Holiday Wrap-Up in Omaha, NE

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Holiday Wrap-Up in Omaha, NE

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.

For the hobbyist in your life among other “types” who enjoy woodworking, it’s best to go right to the source for your holiday gift shopping – Midwest Woodworkers!

Gerry Phelan-Midwest Woodworkers

Gerry Phelan
Midwest Woodworkers

“If you have a woodworker on your list, we’re your one-stop gift shop with thousands of items in stock,” says Gerry Phelan, owner of Midwest Woodworkers. “We realize that it can be hard to buy a gift for a woodworker but we’ll be happy to help. As woodworkers ourselves we can offer gift suggestions and answer your questions.  Tell us a little about what your favorite woodworker makes and we’ll go to work for you.

We’ve had gift buyers who purchase equipment for their favorite woodworker, but more often we look for special items to enhance their workshops. If all else fails, you can always give a gift certificate. We offer gift certificates in any amount that never expire and have no service charges. You can be sure it will make your woodworker very happy.

One new item that just came out is the Kreg Mobile Project Center. It would make a great gift for any woodworker, homeowner or craftsperson. It’s a portable work table that folds flat for transport and storage. With its built-in clamping ability and 350lb capacity it can handle any DIY job. It a versatile workspace…to go!

Another new product we’re carrying this year is, believe it or not, coloring books. Sure, you can color in them but we have found that they also make great pattern books for carving, wood burning and intarsia, which is an elaborate form of marquetry using inlays in wood.

If you have someone on your gift list who needs a creative outlet and enjoys working with their hands, they can become a woodworker! You can give them a woodworking class. There are many disciplines people can pursue; from carving to cabinet making and everything in between. And woodworking isn’t just a guy thing; we are seeing more and more women getting involved. We make sure everyone learns and has a great experience in our classes. If you are thinking of giving a certificate for a class, consider taking the class with them. You can both enjoy learning and doing, while sharing some quality time together.

When you are giving presents to people you care about, you’ll want to find a gift that will delight them. That will delight you in turn. The key is discovering what they really want. While gift-giving is nice, remember that your time and attention is the best gift of all. If you are able to make something special with your own hands, that gift has a much stronger personal connection.”

In addition to gift suggestions, he also offers some advice for the final holiday stretch, “Don’t worry about perfection – you don’t have to reach perfect to have a wonderful holiday. The holiday season should be fun and enjoyable, not a stressful problem for you. It does help to start early – that Christmas Eve shopping always works out better in the movies.

Remember that even though the best plans sometimes don’t work out, it’s not about presents or plans, it’s about people.  Focus on the positive and enjoy the moment.”

It’s actually quite common to pick up a last-minute gift en route to a party or for the next day’s gift exchange at the office; we’ve all been there. For these types of scenarios, stop by Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal and grab a nice bottle of wine or the intended recipient’s favorite spirit. It’s also the place to find what you need for your holiday party drinks; there’s an amazing selection!

Whether your choice is a complete bar set-up or a simple punch bowl you can count on the staff to provide a variety of great ideas. As knowing what to serve and the exact quantities needed can be quite the dilemma, the experienced staff at Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal will not only help you decide the best fit for beverage offerings but also the proportion of beer, wine, liquor, punch and soft drinks while also staying within your budget. In addition to carrying all of the classic party favorites, you’ll have convenient access to party goods such as tableware and professional bartenders are also available for hire.

As a guest it’s always a nice gesture to bring a beverage of choice to share with everyone or as a gift for the host, and with plenty of specials for the holidays, you’re sure to find something that will be a big hit!

The Omaha Metro 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 for your holiday parties with the help of our local restaurants. Or, if you have a busy night of errands, shopping and gift wrapping in store, simply order a homemade meal from your favorite restaurant for your whole family for pick-up when you get off work!

“The holidays tend to be very hectic and rather expensive times,” says Brent Ganey, CEO/Director of West Garden LLC, the managing company of the Old Fashioned Garden Café in Rockbrook Village. “During the rush for gifting we often forget about the little things, like how thoughtful it would be to give the gift of a holiday dinner to friends or relatives who may not have a house full of guests this year. Everyone wants to have a home-cooked holiday meal. Some like turkey, others ham, which is why we created holiday dinners to go that are precooked and ready to go; just heat and serve. Meals serving up to six people for only $34.99 make it affordable to drop off these meals the day before the holiday and let them know that you are thinking about them, even if you can’t spend the holiday with them.

