Holiday Wrap-Up in Lincoln, Nebraska

Well, this is it – we’re officially in the midst of the holiday season! Another plentiful Thanksgiving feast is in the books and next up: holiday decorating, shopping, parties, exchanging gifts, and most importantly, continuing to spend time with all of the wonderful people in our lives. Likely more of what we’ve already been doing in the past few weeks is in store, and it will continue on through January too. Brace yourselves, because right about now there’s no end to the merriment in sight!

The “Need-It-Nows”: Last-Minute Gift Shopping

While a lot of us have planned accordingly, already beating the rush to find most of our gifts, even the most savvy holiday shoppers still likely have a few people yet to check off this year’s list. We can all relate to the struggle of finding the perfect holiday gift, and you don’t have to settle for any less than that just yet. Or how about those of us out there who just plan to wing it? If you can relate more to that approach at this point, no problem there either.

Here’s some final holiday gifting inspiration courtesy of our fantastic local businesses here in Lincoln, Nebraska:

For those on your list who enjoy grilling out, or who considers jerky to be a delicacy that is welcome anytime, Smoking Gun Jerky has what you need.

Kris Hall-Ferguson Smoking Gun Jerky - Headshot

Kris Hall-Ferguson
Smoking Gun Jerky

“We offer a variety of products that make great gifts, including many that are perfect for the hard-to-buy-for,” says Kris Hall-Ferguson of Smoking Gun Jerky. “Our jerky is nutritious PLUS it is a favorite snack food for many. Especially at this time of year, snacks that aren’t full of sugar or high in fat are very much appreciated. Stuffing stockings, grab bag gifts, or gifting for that Secret Santa can be a challenge sometimes, but jerky is a surefire hit with almost everyone! During the month of December we offer special-sized packages that we sell in a 2-pack for $10. This is a great gift idea that is reasonably priced, handy and ready to go. We have done this for the past several years and it is a big hit! There is a limited supply of these but we do our best to keep them available as supply and demand permits.

We also offer gift cards if you are unsure of what flavor might appeal to the recipient. Baskets are always the go-to last-minute gift, especially when you can select your own products, which allows you to choose your gift AND your price range. We can put these together for you while you wait or you can order ahead and pick up later. Or how about corporate gift bags? Companies can place an order and the personalized gifts are then delivered directly to the specified location. Personalization with company name can be added to jerky or other gift baskets for no charge with quantity orders too!

In the final stretch of the holidays, my advice is to make time for yourself. Gift baskets reduce wrapping time as do gift cards. We also offer many salsa and dip options that make entertaining quick and easy. While Pinterest is a great resource and full of wonderful ideas, Christmas is not the time to take on many of these projects. I have tried some myself, and often they are not as easy as they look. No need to add disappointment to your gift-giving experience. In addition to our specialty, jerky, we offer a selection of Nebraska-made gifts that are well-receive by anyone who appreciate artisan- and locally-made gifts. Stick with a tried and true gift from a local company, satisfaction guaranteed!”

Speaking of Nebraska-made items making great gifts, From Nebraska Gift Shop and James Arthur Vineyards also have these aplenty, as you might suspect judging by the name of the first.


Barb Ballard
From Nebraska Gift Shop
James Arthur Vineyards

“We’re a one-stop shop for fantastic gifts, offering an impressive selection of products that are all from right here in Nebraska,” says Barb Ballard of From Nebraska Gift Shop and James Arthur Vineyards. “This includes anything grown or made in Nebraska–food items, clothing, art, award-winning wine, and more; the store has something for everyone. Our pre-made gift baskets are curated by our staff who have done these for years, so the presentation and combination of items are both really nice. As another option, we can customize gift baskets 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.

As far as entertainment goes, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, a fun last-minute idea for a party or gathering I recommend giving a try is testing everyone’s palette with a blind wine tasting. Buy a number of wines, including those from JAV, and put them in brown bags. Have guests make notes while they enjoy trying a number of different styles of wine. Or, the winery 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.

