Holiday Cheer in Lincoln, NE – 2017
Hey there holidays, you’re finally here! With so much to do and so little time, it’s completely normal to feel stressed when you’re being pulled in so many directions and working within a jam-packed schedule. Still, it’s all worth it when you finally get to spend time celebrating with loved ones and others who are an important part of your life and partaking in all of the traditions you hold dear. In the season of giving, it’s also a great feeling to deliver that perfect gift – to all of the people on your list, towards a charitable cause, whatever the case may be.
So, here’s a little encouragement to keep you going – you’ve got this, and our local businesses are ready and willing to help you out with any and all of your holiday needs!
Holiday Gatherings – Let The Festivities Begin!
Your plans for the holiday season ahead likely include a number of different events that qualify as holiday gatherings. There’s a good chance you might be hosting in addition to attending, both of which requiring effort on your part to a varying degree. Either way, prior to the big events, there are of course the plans that will need to be made, and then the things to check off of your to-do list. There’s also the spur of the moment things to keep in mind just in case things don’t necessarily go according to plan, or during holidays in general, that don’t necessarily need to be arranged much in advance, if at all. Having options, and a backup plan, is an easy way to turn a holiday crisis into a great story that’s told for years to come – just reference any of the classic holiday movies, and you probably have some of your own already too.
Holiday Party Planning
If you’re still making arrangements for a holiday party, there are still excellent options with availability in the next few months, although it’s going to be limited at this point. If you’re willing to be flexible on certain things, our local hospitality professionals and event planners can still deliver a magical, memorable holiday event.
“We’re here to help and there’s still time to put together a fantastic holiday party, although if you want a good turnout, it’s best to have your date set soon so you can send out invites and secure your spot on everyone’s calendars,” says Matthew Rogge with the Talon Room. “Our venue is ideal because it has the amount of space needed to accommodate large events, say your corporate holiday parties, but it’s a nice size for the small to medium-sized business holiday parties too. It’s intimate enough that it’s commonly booked for private parties with a smaller invite list of family and friends as well. It’s all in the arrangement of the space, which is very flexible. It also lends well to décor, so transforming it into a winter wonderland or bringing your theme to life isn’t overly complicated, or you can just stick with the rustic charm and add accents as you like. As one of the more reasonably priced options in downtown Lincoln, which is such a festive area during the holidays as it is, we offer a great value for a memorable holiday event. The Talon Room is a hidden gem of sorts; once you see the space you see the possibilities. There’s a full bar and ample room to set up a catered spread, which we are more than happy to help arrange or you can bring in whatever you like. We can set up to accommodate a DJ, or we can set up a stage area if you’d prefer a live musician, ensemble, or band for your entertainment. There is a lot of flexibility working with us, that’s for sure. Even if you want us to handle all of the arrangements, it’s not a problem. We have an all-inclusive package that covers the event space, food, drinks, decorations, and DJ, all for one set price up-front. Just come to us with your ideas and your needs, then leave it up to us to make your dream event happen!”
He also notes, “If you’re looking into booking bar services for your event, that’s also something we offer at the Talon Room. We’ll bring the bar to you, wherever you’re hosting your holiday party. Concierge bar services include the fully-stocked mobile bar, drinkware, and bartenders based on how many guests you’ll be entertaining and any special requests. Want us to come up with a signature drink to serve? Done. Already have a bar but need someone to serve your guests? We’ve got you covered.”
An aspect of company holiday parties that everyone enjoys is the swag! Then there are all of the special touches you could incorporate to personalize it. You’ll want to order yours soon, depending on when you hope to have it ready for use during your event or giving as a gift at that time.
“Corporate parties can be branded in many ways,” advises Amy Doele with Flicker Promotions. “From napkins and tissues to personalized bags and drinkware, there are many ways to showcase your company. Branded items are a way for employees to feel a part of the company and feel appreciated. An important way to do this is apparel for employees. Offering quality apparel in styles and brands that your employees want to wear provides the company another opportunity to be seen in the community and for employees to look great as well.
