We have reached the final installment of the holiday series! If you are doing some last-minute planning or shopping this season, we know some great local businesses that can help you cross off everything on your to-do list.

The holidays are a marathon, not a sprint, and it feels surreal to be reaching the end of this time of year. While the end is in sight, there’s always more room for holiday celebrations and gifts. We spoke to a handful of local small businesses for their help on how to tackle the end of the season!

Glowing Skin All Season Long

As we get closer to Christmas, preparing for parties and events can eat up all of our time, but don’t forget to prepare yourself! Skin Experts (skinexperts.com) is a new spa in Lincoln ready to get you prepped and ready for any holiday event coming your way.

Regina Read
Skin Experts

“The best way to show up to holiday gatherings is with glowing skin! Our revolutionary facials will have you looking your best this holiday season. All of our facials are customizable for individuals based on their skin concerns and needs,” explained Regina Read, spa director. “If you’re looking for a last minute way to look refreshed this season, our Express Facial is the perfect refresher to keep your skin glowing.”

Skin Experts is always diversifying their products and services, and offer new seasonal services for ultimate renewal and relaxation that complements anyone’s skincare routine. For the ultimate glowing skin, try the luxury Glö Serum, described as “The Holy Grail of Facial Serums” by Bella Magazine. This light, repairing, luxury facial oil synergistically blends Full Spectrum CBD, balancing probiotics, hydrating omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants in its technologically advanced patent-pending formula of over 15 botanicals to provide you with a radiance that continues to amaze.

Shopping local is one of the best ways to invest in your community. It’s a beautiful way to support your local businesses and help them thrive. When shopping local, you’re more likely to find quality products and services because local businesses are more likely to focus on quality over quantity knowing that the community around them are receiving something special that may be shared to other friends & family.

“At Skin Experts, we feel everyone deserves a luxurious experience to treat themselves, which is why we offer luxury skincare and facials at an affordable price! This year, for the holidays, give the gift of glowing skin. If you purchase a gift card for $200, get a gift card for $50. As well, our affordable luxury skincare line, QÚL Beauty, is a revolutionary skincare collection with various options to gift to any of your friends or family members,” Regina shared. “Our Hydrating Rose Water is an uplifting facial mist with potent skincare benefits perfect for those who are skincare obsessed, or our Muscle & Joint Body Cream is perfect for the adventurer in your life.”

We all know the holidays can get hectic and seem to fly by whether you’re ready or not. Balance some of the craziness by delaying your workplace get together until after New Year’s Day. This can help your team get refreshed and ready to jump into the New Year.

“This is absolutely a wonderful way to get through the end of the year with proper work life balance. It also allows for you to celebrate with your professional teammates after all the holiday stress and celebrate the new goals and last year’s successes without distraction,” said Regina. “We can offer private parties, small events in our space, and even corporate gifts of a facial for the whole team. Reach out to book any private events!”

Settle In at Kenl Inn

Traveling for the holidays can be difficult if you have a pet at home. Avoid the extra obstacle and give your pet a vacation of their own at Kenl Inn (kenl-inn.com)!

Set on 44 acres of land just outside of Lincoln, Kenl Inn is devoted to providing the best possible care for your pet. Their trained staff and state-of-the-art facilities ensure your pet receives the best possible care, whether they are staying for the day or for a week. Owners can also choose from a variety of activities for their pets such as group play, individual play, nature hikes, and training.

Dian Quist
Kennl Inn

“Our dog lodging area is an all-indoor facility,” explained Manager Dian Quist. “Your dog is given individual attention each day at morning, noon, and night when they are taken out for their potty breaks, and those extra rubs on the head and kind words that help your dog feel more at home.”

Kenl Inn also has Kitty Condos that are complete with cat nappers, pillows, blankets, and shelves to climb and snooze on, all designed with the comfort and safety of your cat in mind. The solarium room is well ventilated with central heat and air conditioning, as well as large windows overlooking the countryside.

Don’t worry about your pet missing out on the holidays while they’re at Kenl Inn. They provide a delicious Holiday meal for only $3, plus a great selection of brand-new toys including chews, balls, and stuffed toys in all shapes and designs. These also make great stocking stuffers.

“At Kenl Inn the Holiday season is a facility full of guests and the staff caring for them every day of the week. Our staff works 365 days a year from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.,” explained Dian. “It’s a fun time of year when we see dogs and other pets that we haven’t seen since last year.”

Dian’s last bit of holiday advice has to do with the pets that are at home. If you’re hosting an event or party at your home, make sure to keep an eye on your pets and make sure they seem comfortable and happy. If they aren’t, try separating them from your guests so they don’t get anxious or scared.