Whether the items you’re seeking are for gifts or gatherings, we really try to encourage people to let us help take care of all the details. Our goal is to make things as easy as possible for the customer, simplifying the process however we can. At minimum, all we need is your budget and an idea of what you want and we’ll handle the rest. And, what better way to reduce stress than sampling some wine while you shop? For those out and about tying all of the loose ends together towards the end of the month, we will have our ‘Twilight Hours’ again this year at the winery when we stay open until 8 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. to accommodate our last-minute shoppers.”

Jana Clark Habitat - headshot

Jana Clark

Many local businesses even offer a handy “wish list” service, which makes shopping much less of a guessing game. “Anyone can stop in and make up a wish list in advance,” says Jana Clark of Habitat. “We’ll keep it on file at the store. That wish list can then be used for Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. throughout the year. What we have learned from the three years of doing this is that women love it and their partners and kids REALLY love getting items that they know are on the wish list. On Guys Night Out we pull the wish lists and help find the items. Shoppers also enjoy brats and beer while we do the wrapping! Have your loved ones make a wish list at Habitat and use it all year long, for any occasion. Our staff are excellent at putting gifts together; in fact, it’s one of their favorite things to do. Need office gifts? Girlfriend gifts? Sister gifts? Here are just a few ideas to consider. One of our specialty jams and a spreader tied with a bow is cute and easy. We have a new line of chocolates from a Belgian-Canadian chocolatier that is beautifully packaged. There are coloring books for adults, funny and light-spirited gift books, and bread mixes paired with a holiday spatula. And towels? We have hundreds. We have loads of items for stocking the bar, like wine charms, glasses, wine bottle openers, gourmet olives, stir sticks, aerators, vodka infused cherries, and even a cocktail smoking kit! Complete your table with dishes and platters, napkins, placemats, beautiful holiday decorative table top trees, reindeer and lots of glitter.”

Greta’s Gourmet is another local gem where great gifts can be found, or of course, the place to grab the essentials for your holiday meals and parties.

Kevin Mandigo Greta’s Gourmet - Headshot

Kevin Mandigo
Greta’s Gourmet

“Although we’re no longer a walk-in and take-out retail deli and butcher shop, we still offer a full concierge butcher menu that’s available on our website,,” says Kevin Mandigo of Greta’s Gourmet. “You can either place the order over the phone or online for pick-up within 24-48 hours. This means you’re still able to enjoy anything on our traditional menu as well as our seasonal holiday menu, including everything from cured and smoked turkeys, double-smoked ham, and smoked prime rib to a wide variety of gourmet sides and desserts. So a gift card gives the recipient the freedom to enjoy their favorites from Greta’s Gourmet! Our signature line of seasonings also make fantastic gifts, particularly stocking stuffers or as an addition to gift baskets. Or, with the ability to choose the amount of your gift card, why not give the unexpected gift of a catered meal?

As for planning your own holiday meals, relying on local businesses to help you out can end up taking a lot off your shoulders. Realize that you’re a busy person and you don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to go all out cooking an 8-course dinner, just do the things you actually like doing and then let us take care of the rest! Our cured and smoked turkey is consistently reviewed by our customers as the best they’ve ever had in their lives, which is a very high compliment but also means it’s a safe bet if you’re worried about putting your culinary skills to the test in the kitchen or just want to try something new this year. Pick it up already cooked (on Christmas Eve until 5 p.m.), pop it in the oven to reheat, and it turns out fantastic every time. To ensure optimal results, we provide complete step-by-step instructions for reheating anything you order off the holiday menu.”

Lincoln has become quite the wonderland for foodies, and since just about everyone enjoys being treated to a nice meal at their favorite restaurant, you really can’t go wrong with a gift card for an experience. You can also get creative with the help of our local restaurants too!

