With a year like no other in 2020, we’re all ready to fall back to familiar ground. Think holidays. Of course, the season is sure to look different this year—like everything else—but holiday cheer, time with loved ones, and the spirit of giving are sure to make this winter a special one regardless. You don’t have to start singing Jingle Bells just yet, but believe it or not, it’s time to start working on plans so you can truly enjoy the season. That’s why we’re kicking of this three-part holiday series by talking about what you can do to have a stress-free holiday season at work and home.

First and foremost, we want to remind you that this has been a particularly hard year for your favorite local stores, restaurants, and businesses. We encourage you, with everything we have, to make sure your favorite mom-and-pop businesses feel the holiday spirit by making them your choice for holiday shopping, dining, and family and employee celebrations. Take a stroll downtown and look for considerate, intentional gifts for all your loved ones and staff. If your family travels to spend time together at Christmas, plan early and have them come to Lincoln for the festivities. You can go all-out with decorations and treat them to all that our community has to offer. Welcome them with the smell of fresh-baked cookies, festive light displays, and paper-cut snowflakes. Finally, be sure to plan some fun outings—there are plenty of family-friendly entertainment options and prime hotels that will treat your family like their own.

Don’t worry, area business owners have worked diligently to make everything safe for everyone, so you can relax and enjoy yourselves and each other. We talked to some local business operators you’re sure to want to consider in your holiday planning. Get your pen ready and start your planning list right away!

Light it Up!

It’s never too early to start thinking about how to provide a warm, friendly holiday atmosphere with tastefully designed and prominently displayed decorations. As the décor experts, Ambius (www.ambius.com) is cranking up for the holidays by reaching out to Omaha businesses about creating their dazzling 2020 holiday displays, which can transform spaces and captivate clients and passersby alike. The company provides stunning holiday displays, exterior lighting, and decorations such as trees, wreaths, garlands, swags, winter scenes, poinsettias, and a vast selection of other holiday florals, as well as fabulous holiday scents that create the ultimate holiday experience in your office or business.

Ambius designers work year-round to create fabulous new Christmas decorations that can be adapted to work in various business spaces, and they offer decoration rental, including installation and takedown services, so you can sit back and enjoy!


Tiffany Falconer

Tiffany Falconer

One of the best ways you can create a warm and inviting environment in your office or business this holiday season is putting up holiday decorations that really stand out,” said Ambius District Manager Tiffany Falconer. “Not only will your own coworkers feel like their employer really cares, but your brand will receive a boost because of the positive impression you’ll make on visitors and clients.”

For decades, Ambius has helped countless Omaha-area businesses draw in customers with cheerful holiday decorations of all sizes, colors, and themes. From small mom-and-pop shops to luxurious hotels to modern corporate headquarters to sprawling shopping centers, their design consultants have received numerous industry awards for their commercial holiday decorations, seasonal designs, and installations.

What’s extra-special is that you don’t even have to worry about that laborious task of taking decorations down after the holidays. Ambius does all the work for you, so you might even enjoy your decorations more knowing you don’t have to do the heavy lifting later!

Beef it Up!

When you’re thinking about holiday planning, you can’t help but think of food, and if you’re looking for a premium eating or gifting experience, you can’t help but think of Certified Piedmontese (www.piedmontese.com) beef. After all, what’s the best way to get to someone’s heart? Their stomach, of course!

From gift boxes to steaks to roasts, ground beef, and other assorted cuts, Certified Piedmontese goes above and beyond for business-gifting clients and celebrations alike. From custom-curated gift collections to preset gift boxes ranging from $50 to $200, all options, whether preset or custom, comes at a tremendous value. It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays, either, especially if you have a long list of recipients or are looking for more customization with the deliverable beef gift. These are both things that these folks can execute.


Joe Finegan

Joe Finegan

“At Certified Piedmontese beef, we pride ourselves on our quality, including unmatched nutritional benefits alongside a premium eating experience, said Joe Finegan. “You are bringing the steakhouse home. We are proud to afford businesses with the opportunity for employees, customers, and clients to create memories around their tables. For client gifting or bulk orders, Certified Piedmontese provides an unmatched level of customer service and complete customization, along with a variety of other options. Holiday gifting has never been this easy!”

With the crazy year that 2020 has been, it’s more important than ever that you remind your employees and clients how important they are to you, weathering the storm and sticking with you. You’re not likely to find a gift they’ll love more than Certified Piedmontese beef!

“Our beef is far and above the rest out there in being leaner and healthier, while not sacrificing tenderness or flavor,” Joe said, “and since we have started ramping up our efforts with holiday gifting, we are able to provide a high level of customization. It is one of the easiest decisions ever to gift with Certified Piedmontese, and it’s a gift that recipients will be raving out throughout the year!”

Stories of the Holidays

If you really want to get in the Christmas spirit, you’ll definitely want to add Stories Coffee Co. (www.storiescoffeecompany.com) to your holiday planning list. They’re really going to be serving it up big. A self-professed holiday-aholic, Owner Brooke Loutzenhiser and her husband, Dan, will be going all-out with holiday décor to deck out the entire place. They also are planning special live Christmas music by local artists, have a conference room to rent out for holiday parties of up to 25 people, and the entire coffee shop available for rental—with full-service food and drinks—on Sunday evenings during the holiday season. Finally, they’re hosting a big family-friendly Christmas party on December 5, complete with local pop-up shops, Christmas cookies, a kids’ station, adult drinks and shopping opportunities, a live local artist belting holiday tunes, and all of their delicious drinks and foods. (They’re hopeful that Santa will show up, but it will depend on COVID.)