Flicker Promotions takes a concierge approach to offering promotional items. I love to work with my clients one-on-one to help define who they would like to reach and the best way to reach them. In fact, helping stressed-out marketing departments and business owners is what I do best. You no longer need to comb the Internet to find the latest trend. I relieve the stress of looking for just the right thing for the just the right time. Not only do I handle the entire ordering process, I track what you’ve done in the past so all of your marketing items are seamless and work together to create a complete message. You’re not working with just another vendor – you’re working with a marketing partner. There are many specials running this fall and winter for items that meet many different price points and audiences. Please reach out to me so that I can help you design, decide and deliver the right punch you are looking for this holiday season.”
Home for the Holidays
This year, you might be traveling in town to your destination or hosting the family at your house. Or, you might find yourself in the droves of people who are traveling by plane, train, bus, or automobile to their holiday gatherings.
Many will descend upon Lincoln to join their family and friends to celebrate the holidays. It’s a time when we get to see our loved ones who live all over the United States and even overseas, and we also have the pleasure of running into many friends and acquaintances who are in town visiting their loved ones. After all, there’s no place like home for the holidays.
Some will stay in the homes of parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, or other family members, while for others, it’s easiest to book a hotel room. For those who are looking into the latter, selecting a hotel will depend on a variety of things. You might want to find one that’s close to where everyone will be meeting up to spend time, or since it takes a relatively short time to get anywhere in Lincoln, you might want to stay close to where there is a lot to see and do while you’re not at family gatherings.
Graduate Lincoln just opened in the Haymarket bordering downtown, so it’s situated in a great spot with plenty of action within walking distance. It also features a restaurant and bar in the hotel, so it’s got the amenities to enjoy without even having to leave. The Haymarket, downtown, and the nearby Railyard District come alive during the holidays, making it a fun and festive area for travelers to take in during their stay in Lincoln.
While you’ll likely spend a significant amount of time in the homes of family and friends, it’s always fun to get out and go do something together. Catching a movie, grabbing a few drinks at a local bar, enjoying a meal out at your favorite restaurant, going ice skating, or hitting the lanes for a little friendly competition at the local bowling alley – these are all family-friendly and so much fun to do together as a group (or if just a few of you need to take a little break from the group…it’s OK, we’ve all been there.).
“The holidays are a great time to gather with your family, friends, and neighbors for some merriment and cheer, but take the pressure and work out of hosting it yourself and come to one of the friendly 48 Bowl, Inc. centers instead,” says Jennifer Davis-Korn with 48 Bowl, Inc. “There is good old-fashioned fun for all ages to enjoy at both Parkway Lanes and Hollywood Bowl. We’re happy to host your group on the lanes, in our bar, or both! We’ve got some helpful tips to help you pull off a successful celebration. If you’re a planner, know that we are ready to make this easy. Before calling us to inquire about reservation packages, jot down the date(s) and time(s) you are hoping to book, how many people are in your group, if you plan on providing food and/or beverages and what your budget is. When you have this information, call our Special Events and Programs Director, Terri Jo Podraza at (402) 483-7763 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll answer your questions and help build you the best package for your group and budget. We can accommodate groups and budgets sized small to large so don’t hesitate to see what we can arrange for you!
If you like to wing it or you’re hoping to have a casual outing with old friends or family in town, bowling is a fantastic social activity that everyone seems to enjoy. It’s fun to high five and fist bump when you strike and okay to laugh at yourself when you gutter. Both of our centers will be open and spreading the seasonal cheer on Thanksgiving Day and the entire holiday weekend. Expect the lanes to be busy at peak times, which include weekend/after dinner hours, but if you have to wait just sit back and enjoy a beverage from our full-service bar. Better yet, if you bring in a can of food (or another item of need) during the long holiday weekend of Nov. 22-27, we’ll give you 25% off your open bowling purchase. All donations will go to the Food Bank of Lincoln. It is possible that a center might be completely booked at certain times so we do recommend calling the center you’re hoping to bowl at to inquire about lane availability. For Parkway Lanes on 2555 S. 48th St., call (402) 483-7763. For Hollywood Bowl on 920 N. 48th St., call (402) 466-1911.”