Kelli Pilkington Venue Restaurant & Lounge - headshot

Kelli Pilkington
Venue Restaurant & Lounge

“The best, easiest thing you can do that still means a lot is giving the gift of a night out in an iconic local restaurant,” says Kelli Pilkington of Venue Restaurant & Lounge. “Our guests love coming in to get holiday gift cards for their friends, families and clients. It’s heartwarming when you pick the restaurant and it’s always a treat when it’s Venue.

In these last days leading up to the holidays, this is my mantra: keep it simple and enjoy! Treat yourself around the holidays and make things as simple as possible. If you have a busy night of shopping and gift wrapping, simply use our new online system to order a homemade meal from Venue for your whole family that you can pick up after work. You’ll have a delicious meal on the table and still be able to get those last minute holiday to-do’s complete with enough time for a glass of wine before bed!

We also love hosting in-home holiday parties. Our team will set up a gorgeous display, handle all of the food and service, tend bar if you’d like, and leave everything spotless at the end. So if you’re wanting to host a holiday party in your home this year but are worried about the cooking and clean up, we’ll take care of everything! On that same note, with our 4 gorgeous private dining rooms, there’s still time yet this year to wow your guests by treating them to an amazing holiday event filled with crafted cocktails, a variety of wine, and local chef-inspired cuisine at Venue.

As yet another option, we have some amazing new holiday trays that will truly enhance your holiday parties this year. Simply order your trays on our website, pick them up before your party, and have a chef-crafted spread for your guests to enjoy. Everything from our signature Venue dip and bacon-wrapped scallops to our beautiful antipasto spread and bruschetta bar–you’ll love bringing freshly-made cuisine to your holiday event.

No matter what you might need, we are truly here to make your holiday events a unique experience that your guests will never forget.”

Natasha Plooster Eat Fit Go - Headshot

Natasha Plooster
Eat Fit Go

Further expanding on the fantastic idea of giving the gift of food, Natasha Plooster of Eat Fit Go suggests, “Who wouldn’t love the gift of a personal chef for one meal or a week’s worth of meals? Not to mention the best part, there won’t even be a mess in the kitchen! An Eat Fit Go gift card is just that; the gift of freedom from shopping, cooking and cleaning, even if just for a meal. After all the holiday celebration, I can guarantee that this will be the one of the most appreciated gifts!


The holidays are such a fun and busy, but sometimes stressful, time of the year. Between finding the perfect gifts and hosting or attending holiday parties, maintaining a balanced diet becomes extremely difficult. At Eat Fit Go, we strive to lighten your load by providing freshly prepared and nutritionally balanced meals for you to enjoy at your convenience.

This holiday season, we celebrate YOU! When you purchase $100 gift card at Eat Fit Go, you will get a $15 bonus card to use at your discretion – treat yourself or re-gift (we won’t mind!).”

Joe Armstrong Cowboy Chicken

Joe Armstrong
Cowboy Chicken

Joe Armstrong of Cowboy Chicken also offers some gift and gathering ideas that can be found at his local restaurant, which specializes in delicious wood fired rotisserie chicken – and during the holidays, turkeys cooked the same way too!

“One way we here at Cowboy Chicken can assist you with those last minute gift ideas is through our gift card program. It’s a great way to show your employees, friends and family you care. This holiday season we are offering a great deal on our gift cards. When you buy $50 worth of gift cards, you get an extra $10 gift card free to use anytime. You can buy our gift cards online at, drop by the restaurant at 2801 Pine Lake Road or call us at 402.420.0153 and we will deliver your gift cards to you anywhere in Lincoln. We take the hassle out of holiday shopping. Giving a gift card from Cowboy Chicken allows the recipient the opportunity to use their gift towards a turkey package for the holidays, a family meal package when life is a little too hectic or a lunch out with friends just to enjoy the holiday season together.

