Lincoln Holiday Cheer in 2020
Keep LOCAL in Your Holiday Shopping and Celebrations
Welcome back to the second part of our three-part holiday series! We unquestionably need to infuse some extra cheer into our lives in this strangest of years for our community, our country, and our world. For the purposes of this feature, however, we want to talk LOCAL. Given the challenges of closures and pandemic restrictions in 2020 that put undue pressure on small businesses, shopping and celebrating at Lincoln venues is more important than ever. The good news is there are so many phenomenal small businesses out there that you’ll have plenty of options to support the very heart of your community and work up some holiday cheer!
With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner—GASP!—it’s time to think about solidifying your holiday plans and starting (or finishing) your holiday shopping. Consider hosting some safe employee, client, friend, or family celebrations, and if you’re having guests fly in for the holidays, get some plans going to give them the true flavor of Lincoln. While it might be enticing to hit the internet highway for quick and easy shopping from big-box stores or Amazon, we discourage you from falling into that trap. Your local businesses need you as much as you need them!
Going LOCAL in a Big Way!
What better place to start than choosing some local wines to go with your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and to distribute as gifts to your clients, employees, family, and friends. James Arthur Vineyards (www.jamesarthurvineyards.com) prepares a host of wonderful Nebraska wines that go perfectly with any meal. Owner Jim Ballard is even offering some seasonal specials, including a Sleighbell Blush and Santa’s Secret, which they will launch as part of a big release party at the winery on November 20. (Don’t bother trying to get hints about Santa’s Secret in advance, because we tried. Jim knows how to keep a secret.)
In addition to the release party, James Arthur is hosting a holiday open house featuring wine specials plus holiday-music performances by live local musicians on November 28, in addition to live local artists again on November 29 and December 6. For those worried about choosing a wine that “pairs” with your holiday dinners, Jim has some advice that you don’t always hear from such an accomplished vintner.
“If you enjoy a particular wine and enjoy a particular food, try what you want,” he said. “There are traditional pairings, but we say drink what you like with what you like to eat!” Sound advice.
Jim and his wife Barb also own the From Nebraska Gift Shop and the Haymarket Mercantile, off of 8th and Q streets, where you’ll find Nebraska collectibles, including classic toys, a men’s gift shop, kitchen accessories, plus a wonderful array of Nebraska jams, jellies, hot sauces, and—new this year—fresh beef cuts! Jim and Barb expanded From Nebraska to add the Haymarket Mercantile under one roof, so you can get a lot of shopping done in one stop. From Nebraska now also has a year-round Christmas Market, where you can pick up a wide variety of unique Nebraska-themed Christmas ornaments, gnomes, Santas, and more. Among the finds in From Nebraska are everything from Husker items to jewelry, magnets, novelty items, postcards, Nebraska food items and gift baskets—and, of course, wine accessories. In fact, you can also purchase James Arthur Vineyard’s Nebraska wines here, or order them online for direct shipping!
Discover the Ah in Ahroma!
That daily cup of coffee that you use to start your morning is what makes our crazy cycle of work and life go ‘round. What better time than the holidays to treat you, your friends, family, and employees to some seriously fantastic, rich designer coffee for the occasion—without the designer prices! Ahroma Specialty Coffee Co. and R.U. Nuts Co. (www.runutsco.com/about-ahroma-coffee) can make that happen, and you’ll never go back to your average cup of joe!
“Not only does Ahroma provide the freshest and most delicious cup of coffee, but when you support us as your local roaster, you help us create the jobs that provide goods and services to our local community, which in turn, stimulates our local economy,” said Owner Charlotte Ralston. “We always dedicate a portion of our profits not only to local organizations but to help people around the world. So with each cup you drink, you are making a difference!”
Ahroma is a family-owned local company that sources the freshest crop for roasting in small batches, generally 30 to 60 pounds at a time, so as to develop each bean to its fullest potential. To achieve the Specialty Grade, the Arabica beans they use must be tested in cupping to pass an exceptionally high flavor grade. Ahroma Specialty Coffee partners with small family farms (generally one to three acres) to get access to this top 5% of coffee grown in the world. They source single-origin beans from around the world and blend them into delicious espresso and signature blends that they brew and make available right here in Lincoln. They also custom-roast for coffee shops across the Midwest.