Jen Miseno with Sun Valley Lanes adds, “Hosting a family gathering can be a stressful occasion, especially with extra people around the house. When you have guests from out of town who need something to occupy their time, allowing you to finish your preparations, send them bowling. It’s a great family bonding event that everyone can participate in.
Also, when the kids are out of school on break and looking for entertainment during the week between Christmas and New Year, we give our league bowlers a break too. This means there are more open lanes available during prime time weeknights in order to come out for open bowling.”
All destinations considered, there are so many options for great places to gather locally, and our restaurants and bars here in Lincoln are among the most popular. Dining, drinking, both – there’s a venue to fit any mood, whether you’re looking for a low-key spot to relax and unwind, a vibrant place to celebrate, or a wild night filled with music, dancing and champagne toasts.
There’s definitely no place like MōMō Pizzeria & Ristorante, offering an upscale, extraordinary dining experience in a cozy yet modern neighborhood restaurant & bar setting. The chef-inspired menu of house-crafted dishes changes with the seasons, and all of their fare is made with the freshest ingredients brought in from Italy or locally sourced. Not to mention the cocktail menu is a thing of beauty, and it is updated seasonally as well. If you want to impress your friends and family who are in town for the holidays by way of experiencing a taste of our local dining scene, this is the spot.
Back to the Haymarket, as well as downtown Lincoln and the Railyard, being festive areas with a diverse array of dining and entertainment options, if your guests from out of town want to experience Lincoln, a night out on the town is the way to go.
In the spirit of treating your guests to an experience and cuisine they can’t find at home, Ichiban Sichuan has plenty to offer in that area. There’s a great selection Asian-inspired cuisine, and for groups, the sushi boat or the Japanese Hot Pot, which is kind of similar to the popular fondue concept, are both excellent choices. Since you’ll be eating all of the traditional holiday fare the rest of the time, why not switch it up and treat your taste buds to something different, right?
With so much holiday cheer, the “morning after” can sometimes be pretty rough on everyone. Have family in from out of town and not feeling up to everything that goes into preparing and serving breakfast or lunch at home? No problem, dine out! In fact, when traveling it’s always nice to try something new that you can’t find at home.
Greenfield’s Café serves brunch all day, in addition to a menu full of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too. If you’re looking for a fast, casual place to grab a delicious bite to eat, it fits the bill to a tee. Or, just designate someone to come pick up the to-go order for the family and you can stay in your holiday peejays a bit longer!
When it comes to the holiday meal itself, traditionally speaking it’s the turkey that’s the star of the show. If you’re hosting this year and devoting your entire day to cooking the holiday meal isn’t really up your alley, good news, you can still serve it up with the best of them. Cowboy Chicken, a restaurant that specializes in wood fire rotisserie chicken that’s to-die-for, applies the same cooking method to turkeys for a limited time during the holiday season!
“Our wood fire rotisserie turkeys have the perfect flavor, and paired with our seasonal apple cobbler, makes every November and December special for our guests,” said Joe Armstrong with Cowboy Chicken Lincoln. “By using our proprietary Cowboy seasoning, and cooking over a wood-burning fire, you get layers of flavor.”
You can place an order for a wood fire rotisserie turkey or holiday meal package with all of the fixin’s and have it waiting for you to stop by to pick up exactly when you need it, or catering services are also available for holiday parties.
Ham is also a popular holiday entrée, and if that’s what you have in mind, give Country Sliced Ham a try – you won’t regret it!
Hosting Duties & Details
While we’re on the topic, for those who are hosting the family gathering in their homes this year, you’ve probably got your work cut out for you. With so much to do to prepare, while you might feel like you’ve got a good handle on everything, there’s always something that inevitably gets forgotten.
“I’d advise anyone who is hosting guests in their home for the holidays to make sure they are stocked up on snacks and morning coffee,” says Charlotte Ralston with RU Nuts and Ahroma Specialty Coffee. “It’s the little things. Having these staple items on-hand will ensure everyone is comfortable, satisfied, and able to fully enjoy their stay with you.