We are also offering our holiday Wood Fire Rotisserie Turkey packages through the end of the year. What a great way to have a stress-free holiday! Let us here at Cowboy Chicken do all the cooking for you. Trying to plan a holiday party for work or home? We will bring all of our wood fire goodies right to you. Is waiting until after the holidays to get your teams or family together more appealing? No problem! We have you covered even after the holidays have come and gone.”

As previously noted, which many of us are already aware, wine pairs incredibly well with holiday fare and is also a great gift. Also, sometimes it’s nice to escape for a little bit and enjoy a few glasses of wine in the company of friends. A holiday trifecta indeed, and barVino is the place to go for all three.

Jen Amen-Tomka barVino - Headshot

Jen Amen-Tomka

“A wine club membership is a fantastic gift idea that the recipient will be able to enjoy throughout the coming year,” says Jen Amen-Tomka of barVino. “There are a number of great perks, including featured wines and an exclusive wine tasting on the 1st Friday of each month.

Our monthly wine tasting event that is open to anyone who wants to join on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Cost for this tasting is $15 for guests, but it’s another free perk for our wine club members.

On the retail side, all of the wines at barVino are available for purchase by the bottle off-sale. We also have a nice, and growing, selection of wine-related merchandise. Gift certificates are available and we can also put together a custom, personalized wine basket. This means you can stop by for a glass of wine and leave with gifts!”

Celebrations are also a common occurrence at barVino, as it’s a cozy, welcoming place to gather and of course, again, there’s wine. “We are happy to host impromptu gatherings, but always take reservations too. For groups of 8 or more, simply give us a call ahead if you can and we’ll have everything ready when you arrive. For those who are looking to host a party yet this year, or even in January, and are open to considering a Sunday or Monday date, we are closed on those days and don’t charge any additional fees for events at our venue.”

With a variety of different gift card promotions going on throughout the holidays, right now is the time for smart shoppers to take advantage of additional savings. Who doesn’t love the most familiar “one for you, and one for me” deals? Also, gift cards to restaurants and bars aren’t just convenient gifts; you can also purchase them strategically to save on your holiday parties and gatherings!

Kyle Fessler Yowie’s Lodge - Headshot

Kyle Fessler
Yowie’s Lodge

Kyle Fessler of Yowie’s Lodge explains, “Our current holiday gift card promotion is as follows:

Purchase $25 Gift Card, Receive Free $5 Gift Card; Purchase $100 Gift Card, Receive Free $20 Gift Card; Purchase $1,000 Gift Card, Receive Free $200 Gift Card.

These gift cards can be used for anything—dining, carry-out, drinks, catering, or a combination of these. In light of this, they make excellent gifts for your personal gift-giving, corporate gift-giving, and are a savvy purchase for those hosting parties and gatherings. For example, a business could purchase the $1,000/+$200 option and use it in the future for event catering, to host clients, to treat employees—there are plenty of possibilities!”

Whether it’s coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, a catered meal, cocktails, even a cooking class – a gift card is pretty great and just about everywhere you go is prepared with plenty on-hand for the holiday rush. You can definitely count on those in the hospitality and retail businesses to be well prepared!

Speaking of the gift of an experience, we’re not done yet by a longshot! There are so many things to see, do, and enjoy around Lincoln, and luckily enough, just about all of them have gift options available!

The escape room craze hit Lincoln this year full force, and our favorite spot nestled in the Haymarket is in the perfect location for a double-treat of a night out to dinner with the challenge of a mystery to be solved before or after.

Abby Bartholomew Escape Lincoln - Headshot

Abby Bartholomew
Escape Lincoln

“We offer gift certificates in various amounts that are great for gifting,” says Abby Bartholomew of Escape Lincoln. “This allows people to give a unique, special experience while still leaving it up to the recipient on when they want to try an escape, how many people they want to bring, etc. Gift certificates can be purchased online on our website and either emailed or printed to be gifted, which means you’re covered for any last-minute needs!

We will also be offering special deals and promotions throughout the holiday season, so make sure to watch for those to pop up! The best way to find out about these is to sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter.”