The Ahroma roast-master employs all five senses, rather than computerized artificial intelligence, to develop their coffee to its fullest flavor. From humidity and temperature to the density and moisture content of the beans, they know what just a few seconds can do to the consistency of a roast profile. Only by using sight, smell, sound, and touch (temperature) are their beans be roasted accurately every time. Of course, the fifth sense, taste, is the final test. Inhale deeply and discover the Ah in Ahroma!
Whether your palate favors the rich Eclipse Espresso, Colombian Supremo, Breakfast Blend, French Roast, and Jump Start roasts or you prefer a full-bodied holiday Pumpkin Spice, Pecan Pie, Mistletoe Mocha, or Jingle Bell Java, Ahroma has every flavor you can imagine. Seriously. We count 107 options available on their website—and you won’t believe the affordability! They even offer a handful of coffees in K-cups, if you’re partial to those. New this year is their “Home Sweet Home” holiday flavor, which makes the perfect gift!
Of course, R.U. Nuts Co. always offers a wide variety of packaged goods, including gift baskets filled with delicious treats—nuts, chocolate, candy, trail mixes, snacks, dried fruit, seeds, grains, and beans—that make fabulous holiday gifts, starting at just $35. If you can’t decide what someone on your list might like best, pick up a gift card and let them choose! Ahroma coffee is also available at your local grocer or online at runutsco.com.
Bowl them Over!
Whether you’re planning holiday events for your employees, clients, or family and friends, consider the time-honored classic entertainment—bowling. You’ll have a ball at 48 Bowl, Inc. (48bowl.com) centers, including Parkway Lanes and Hollywood Bowl. Of course, with pandemic restrictions in place, their capacity is limited to about 50% of their lanes, so the earlier you reserve for your celebration in advance, the more likely you’ll be to get in on the date you prefer. Don’t worry about COVID safety regulations here, either, because they’re following them to a tee to keep all patrons safe.
“For those thinking about reserving lanes for a larger group, know that all of the equipment and surfaces are sanitized and disinfected between each group,” said Marketing Director Jennifer Davis-Korn. “Common-use areas like restrooms and door handles are disinfected regularly throughout the day. Currently, we also keep an empty lane between each lane group, so bowling remains a very fun and safe activity.”
The Gift of Relaxation
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the perfectly crazy-stressed busy people in your life, treat them to the massage they deserve and help take their pain away! Get a gift card from 5 Elements Massage (5elementsne.com), and they’ll thank you for a long time to come.
“Massages are a great many things to a great many people,” said Owner Erin McLenon. “They’re pain control for some and preventive healthcare for others. Some just need to take care of themselves for a day, where others need a routine once a month to turn off their brain and relax. Other times, it is an alternative way to manage acute issues from daily life, instead of going to the doctor all the time for aches and pains. Depending on the issue, clients can choose fix-it or relaxation work, whatever works best for them.”
Erin said she offers major discounts for purchases on Black Friday, including $42 for an hour-long massage. People can purchase up to five sessions at that price. What a simple way to thank your employees or clients for all their support throughout a difficult year! 5 Elements also offers reflexology, sugar scrubs, heated bamboo treatments, chocolate wraps, and more. Whatever you choose, 5 Elements always cares for their clients with healing in mind.
“The way we see things are more along the line of healing from the inside out,” Erin said. “If the body is broken, the idea is to help it fix itself with the massage and to make your pain management easier to handle when you’re home. To learn what you need, come in and visit, or pre-book a session at vagaro.com/5elementsmassage.”
Turn on the Charm!
For that special person on your Christmas list (even if that’s YOU), you can never go wrong if you shop for them at Barnwood & Leather (www.barnwoodandleather.com), a store full of rustic home furnishings and customized cabinetry. Locally owned by Mike and Brenda Clark, Barnwood & Leathers works with small business owners who manufacture American-made furniture products or offer high-quality pieces from outside of the U.S. You’ll find unique barnwood furniture and custom options, in addition to a breathtaking line of Amish hardwood furniture pieces that you won’t find anywhere else in Nebraska!
