown

Wherever you decide to have your holiday event, it’s up to you to make it a party! That’s Talon Room owner Matthew Rogge’s philosophy, anyway. At Talon Room, leave the planning to them and focus on getting your guests ready to have the time of their life.

Matthew Rogge
Talon Room

“Partnered with many local vendors, our ‘Talon-ted’ staff will plan and execute the event of your dreams,” said Matthew. “Event coordination, full-service catering and bar, and decorating services sets the Talon Room apart from the rest. We will meet all of your event needs and go above and beyond to create an event that will leave a mark.”

Talon Room can seat between 50-250 guests. Talon Catering is available, whether your party is at Talon Room or at a separate location, and can serve your guests gourmet appetizers and entrees with options that can meet any budget and time of day. Bar services can also be brought to your party, and Talon Room has a full-service in-house bar that can mix together delicious drinks for your guests.

The Talon Room is also next door to Copper Kettle Mule Bar & Eatery. Copper Kettle, Talon Room’s sister business, is another great venue for a holiday event. They offer a wide selection of over 30 craft mules, all of which include freshly squeezed lime juice and are served in 100% copper mugs to give you the highest quality cocktail they can offer.

If you can’t decide between these two venues, don’t worry. They make it easy to party at Talon Room and swing over to Copper Kettle for a fresh mule. It’s a two-for-one special!

Dress to Impress

Attending a holiday party but have nothing to wear? Look no further than Charm Boutique & Bar. Charm offers a unique shopping experience that can make finding the perfect outfit a breeze.

At Charm, you can “sip ‘n’ shop” by browsing their selection of clothes, accessories, shoes, and more with a signature drink, mimosa, beer, or other cocktails in hand.

The best part is, you can have the whole place to yourself! Sometimes all you need is a few friends by your side to find the pieces that look best on you. Charm offers a private party rental space to shop till you drop. You can even bring your own food to snack on during your shopping, and Charm will provide the drinks, the music, and the perfect atmosphere for a party!

Lindsey Tederman
Charm Boutique & Bar

“We will always have clothes and accessories, but we also offer a few more gift options like candles, slippers, and drinkware. We have added independent, local vendors to our store, which allow us to bring even more unique items in as well,” shared Owner Lindsey Tederman. “This is also a great opportunity to give the gift of a gift card, and treat a close friend or family member to a shopping spree and relaxation time complete with drinks.”

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or finding a gift for a loved one, Charm Boutique & Bar is sure to add some sparkle to your holiday season.

Creating the perfect holiday atmosphere means something different for everyone, but with the help of these local businesses, you can be sure to find something that is perfect for you and your celebrations. Remember to take time to be present with your loved ones and reflect on the memories and good times from the past year. Holiday cheer is extra special when it’s shared with those around you!