Or, staying within the realm of entertainment, you could choose to go with a classic American pastime and treat your loved ones to a fun afternoon or evening of bowling.

“As we all head into the final stretch of the holidays, we at Hollywood Bowl and Parkway Lanes turn our focus to kids, families and friends,” says Jennifer Davis-Korn of 48 Bowl. “We think it’s pretty likely your focus has turned there, too. If you are anything like us, you have extra loved ones in town, if not in your house, and you want to be able to plan some fun and affordable activities to do together. Might we suggest bowling? There are a couple of fantastic specials that we run during winter break that make bringing the whole group in an easy choice.

Our most popular offering is the School’s Out Special. Everyone (including adults) can get two games and shoe rental for just $8 per person. This special is available at both centers, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., on December 23, 26-30 and January 2-3. We love it when old friends meet up or generations of the same family come in to bowl together, but there may be times when lanes are not available at one of the centers due to leagues or bookings. Therefore, we always recommend that you call in advance to inquire about the center schedule for that day.

Another special holiday offering to consider is our New Year’s Eve parties. We offer four different parties across two locations. Packages range from $55 per lane to $150 per lane and all include at least two hours of bowling and shoe rental for up to 6 people. Some packages include more amenities like food, beverages and party favors. We also have packages designed especially for families with small children who want to celebrate their countdown earlier. All packages and details can be found by visiting

If you have any questions about any of our specials, parties, or help making last minute arrangements, please call us. We’d love to see how we can help you. For Parkway Lanes (2555 S 48th St.) call 402.483.7763 and for Hollywood Bowl (920 N 48th St.) call 402.466.1911.

Jen Miseno Sun Valley Lanes - Headshot

Jen Miseno
Sun Valley Lanes

Joining in the common theme when it comes to finding last-minute gifts, Jen Miseno of Sun Valley Lanes also notes, “If you are running out of time or just don’t know what to get someone, you can’t go wrong with gift cards. They are quick and easy to purchase, and the recipient is guaranteed to like the gift or experience they pick out themselves. From now until Dec. 23rd we are offering $5 in arcade credit for each $25 gift card purchased, so you get even more bang for your buck!”

Pampering is a fantastic way to treat those special people in your life during the holidays too! Salon and spa services make great gifts, and since personal preference varies here, a gift card definitely makes sense. While you’re at it, don’t forget to take the time to “Treat Yo Self.” (Any Parks and Recreation fans out there know that the actual day has passed, but still, you get the point.)


Ashley Pavlish
Body Nouveaux Spa

“The holidays can be really stressful!” says Ashley Pavlish of Body Nouveaux Spa. “We provide the opportunity for our clients to come in and unwind while also knocking out some holiday shopping to extend the gift of pampering and relaxation to their loved ones. There are plenty of holiday specials running throughout the month of December, and we pride ourselves in being able to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules with day, evening, and weekend appointments. Gift certificates are the perfect way to allow the recipients to choose whatever services they may want or need, and they can even pick up their favorite Image Skincare products or Feya Candles while they’re at it. Or, instead of a dollar amount, these also can be purchased for specific services or packages. You can stop by and grab them or purchase them online at, which is easy and very convenient as it saves you the trip. You can print them off at your home or office and away you go!”

Tasha Schmeichel Tranquility Salon & Spa - Headshot

Tasha Schmeichel
Tranquility Salon & Spa

There really are a lot of options to explore in this particular area, which is nice if you’re looking for something different but that is sure to be a big hit. “We have everything from travel-sized products that are perfect for stocking stuffers to full size luxury hair, skin and body products that are always a treat to receive!” says Tasha Schmeichel of Tranquility Salon & Spa. “Gift cards are also available, which can be purchased in any dollar amount to be used towards services and/or products! We know how busy everyone gets with the holidays so if a guest is not able to make it in to purchase a gift card we will happily take payment over the phone and mail it to you or directly to the recipient. As we get closer to Christmas we also offer specials such as giveaways, discounts, and plenty of treats at our holiday open house.