The Best Ham in Lincoln

One of the best aspects of the holidays is the food we get to indulge in every year. While turkey seems to get the spotlight, ham has proven to be just as important to the holiday menu. Many people associate it with Christmas dinner, but a good ham will never be turned away from any dinner table! You can find the best quality ham at Country Sliced Ham (countryslicedhamandcafe.com).

Laurie Fraser
Country Sliced Ham

“We serve the best ham in Lincoln! We are the only place in town that spirals and glazes our hams on site fresh for each guest. When you want the best for your family and friends you purchase the best ham in town for your holiday table,” said Laurie Fraser, one of three local owners. “We serve fresh hams year round and cater for offices, manufacturing plants, and more. In addition we serve at weddings and we always tell brides… we are more than ham!”

As a local business, Country Sliced Ham knows the importance of shopping locally this holiday season, and throughout the year. Locally owned businesses are the cornerstone in Lincoln. They are your friends, family, and neighbors and are grateful for your support. For last minute gifts, Country Sliced Ham offers gift cards. Anyone that mentions this article in Strictly Business and purchases a gift card will get an extra $10 per card for free!

Once December passes, the last holiday obstacle is New Year’s Eve. With this being one of the biggest nights for going out and attending parties, it can be hectic to try and throw something together in the few short days between Christmas and January 1.

“Book early! We book our NYE parties six months in advance. It’s a huge night and we want to make sure we can take care of you so booking early guarantees you have your first choice in caterer,” advised Laurie. “In our industry it’s common for us to host our party in January and we’ve seen more and more businesses waiting to host their parties. December is a crazy month and it’s hard to get people together so January is perfect!”

At both Country Sliced Ham & Cafe and Doorstep Diner Catering, they walk you through the entire process of planning your event. While they are not planners they are there to be a resource, answering questions, giving advice, and just being there to help you create the perfect event.

Make the Season Sweet

What’s dinner without a little dessert? Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates (lulubeechocolates.com) could make the perfect addition to your holiday dessert spread. They also make fabulous stocking stuffers, wonderfully accent or act as a centerpiece for a gift basket, and everyone loves sinking their teeth into chocolate confections. Shop for the sweet-tooth in your life at Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates!

Gaylene Steinbach
Lulubee Artisanal Chocolates

“To make gift-giving even easier,” shared Owner and Chocolatier Gaylene Steinbach, “we’ll take care of the details. From packaging and shipping or delivering, our team will make sure everything’s perfect for everyone on your list.”

Each season, Gaylene develops a collection of seasonal flavors for Lulubee’s signature bonbons. This year’s Holiday Collection of small-batch bonbons consists of: Fig & Port, Hot Chocolate, Peppermint Crunch, Cranberry Orange, and Cherry Pistachio.

Other seasonal treats you can find at Lulubee include Cocoa Bombs, which create rich sipping chocolate when hot water or milk is poured over; Peppermint Bark, swirls of dark and white chocolate covered in crunchy bits of peppermint candy; English Toffee, soft, melt-in-mouth toffee in two different types, pecans with dark chocolate or almonds with milk chocolate; Turtles, filled with locally-sourced freshly-roasted pecans and Lulubee’s signature, vanilla-flecked caramel and drenched in dark chocolate.

Lulubee’s also carries an Advent Calendar that is only available for in-store pick-up, and gift boxes of many sizes to satiate any chocolate lover’s craving. Stop by Lulubee Artisanal Chocolate for all of your holiday sweet treat needs!

New Year, Same Great Wine

The holiday events at James Arthur Vineyards (jamesarthurvineyards.com) have been keeping the vineyards full of holiday cheer. The party doesn’t stop just because the holidays do! If you’re looking for something to keep the party going into the New Year, try a bottle of wine from JAV. Grown and produced right here in Nebraska, they offer the finest table wines, from barrel-aged dry reds to sweet, crisp whites to delicious dessert wines and everything in between. One of the best parts about the gift of JAV wine is not only are you shopping local, but your family member or friend can easily purchase more after they taste the delight that JAV pours into each bottle.

JAV also offers Curveball, their line of hard ciders. Curveball is made from only the finest apples, and they’ve hit this one out-of-the-park with their line-up of great flavors. Curveball Ciders pay homage to the timeless game of hardball, with names such as Grand slam, Double Play, Walk-Off, and Knuckleball. Baseball season may be over for the players, but it can keep going for the fans by cracking open a can of JAV’s refreshing hard cider.

Gifts are not the only thing JAV has to offer this season. The vineyard is a perfect venue for small get-togethers to celebrate the New Year or any other festivities. The richly appointed private party room with comfortable furnishings, rich decor, and spectacular views affords an extraordinary venue available nowhere else in the region. They are well known for excellent service, ambiance, and food for corporate dinners, anniversaries, or any social gathering.