“We are thrilled to exclusively offer unique, American-made barnwood furniture and custom-cabinet options that come from the north-central United States and are made by craftsmen who pride themselves on creating each piece,” Brenda said. “We are so thankful to be in a generous, supportive community like Lincoln to offer our line of handcrafted dining furniture pieces made of American hardwoods, as well as upholstered and fine-leather living-room furniture manufactured in the USA.”
Barnwood & Leather was borne from the desire to find unique furniture that would fit just as comfortably in a home in the city as it would in a lake cabin. There’s no doubt they’ve achieved that with aplomb, and you’ll get lots of brownie points from any recipient for such a beautiful gift! The company also offers customized cabinets for your kitchen, pantry, bathroom, family room, or whatever other space you want them. They blend beautifully with the company’s handcrafted furniture pieces to create that perfect, cozy, rustic charm.
For Your Furry Friends
From dogs to cats to birds, reptiles, or small fuzzies, you want your beloved pets to be ready for the holidays—or have a place to stay if your home is full of guests or you plan to travel. Kenl Inn (kenl-inn.com) is that place. Caring for Lincoln area pets for more than 32 years, Kenl Inn provides high-quality grooming services, room for every type of pet, safe state-of-the-art boarding facilities, plenty of space for your dogs to run and play or take a walk on the nature hike trail, and the kind of love they’re used to getting from you at home! Okay, so has the light bulb come on when it comes to a Christmas present for your pet-loving friends and family? If not, read that again and think gift certificates!
“Grooming is our No. 1 service during the holidays because everyone wants their pets to be clean for the occasion,” said Kenl Inn Manager Dian Quist. “We have a full-service grooming salon, which means we trim, file, and paint toenails (if you want), bathe dogs and cats, and our stylists do haircuts—anything from a light trim to a complete style. It’s fun for customers and our staff to include a festive bandana, bow, or bow tie with grooming, and if you want your pets’ accessory to match their holiday outfits, just let us know!”
When you get your pet bathed at Kenl Inn, they get truly deep-cleaned. One option is the hydro-surge bathing system, which mixes water with shampoo in a spray that penetrates the coat deeply and washes away all the dirt. They also offer the Thera-Clean Microbubble bathing system, which, unlike pressurized cleaning, is low-flow and gentle. No soap, shampoo, chemicals, or abrasives are needed. Your pet simply sits in a tub with a soft stream of Microbubble-infused water, and the Microbubbles do all the work, gently removing trapped dirt, bacteria, yeast, and even allergens, to reduce odors and itching and dramatically improve your pet’s skin.
To get rid of loose hairs coming off of your dog, Kenl Inn provides a HairBuster treatment, which is a maintenance program that will help you reduce the amount of dog hair in your home, on your clothes, and in your car over the holidays. If you want to board your pet over Christmas, get booked by Thanksgiving, though, because they fill up quickly. If you’re boarding your dogs over the holidays, Kenl Inn has a wide array of activities—including nature hikes and seven play yards—to keep them exercised and happy. They even offer holiday dinners, so your pet can get in on the holiday spirit!
Every dog deserves a Christmas stocking, too, right? If you’re looking to fill your pup’s holiday bag, be sure to stop in at Arnie’s Pet Food Store (www.arniespetfoods.com). You can include some healthy treats so you’re furry friends get in on the holiday eating extravaganza without harming their systems. And if you’re sharing delicious holiday treats with friends, coworkers, family, and neighbors, be sure to pick up some safe treats for their pets, too!
“When it comes to choosing food or treats for your pet, it’s important to find kinds with limited or no additives, like dyes, artificial flavors, or fillers like corn, sorghum, or wheat,” said Owner Dave Titterington. “At Arnie’s, we only sell pet foods that are completely natural and are sourced in the United States. To make sure your pet is living a healthy life, you should avoid foods that are labeled as ‘flavored.’ There’s no clue as to where the flavor comes from, and the food probably lacks any true sources of protein that your pet needs to fuel its body and stay full for long periods of time.”