With so many different things going on, I highly recommend taking time for yourself during the holiday season as it can get rather stressful. Even if you can spare 30 minutes for a relaxing back, neck and shoulder massage or our rejuvenating express facial, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to take on more holiday action. A hand and foot massage is always so relaxing and these even come with manicure and pedicure services. If you have a special event to attend or even if you’re just going out to dinner, take advantage of our blowdry bar, makeup bar, manicure and pedicure experience, or a combination of salon and spa services from our extensive menu – we’ve got everything you need to look and feel your best during the holidays. Whatever it may be we are here to pamper you and relax your mind and body!”

Along the same lines of looking and feeling your best, you may even book yourself a salon/spa day and then get as much mileage out of it as possible once you’re all glammed up. After all, during the holidays it’s all about using our time in the most efficient way possible to get everything accomplished in such a short window of time. One suggestion for the ladies out there looking for a one-of-a-kind gift to present to your significant is boudoir photos. “Boudoir photographs are a unique, and likely unexpected, sentimental yet sexy gift for your guy,” says Jaime Incontro of Purple Sky Productions. “Boudoir photographs are tasteful studio pictures taken in your lingerie. This might seem completely out of the realm of possibility for many women, but I strive to make my clients feel comfortable with both myself and their surroundings. I’ve found that women not only love giving the images to their guy, but they walk away from the experience feeling empowered and sexy. It is a great confidence boost as well as a special gift, no matter the occasion!”

Aside from finding unique gifts for family, friends, bosses, co-workers, clients – you get the idea – keep in mind that it’s also proper etiquette to bring a gift for the hosts of the holiday parties you’ll be attending. Instead of waiting until the last minute, consider purchasing a few generic gifts that most anyone would enjoy getting or be able to use.


Cherie Travis
Rachel’s Boutique

Rachel’s Boutique, located at 7121 Pioneers Blvd, has a fantastic selection of gift items that will fit the bill perfectly. “Our store is full this time of year with gift items like small clocks and frames for host gifts,” says Cherie Travis of Rachel’s Boutique. “We also have lots of jewelry, scarves and small grab-and-go items. Gift wrap is always free! Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all the holiday specials going on at Rachel’s Boutique.”

Of course, jewelry is always makes a fantastic gift item. Just in time for the holidays, plenty of new merchandise has arrived at Sartor Hamann Jewelers, in addition to an already amazing selection of pieces that can be found at both Lincoln locations.

The “After-Parties”: Holiday Celebrations in 2017

A trend that has caught on with many is “saving the best for last” and hosting a holiday party after the holiday season, and everything going on during that time, has passed. Check out what our local experts have to say about everything from planning and options to why they’ve found it to be such a beneficial approach:

(Spoiler Alert: There is definitely a common theme!)

“The best part about hosting parties after the holidays is scheduling freedom! Very few of us have time within the few weeks of the holidays to do everything, so we are relegated to making tough choices about what makes the cut. If your party is an ‘annual’ party as opposed to a ‘holiday’ party, people still get the point and there’s more of a leisurely and fun feel to it. People can actually get excited about it once the holiday madness is behind them. Right now, we’re all just trying to get ready for the holidays ourselves, and spending those few extra minutes doing personal things. Not only will you have more options for scheduling, but since the various professionals you’ll be working with aren’t likely to be spread as thin as during the holidays when they’re in high demand, you’ll have more attention devoted directly to your event. Of course, you’ll be able to focus more of your time and attention on it too. It’s a win for everyone!” – Kevin Mandigo, Greta’s Gourmet