There’s nothing like starting the day off around the table with your loved ones catching up over a fresh cup of coffee. Instead of everyone having to venture out to grab a cup of coffee, you can bring the coffeehouse to your house with Ahroma’s locally-roasted coffee. It’s such a nice thing to do as a host to have great-tasting coffee on-hand. Plus the smell of freshly-brewed coffee wafting through the house is one that makes everyone feel at home, warm and cozy, as you make holiday memories holidays together. As far as snacks, munching throughout the day is fairly commonplace during holiday gatherings. It can seem like forever for it to be time to sit down and eat, and as the host, it’s nice to put a little spread out for grazing in the meantime. Light snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and trail mix are great because they’ll tide you over but not completely ruin your appetite. There’s surely an abundance of treats and a calorie-fest when it comes to holiday dinners, so it’s often a welcome surprise to at least have a few healthier options available too.
We even offer a specialty ‘Get Together’ gift basket packed with all of the essentials included. There’s mixed nuts, trail mix, a sweet treat, and both Ahroma premium coffee pot-size packs and single-serving packs of Big Train Chai tea. Whether you’re hosting or gifting, we have an assortment of gift baskets that are always a big hit. This includes Coffee Lovers, Holiday Cheer, Nebraska ‘Buy Local’, People Pleaser, The Good Times, and V.I.P. These are at a variety of price points as well, designed by us to fit the needs we find most common during the holidays.”
Not to worry, there will also be plenty of opportunities to indulge in sweet treats too. If you haven’t had the chance to try what Nothing Bundt Cakes is serving up, you are seriously missing out! Whether you’re hosting a holiday gathering or bringing an item to the potluck, one of their cakes is sure to be a big hit.
“Our decorated 8” and 10” cakes make a perfect treat and centerpiece for your holiday gathering,” says Sharon Hansen with Nothing Bundt Cakes. “We have several autumn, Thanksgiving and Christmas designs that will make a beautiful and festive addition to your table. If you have a larger group, we would recommend our Bundtinis, which are 2-3 bites, easy to serve, and available in all 10 flavors. Our featured flavor for November is Pumpkin Spice, and for December it’s Peppermint Chocolate Chip. All sizes of cakes are available in the featured flavors.”
Another detail that truly adds to any atmosphere is arrangements of fresh flowers! Whether it’s a centerpiece at the dining room table or displayed in prominent areas throughout the home to add color and beauty, you can’t go wrong with utilizing the talents of your local florist to take your décor to the next level.
“Even the smallest arrangement can brighten up a room, so you don’t need much to have a creative conversation starter or enhance a festive gathering,” says Sara Reyes Sudman with Fields Floral. “It’s also fun to incorporate what’s in season, especially for the holidays!”
She also offers some helpful words of advice for her fellow hosts and hostesses out there: “One thing that I have learned throughout the years that has made my life easier is to focus on the things I am good at and delegate the rest. I think that applies to anything, especially during the holiday season. If you are a great cook, dedicate your time to getting the meals done or making your favorite dish and call us to help create that beautiful centerpiece or arrangement that you want to have, but don’t have the time to make. It’s also easy to forget birthdays, funerals, or other day-to-day celebrations during this time of year, so let us help you check one more thing off your do-to list. We have great designers that make your vision a reality and we offer delivery services, which saves you time!”
Then there are the practical aspects of your home (or office) that play an important role during the holidays. Safety is important when dealing with things you’d commonly find during a holiday season full of festivities, such as those impressive displays of lights or a countertop full of crock-pots, where you’ll want to be smart and exercise caution. While it might be funny when it’s in a movie, because hey, it’s Clark Griswold, having an electrical mishap to deal with is certainly no laughing matter in real life.
“One of the first things I think of when it comes to hosting family for holiday meals is crock-pots!” says Matt Collins with Oak Electric, Inc. “You’ve seen them, a tidy row along the countertop plugged into power strips and extensions cords. I have been to countless emergency calls where somebody smells smoke because they have overloaded a circuit and burned it out. Not only is this a safety hazard, but can hinder the holiday spirit. My wife and I host many family gatherings throughout the year and in my personal residence, I have wired each and every outlet in our kitchen to its very own dedicated circuit. I strongly encourage anyone who is planning to host to consider having a licensed electrician inspect their current situation.