Tailored Dreams Party Buses (www.tailoreddreamslimousines.com) serve up a fantastic opportunity and plenty of safe fun for a holiday celebration. Take your work crew or family out on the town in a luxury party bus, including a premiere tour of Christmas lights in the area! Tailored Dreams is Lincoln’s premier party-bus company, known for their friendly drivers and for creating an experience tailored to your particular group, and they run a fantastic holiday-light tour. Just be sure to reserve your bus ahead of time, because they tend to fill up quickly. You can treat your employees, clients, or family to a night out with cocktails, snacks, or a full-on meal with cocktails, and know everyone will be cared for like royalty.
“Definitely reach out to us soon if you want to guarantee a night to take our holiday light tour,” said Owner DeeDee Loomis. “The tour is family-friendly, and you and your group can blast some of your favorite Christmas jingles on our bumping Bluetooth sound systems. We take groups around town in our decked-out, luxury party buses to see all of the best-lit houses in a fun and exciting way. One feature that adds to the experience is the lighting options, which allow you to get festive with red, green, and white lights on your ride.”
Time to Eat!
If there’s anything that’s a certainty when it comes to the holidays, it’s that good eats will be a big part of virtually every celebration. If you really want to impress your friends, family, clients, or employees, take them to MoMo Pizzeria & Ristorante (momo-pizzeria.com) and celebrate with their famous Lobster & Shrimp Hollandaise pizza. It’s an experience that you won’t soon forget—and you can pick up some gift cards to hand out at Christmas, so you can share the love. The gratitude will be forthcoming! Of course, MoMo is far more than just a pizzeria. Their ever-evolving, chef-driven menu is always unique and made fresh using the highest-quality ingredients. Everything they make is done in-house using locally source ingredients—that is, when they don’t get them straight from Italy.
If a more casual classic bar environment in the Haymarket area is more your style, you can’t miss with McKinney’s Irish Pub (mckinneyspublincoln.com). It’s a favorite stop for many, mainly due to its upbeat atmosphere and of course, great selection of authentic drinks and fare, which includes things like loaded spiral fries with crispy potatoes, corned beef, cheddar, peppers, onion gravy, chives, and crema. They also have a tremendous selection of craft beers and fabulous Irish whiskeys. Tipsy Tina’s Taco Cantina (www.facebook.com/tipsytinastacocantina) is a brand new staple in Lincoln, at 800 Q St., that provides a tremendous opportunity to treat your clients to some serious Mexican fare. Under the same ownership as Mckinney’s Irish Pub, Tipsy Tina’s has an a la cart taco menu and lighter-fare options make the Cantina a great option for holiday happy hours in the Haymarket. More than a dozen varieties of street tacos, churros, taco boxes, Mexican sodas, breakfast tacos, Mahi Mahi or shrimp seafood salads, chicken or steak fiesta salads, and more head up the menu. They also offer a full catering menu, and you’ll have the opportunity to choose from more than 30 beers on draft and more than 40 available in bottles. Add to that more than 200 tantalizing tequilas and signature blended drinks.
If your idea of a celebration is good ‘ol grandma’s comfort food, you’ve got to add Stauffer’s Café & Pie Shoppe (www.staufferscafe.com) to your holiday agenda. It’s a great place to take the family for a holiday breakfast before shopping and enjoy hearty Nebraska comfort food. Or, stop by after shopping and choose from a full slate of sandwiches, burgers, melts, baskets, and dinners including pork tenderloin, ham steak, chopped beef steak, sirloin, and so much more. Of course, you can’t leave without trying a slice of their famous homemade pies, which are available in more than 60 flavors! Order in advance and pick up some pies for your holiday meals and to give to friends and neighbors in the spirit of the season!
The holiday season is always a special time of year, and we need it more than ever to wrap this strangest of years up with some cheer! We strongly encourage you to shop and celebrate locally throughout the 2020 holidays. Your choices are many, yet unique. Be a part of the very heart of the Lincoln community!