Doug DeBoer Culinary Underground - Headshot

Doug DeBoer
Culinary Underground

“Want to try something new for your holiday soiree? Culinary Underground recently debuted its new private event space and we’re currently taking reservations for events in 2017. The event room is also located in the heart of the Historic Haymarket, but in a separate location just down the street from the restaurant at 728 Q Street Suite B. Amenities include a full bar and bartender service, fireplace, televisions, stage and window seating, private sectioned seating, and of course, catering provided by Culinary Underground. The chic-yet-comfortable atmosphere makes for a great setting to host holiday parties. You can check out the space online at or contact me at (402) 817-6510 to make a reservation or schedule a tour of our new private event space.” – Doug DeBoer, Culinary Underground

“Everyone seems to have more free time AFTER the holidays and sometimes a get together can help diffuse those post-holiday doldrums! With time more available, there is less stress throwing a get-together then. Even holiday traditions can be created after the holidays. It’s a particularly great time for parties with friends or co-workers who you truly enjoy spending time with because there’s more of it and you can be fully present.” – Kris Hall-Ferguson, Smoking Gun Jerky

“One big advantage when trying to book a holiday party after the holidays is that schedules become more freed up and flexible for coworkers and anywhere you might choose to host your party. We hosted some holiday parties in late January/early February last year, and it also seemed like people were really able to focus on enjoying the time together since it wasn’t just another event to add to the stress of the season.” – Abby Bartholomew, Escape Lincoln

For those who want to host their holiday party after the actual holidays have passed, give us a call and we’d be happy to provide you with plenty of options. We absolutely love spa parties and will make it a special experience for you and your guests. Whatever it may be we are here to pamper you and relax your mind and body!” – Tasha Schmeichel, Tranquility Salon & Spa

“The main benefit of waiting until after the holidays are over to host your party is that you’re not competing with all the hustle and bustle of holiday prep. Holidays can be a taxing time, particularly if you are hosting a gathering or need to travel. 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.” – Jen Miseno, Sun Valley Lanes

“Probably the biggest advantage that we see with those who host their holiday parties after the actual holidays have passed is that everyone is a little more relaxed and not so hurried when they wait and have their party after the first of the year. In fact, that is a trend that we’re seeing more every year, especially with businesses that are very customer service oriented. That’s exactly why we usually have our Christmas party here at JAV sometime in January. We can all take a deep breath and have fun knowing we’ve just made it through another holiday season!” – Barb Ballard, From Nebraska Gift Shop and James Arthur Vineyards

Vicki Harris Harris Academy of the Arts Headshot

Vicki Harris
Harris Academy of the Arts

“Harris Academy of the Arts has your entertainment covered for parties in 2017! With such a talented team of professional musicians available to book for live performances, there are many different options ensembles as well as the abilities to customize your music selection. This includes solos, duets, trios, quartets and small ensembles, with styles of classical, Broadway, easy listening, jazz, pop and more. At no cost, our special events consultant will meet with you one-on-one to best understand your performance needs. With a high level of service and attention to detail, our consultant recommends ideal solutions and coordinates all of the details accordingly to ensure a smooth, stress-free, professional performance. Live music is always a highlight of any event, creating a great atmosphere and leaving a lasting impression on guests.” – Vicki Harris, Harris Academy of the Arts

The “Final Frenzy”: Effectively Managing Holiday Stress

Finally, during the holidays, experiencing stress for a variety of reasons seems to be par for the course. There is just so much to pack into a month that even thinking about it is enough to make you feel a little crazy…and induce panic. Serving as a good reminder for all of us to slow down and enjoy, according to an article sourced on, here are some great tips on easy ways to make sure you feel your best and enjoy the holiday season.

Sunlight Works Wonders For Your Overall Mood – Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, which not only makes your feel good but also helps to relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a condition that affects millions of Americans every year. To ease SAD symptoms, spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days. You can also ask your doctor about phototherapy, which is a treatment using a box that emits full-spectrum light, or visit a tanning salon in moderation.

Get Your Daily Dose of Citrus – Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of wellbeing and alleviate stress by increasing levels of norepinephrine, another hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket. Herbs & More is a fantastic local source to purchase essential oils and you can even take a class to learn the benefits and how to use them properly. Or, just infuse your water with citrus fruits or pack an orange in your lunch!