Planning for the holidays also includes decorating. Over the years, I have been excited to see more and more Christmas lights using LED technology – this greatly reduces the load on your circuits. Another tip to save energy would be to install timers to turn on and off your decorations. Some of my clients have even requested to have switched outlets installed in the overhangs so they can easily turn on and off their decorations with an interior switch.
Please consider these ideas and plan ahead – you will be disappointed if you wait until the last minute.
To schedule your project, please call me at (402) 440-5969 or visit our website at www.oakelectriccompany.com.”
After running yourself ragged ensuring all of your duties as a host are carried out to perfection, and setting all of the appointments for the items you’ll have performed by the professionals, make sure you get to a enjoy a little ‘me time.’ Who doesn’t want to look their very best when entertaining or celebrating for that matter?
“Salon and spa services are such a great way to treat yourself, especially when you want to look your best for a special night out, hosting a holiday party or just need to relax from the holiday stresses!” says Tasha Schmeichel with Tranquility Salon & Spa. “We are a full-service salon and day spa offering everything from all the latest trends in hair coloring, cutting & styling to our beautiful newly-built day spa! Relaxing time in our spa includes massages, facials, our signature spa pedicures, nail services, waxing, spa tanning, makeup and more! With a blowout in our beautiful blow dry bar, you’ll leave rejuvenated and ready to stun at your event.
When preparing for hosting a party, we can help relieve some of the stress that naturally comes with it with our wide variety of spa services, even if just for a 30 minute back, neck and shoulder massage. We also have a relaxation room to hang out in for quiet time or with a friend before and after each spa service, as well as private, secure locker rooms complete with steam showers. Planning to come in on the day of your event for a shampoo, blowout and professional makeup application takes the pressure off of doing it yourself and allows time to relax while we perfect your look for the day!”
She also notes, “We are always offering specials and holiday packages that can be found on our website, www.tranquilitydayspaandsalon.com, and our social media sites. The first Tuesday of each month we offer 20% off everything in the salon from our spa gifts to our selection of luxury hair, skin and body products, so this is a great time to stock up on gifts or something for yourself! We can accommodate large and small office parties, wedding, bachelorette, holiday gatherings, or end your busy holiday shopping day with a nice, relaxing facial or massage! Our parties are handled by our Spa Manager, Rachel Heser and she will be happy to explain everything we have to offer!
Call early to reserve your time in our salon and spa as the closer we get to the holidays, space does become very limited. You can reach us at (402) 328-0777. We can’t wait to pamper you!”
Holiday Gift Giving – Make Your List & Check It Twice!
There’s nothing like finding the perfect gifts to give, and then presenting them with pride, to make one’s heart full. There are many wonderful people who might find their way onto your list this year – family, friends, neighbors, bosses, coworkers, clients, patrons, all of your favorite service providers, and so on. Let’s just say we all have our work cut out for us. Here are a few ideas to consider that can be found locally, because during the time of the year where we’re spending a significant amount of money, our dollars can do so much more if we spend them at the businesses here in our community!