Brooke Loutzenhiser

Brooke Loutzenhiser

“We’re local and want to continue to host our community as we would in our own house,” Brooke said. “We open our Stories home to hundreds of people and want to make sure that people feel just as comfortable and safe here as they feel at home. Lots of people sell coffee, but we realize that lots of people come for the experience. We focus on the details to make sure we keep the experience alive. That includes our tremendous staff. We get as many positive reviews on Google for our staff as we do for our coffee, and we’re proud of that!”

In the spirit of celebrating community, Stories is having holiday gift baskets created for purchase. The baskets will feature products from local business owners that will make perfect gifts for your employees, friends, and family alike. They’re creating four different tiers of gift baskets, ranging from about $30 to about $150, featuring local items, from hot cocoa to chocolate, coffee tumblers, popcorn, snacks, and the pièce de résistance: a coffee-scented Bianchi candle—using Stories Coffee’s signature coffee beans and hand-pou red in Papillion by Nic Bianchi, the entrepreneur who started his company at age 12.

Throughout the holiday season, Stories will offer special Christmas drinks and will continue to offer live music, with holiday tunes weaved in on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. They will continue to maintain adherence to COVID safety guidelines in all they do, and they will definitely keep the reason for the season at the fore of their business this Christmas.

“We hope everyone will focus on the meaning of why we’re getting together—family and faith—and put that foremost in their plans for the holidays,” Brooke said. “The venue is important, but if we forget why we’re doing it, it loses its luster.”

Healthy Holiday Treats

What’s the holiday season without seasonal sweet treats? Well, we don’t really want to know. That’s because the holiday reminds us of The Omaha Bakery (www.theomahabakery.com), and they know how to sweeten up the holiday spirit with treats and baked goods that are actually good for you, too!


Michelle Kaiser

Michelle Kaiser

“We now offer a variety of delicious keto treats made with all-natural sweeteners and clean-and-healthy non-GMO organic ingredients,” said The Omaha Bakery Owner Michelle Kaiser. “Even non-keto people love our delicious healthy options because it helps their bodies stay clean. I am now celebrating almost two years of being pain-free as a result of a keto diet. I lost 100 pounds in a year. Before, I couldn’t walk up steps or onto a curb without assistance. I started keto and it changed my life!”

The Omaha Bakery sets the bar high on quality and taste, too. Consider some tempting keto options like a cheesecake tray with pumpkin keto cheesecake and a variety of other keto flavors. The cheesecake trays can also include anything from peppermint candy cane or creamy mint to chocolate raspberry or plain keto cheesecake with strawberry sauce. The Omaha Bakery makes fantastic gifts for office or other holiday parties. You’ll bring the holiday spirit to live with their brownies and bars, cakes, mouthwatering cheesecake, and delectable bread rolls and loaves.

“People love our take-and-bake cinnamon rolls,” Michelle said. “We have customers who make a tradition of baking them at home so they can have them fresh on Christmas morning while they open presents with their families.”

Classy Cajun

If you want to treat your family or employees to a delectable intermingling of French and soul food, book your holiday event at Lux (www.facebook.com/Lux-Lounge), formally Acadian Grille Dundee. This window into Bourbon Street serves up all of the lights, colors, live music, culture, and historic charm of the heart of New Orleans. The ambiance is warm and inviting, and it’s the perfect place to take family and guests for a special holiday night out.


Dan O'Brien

Dan O’Brien

“Instead of stressing about how to feel all your visiting relatives or how to entertain your friends during the holidays, come have a glass of wine and our delicious, warm, made-from-scratch small-plate cuisine at Lux,” said Owner Dan O’Brien. “Everything on our menu is prepared to satisfy, including our chilled Brussels, crab cake salad, and flat breads including the Veggie Flat Bread, which features peppers, mushrooms, and onions on fresh homemade dough baked in olive oil. There’s something for everyone.”

Lux also has a timeless cocktail selection and features live music focused on local and traveling jazz and blue bands almost every evening. It really puts the cherry on top of the Cajun experience, and will have you relaxing and tapping your toes—or maybe even kicking up your heels a bit in front of the stage. If you’ve got a crew that enjoys a good laugh, book your holiday night at Lux for a Tuesday, when they feature comedy nights.

Step Out!

If you’re planning a holiday party from family, friends, or coworkers, consider hosting it at Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch’s catered lodges. Every building you see within the beautiful 80 acres of Bellevue Berry has been reconstructed using old barns from farming neighbors throughout Sarpy and Cass counties. The buildings have been decorated with old farming tools and implements, giving their venue a true country look and feel. During the holidays, Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch (bellevueberryfarm.com is dazzling with the sparkle of Christmas lights and decorations. This picturesque setting is ideal for groups who are looking to have a fun, casual time together.

If you want to turn your holiday celebration into a true teambuilding event, take your employees or family to the House of Conundrum—Omaha’s Escape Room. You and your group will be placed in a themed room of your choice for one hour, during which you must find hidden clues, decode messages, solve puzzles, and more to escape—and you can’t do it without coordinated teamwork. It’s a great way to bring House of Conundrum makes for a lively and entertaining holiday event, with a little edge of competition included. Skip the movies and take your family or friends on a challenging and unforgettable adventure instead.

There’s no doubt that 2020 has served up blow after blow for local businesses, but you can give back twice this holiday, with a season of giving to your friends and family AND to the businesses that make the Omaha community tick. They need your support more than ever—and in return, they’ll treat you to a holiday that you, your family, and your employees will never forget!