Get Enough Sleep – While visions of sugarplums may not be dancing in your head, your brain activity is likely to be amped up enough so that sleeping well becomes incredibly difficult. This in turn affects just about every aspect of your life and mood during the day you spend awake. Try your best to get enough sleep, no matter how impossible this may seem.

Just Say “NO” – Oftentimes during the holidays we set ourselves up with insane schedules full of anything and everything, accepting all invitations that have been extended. Instead, consider what is most important to you during the holidays and try to say no to a few things that are not at the top of your list of priorities. After all, there are only 24 days in December before Christmas, and a limited number of hours in those days. It makes sense to do what matters the most and politely decline the rest.

Stick With Your Daily Routine – Again with the prioritizing. It is jarring to have a whole month where we disregard ourselves completely. Make sure to still get in your workouts, monthly engagements and activities, etc. Don’t try to squeeze more into your schedule than you can handle, but also don’t stray too far from your regular schedule. Exercise is an especially important one, as it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are stressed out but it will actually help you feel much better and can boost your mood for up to 12 hours! At a time where there is food, drinks, and treats aplenty, keep in mind that proper nutrition will go a long way—everything in moderation.

“Proper nutrition is the best stress buster too!” advises Natasha Plooster of Eat Fit Go. “Eat well and take care of yourself amidst all the holiday frenzy. Slow down and enjoy the season and your loved ones. This is the time of the year to indulge – do so without guilt by maintaining an 80/20 rule. Eat clean 80% of the time and indulge the other 20%. New Year’s resolutions will come much easier if you maintain this mentality through the holidays.”

Take Advantage of Those Who Make You Smile – The holidays include being around many people, so take advantage of this by staying close to those who crack you up. Laughing really is the best medicine. It reduces stress hormones, which in turn helps your immune system function better among other things such as lifting your mood.

Throw Perfection Right Out The Window – Stop obsessing over doing it all. The world is not going to end if your house is a little cluttered, if you don’t personally cook a meal or ten, or if you use a gift bag instead of a wrapped package resembling a work of art. In the spirit of the holiday season, it is the special people in our lives who matter the most, so try to focus your energy on enjoying all of the wonderful people in your life.

Set Aside Time to Go “Tech-Free” – Of course this is easier said than done, but it does have distinct benefits. Constant cell phone and email alerts truly keep us in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode due to bursts of adrenaline. Not only is this exhausting, but it contributes to mounting stress levels, especially in women. Take some time to turn off your gadgets during dinner with the family, a holiday get-together, or while running a few errands to pick up gifts. Also, children are little sponges and it will go a long way to set an example as to what is most important.

Give the Gift of Massage (To Yourself and Your Loved Ones!) – Massages feel great are an undeniable way to relax for a little bit of time in between all of the hustle and bustle.

Turn Up The Tunes – Listen to your favorite music whenever you get the chance. Whether attending a concert during the holidays, enjoying Christmas music, or blasting the latest jams while you work out or in the car on the way to a meeting, it’s cathartic. Hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, which not only calms you down but is good for your heart also.

Think Happy Thoughts – Last but not least, make an effort to think positive. If the election didn’t already, the holidays may drive you to your breaking point, but try your best not to focus on the bad. Negative thinking can trigger your body’s stress response just as much as a real threat would. Again, remember that the holidays are a time to celebrate with your family and friends…even if they stress you out too! An optimistic outlook will help you cope with all of the challenges that come your way, and will positively affect everyone and everything that goes on around you.

In the true spirit of the season, may the holidays bring out the best in all of us this year. We encourage everyone to come together and make an effort to support our local businesses and the economy here in Lincoln, to volunteer and donate to worthy causes in our community, and simply to focus more on being blessed than being stressed. Merry Christmas and the happiest of holidays to you and yours from all of us here at Strictly Business!