“With the holidays right around the corner, gift ideas are always a common struggle for people. Whether it’s finding something for a loved one or a white elephant gift to the local office party, gift certificates are wonderful for those who just want to keep it simple but still want to give something nice. Why consider giving a gift of a professional massage? Many people don’t make appointments for themselves but would benefit from it immensely. They either ‘don’t have time’ or ‘forget’ to take care of themselves. When your significant other asks you to ‘massage’ out an area, it’s likely that driving a thumb into an area as hard as you can isn’t the right solution. It could cause more issues for the receiver AND cause pain to the giver when trying too hard. Instead, because it hurts, perhaps giving the gift of an appointment with an experienced professional who can help alleviate that pain is the key. If that’s something you want to do, finding out what the gift recipient expects from or desires in a massage is very important. That will guide you in the right direction as to where you should get your gift certificate, depending on the service menu, specialty areas and/or techniques utilized. We are offering some great specials during the holidays, so be sure to find us online or get in touch and ask about them!” – Erin Lange, 5 Elements Massage
“Our Bundtlets make a terrific gift. They are a single-serving cake that can be gift wrapped and decorated in a 1, 2 or 3 tier tower. They are a perfect way to say thank you to a friend, co-worker, boss or client and are always the perfect and delicious way to help someone celebrate a birthday! Our Bundtinis that are packaged by the dozen can also be gift wrapped and decorated for the holidays when you are gifting a larger group. We can gift wrap 1 or 2 dozen together.” – Sharon Hansen, Nothing Bundt Cakes
“Gift ideas are our specialty! We offer gift cards to be purchased online, by phone or at the salon. Come in or get in touch with us to put together a special gift! We also offer a beautiful selection of spa items that make excellent stocking stuffers, can be given on their own or paired with a gift card. Gift cards to the spa are more than just a way to congratulate, wish someone a happy birthday, give as a Christmas gift or teacher gift. You are giving the gift of time and health of mind and body! Who wouldn’t love that? You can choose from any of our services, give a dollar amount or a spa package.” – Tasha Schmeichel, Tranquility Salon & Spa
“I’m a big fan of gift cards. You just can’t beat the flexibility. Gift cards make it easy to maintain your budget and the recipient is able to choose exactly what they’d like whether it be something tangible or an experience. The wonderful thing about the gift of an experience is that it creates memories. An item can get lost or become worn out, but a memory will last a lifetime. 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!” – Jen Miseno, Sun Valley Lanes
“At Sartor Hamann Jewelers we pride ourselves on helping our customers find gifts for the most special times in their lives, and we have such an amazing selection in our stores during the holidays. You’ll find all of the top brands and so many different styles to suit varying tastes. We also specialize in creating custom pieces. Let us help you find that perfect gift this holiday season!” – Jordan Hamann, Sartor Hamann Jewelers
“This is a great time of year to be a bit more creative with your gift giving. A great gift option is an etched bottle of wine with your logo/name, recipient’s name, and/or personal message on it. Available in several options from champagne to merlot, these are a wonderful way to say thank you with a gift that can also be displayed. Sherpa blankets that are toasty warm and either embroidered or lasered with a logo/name are a great way to showcase your brand and gratitude or personalize your gift. These get a lot of use and are much appreciated. Many useful items can be branded/personalized and can be used to show appreciation any time of the year.” – Amy Doele, Flicker Promotions
“Massage makes such a great gift, and it also pairs well with other spa services for a full pampering session. Gift certificates/cards offer the flexibility to select a time that works best and the service(s) the recipient prefers, so I highly recommend that as the way to go. However, if you’re one of the lucky ones who does know exactly what the person would want and when they’d have the opportunity to fully enjoy the experience, it’s always nice to be surprised with plans already made for you. Either way, we’re happy to help. We’ll be running a holiday special from Nov. 1 – Dec. 31 for a signature facial paired with your choice of a 60-minute deep tissue or Swedish massage for $99, which is an excellent value. These can be conveniently purchased online or by calling us to make arrangements.” – Dennis Varley, The Body Shoppe
“Everyone loves flowers, so you can’t go wrong there. We recently launched a Fields Floral Membership program, which is a great option to look into for your year-round gifting needs. You can gift someone 12 months’ worth of flowers beginning with the holidays, or split it up and have gifts for everyone throughout the year! We’ll send an arrangement to that special someone each month or you can freestyle it, meaning we’ll create something different for you every month. This is perfect for the busy business owner or working professional because we do all the planning for you and you walk away knowing that on Valentine’s Day, your significant other will get an arrangement, on your daughter’s birthday, she will receive a candy bouquet, etc. We also offer practical gifts for different personalities, including barware for the drink enthusiast, baby outfits, books, stuffed animals for the new baby in your life, home decor and stationery. Feel free to stop by or check out our website for more ideas!” – Sara Reyes Sudman, Fields Floral
“At the 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. 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. Or you could give the gift of experience and go with a wine tasting.” – Barb Ballard, From Nebraska Gift Shop & James Arthur Vineyards
With much to do to prepare for the holidays, and the flurry of activity that will ensue over the next couple of months, it’s wise to enlist the help of our local professionals. There’s no better feeling than having everything handled masterfully, which also allows you to enjoy the special moments throughout. We wish you all well – let the holiday madness commence and may it be an incredible season full of blessings!