JAV also has a tasting room in their From Nebraska Gift Shop in the Haymarket. While sipping wine, browse through the store where they showcase the best products made in Nebraska. Just like JAV’s Nebraska-made wines, they are proud of the wonderful products they carry that represent Nebraska’s finest producers of food, wine, and gifts. The gift shop even has an entire room dedicated to all-things Christmas all year round!

Shine Bright Like A Diamond

If you are searching for the perfect gift to round out your holiday shopping, try something that sparkles from Sartor Hamann Jewelers (sartorhamann.com).

Anna Alcalde
Sartor Hamann Jewelers

“The holidays are quickly approaching and Sartor Hamann has fine jewelry for all occasions and every budget,” said Anna Alcalde, sales and marketing director. “Our knowledgeable staff will help you select the perfect gift, and we’ll even gift wrap it for no extra charge. Whether it’s the holidays or you are getting engaged, celebrating an anniversary, need custom work or jewelry repair, we want to be your local jeweler.”

Jewelry can be a big purchase, so it is important to find somewhere local to purchase from. Buying local does not only support the community, but you can also look at the piece in person, which is huge when making a decision like this.

“Buy local, if possible,” Anna advised. “Purchasing jewelry online can be frustrating because you can’t tell the quality or size from a computer screen. You may then find yourself returning it and starting all over. Jewelry is a personal item, so you need to see and touch to determine the quality. Due to our wide selection of name brand lines, we may already have your ideal gift in one of our stores. If not, we can typically order it or make it for you, and you can choose all the details. Our trained staff will guide you through the process, even probing with special questions to get the perfect gift for that special person.”

Start a new chapter of your love story or make a loved one’s holiday bright with a piece of jewelry from Sartor Hamann Jewelers. The lights on the tree won’t be the only thing shining this holiday season!

Drive-Thru Light Show

Are you looking for some holiday fun right in the heart of downtown Lincoln? The Nebraska Christmas Lights Show (nebraskachristmaslightsshow.com) will brighten any night at Haymarket Park. The vibrant show will run from November 26 to January 3, from 5 p.m. to midnight daily.

The show features countless high-quality lights in vivid colors, holiday props, and favorite characters of the season. All lights and effects are synchronized to music you can enjoy from the comfort of your own cozy car. The show lasts 20 minutes and is about a mile long.

Tickets start at $40 per car, but patrons can purchase a VIP Access ticket for $99 per car. The VIP Access ticket includes free hot chocolate, free cookies, a picture with Santa, a toy bag, and you don’t have to wait in line! A vehicle pass is redeemable for one carload of up to 12 passengers. Vehicles accommodating more than 12 passengers will have to purchase more than one ticket. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door, but buying tickets in advance will guarantee you will be able to view the show.

Ring In the New Year on Wheels

According to WalletHub, 60% of Americans plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve with family or friends. Get out of the house, but avoid the crowds in a fun atmosphere like a party bus. Tailored Dreams Party Buses (tailoreddreamslimousines.com) have several buses in their fleet to fit your guest list, with their largest party bus having a capacity of 45 people.

DeeDee Loomis
Tailored Dreams Party Buses

“We can take your group around town or from one spot to the next in one of our six decked-out limousine-style party buses,” shared DeeDee Loomis, owner. “Turn up the holiday tunes on our Bluetooth sound system and rock out under the LED lights!”

One of the things that make Tailored Dreams unique in this industry is that they are the only party bus company in the area that has handicap accessible buses in their fleet. They’ve thought of everything in order to create a custom driving experience at an economical price. Tailored Dreams will work with you and your guests to make sure everyone has a great time. Don’t hesitate to call them – reservations book up quickly!

Don’t Miss a Moment

Matthew Rogge
Talon Room

Another place to hold a New Year’s party is right in the heart of Lincoln. Reach out to Matthew Rogge, owner and director of Talon Room (talonroom.com), to get your event in the middle of the action. Talon Room has a variety of price ranges to fit any budget and event, and they offer several services to help make sure your holiday party is a success.

“I always tell people, we set it up, you make it a party!” Matthew said. “We do in-house and off-site catering with a range of menu options to meet any level of party. From event setup to full-service bar, we can meet all your event needs while exceeding expectations. As an owner myself, I get the need to go above and beyond to show your employees how much they mean to you and the company, and a holiday celebration is a great opportunity to do just that.”

The Talon Room can accommodate as many as 250 people for stand-up or sit-down events. Services that Talon Room can provide for your event include decorations, tables, and chairs; catering, whether the party is held at Talon Room or at another location of your choosing; bar service; event space from as early as 8 a.m. to as late as midnight; setup and teardown; and cleaning. Pricing for events varies depending on what services are included, the time of week it is being held, and the amount of people attending.

Support your community this holiday season and get those last-minute plans made and gifts bought at these local businesses. We promise you won’t regret making these connections during the season of giving! From all of us here at Strictly Business, we hope you enjoy a relaxing and fulfilling holiday season surrounded by those you love!