As for corporate gifts, businesses love little treats from their suppliers and customers. We make it easy and affordable for you to show your appreciation with our 40-piece Holiday Goodie Trays with lemon, turtle fudge, and zebra brownies for only $19.99. Preorder or stop in, grab one or twenty–we are ready to help you stand out in the crowd. Don’t let your corporate function sneak up on you either! Reserve your date and let us do the cooking, as we deliver it right to your conference room. At only $6.99 per person we are sure to have what you need and help you stay within your budget.”

Remaining on the topic of holiday parties and gatherings, Ganey also points out, “Sushi for Christmas? I don’t think so! Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Classic holiday meals such as turkey, meatloaf, or glazed ham are sure to please and reinforce the festivity of the party. Santa hats and our delicious cinnamon rolls go hand-in-hand as well. Tight budget at the office? Think breakfast and cut costs by 50% by having a 10 a.m. event with cheesy strattas, fresh fruits, cinnamon and pecan rolls, just like Christmas morning!”

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.

Furthermore, 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? Gift cards to local restaurants and bars aren’t just convenient gifts; you can also purchase them strategically to save on your holiday parties and gatherings!

Aside from gift cards, curated and custom gift boxes or baskets are another easy gift item that are generally well-received by anyone on your gift list.

Sean Fuller-Just Good Meat

Sean Fuller
Just Good Meat

“Our gift boxes are insanely popular every year,” says Sean Fuller, owner of Just Good Meat. “These are perfect for a family member, boss, co-worker, even the person that has everything. We’ll have them ready for you to stop by the store and pick up at a designated time, or we can make arrangements to deliver right to the doorstep of the recipient. We also put together large orders for corporate gift boxes that our customers present to their clients or employees, and offer a nice discount when purchased in quantity. There are many different combinations to choose from, which can be viewed on our website, justgoodmeatomaha.com, under the Steak Gift Boxes tab. If you don’t see one you like or have something specific in mind, give us a call to discuss the options for putting together a custom gift box.

As we are all familiar, things get hectic during the holidays and time is precious, so it’s our pleasure to make your experience quick and simple. We look forward to serving our friends and neighbors in the Omaha Metro community this holiday season!”

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.)

Theresa Brown-Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm

Theresa Brown
Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm

“The perfect last-minute gift, and one that may not have been on your radar thus far, is a gift card to Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm!” says Theresa Brown, Director of Sales at Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm. “It can be used on spa treatments, overnight accommodations, gift shop items from one our three retail locations, meals in the Timber Dining Room, and more. We refer to it as the gift that keeps on giving as it helps support the Arbor Day Foundation’s tree planting mission.

The holiday season is a time of joy, so don’t let the stress of the holiday season become too overwhelming. A great stress reliever is a massage or body treatment from The Spa at Lied Lodge. It’s a great way to reduce stress and to rejuvenate your mind and body before the holidays.

Our goal is to take the stress out your holiday planning in any way we can. It is time to spend with friends and family enjoying one another’s company and not about worrying over every little detail.

Lied Lodge’s full service planning department can easily help with the arrangements for last minute parties, even the smallest of details. We can assist with the overnight accommodations, in-room gifts, dining reservations and catering options, hospitality rooms, and entertainment. There are advantages to hosting a party after the major holidays, mainly to avoid scheduling conflicts and the distractions leading up to the holidays. Also, all holiday décor is up throughout Lied Lodge and Arbor Day Farm through the month of January for those planning holiday gatherings after the holiday season. Lied Lodge is offering complimentary banquet space for holiday parties, contact our sales team for details and restrictions.”

She also notes, “Lied Lodge and Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm offers a wide array of holiday festivities throughout the holiday season, so it’s also great place to visit with your families. Bring the children to enjoy Brunch with Santa, hop aboard our enclosed trolley for the Holiday Trolley Tour Lights complete with a reading of the Polar Express, or simply step back in time at Christmas at the Mansion and explore the vintage décor. We encourage our guests to take advantage of our fireplaces, Tree Adventure attraction, indoor pool, and fully-updated guest rooms.”

The “After-Parties”: Holiday Celebrations in 2017

Speaking of last-minute parties, you can count on a few of them being added to the calendar this month. Also, 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. We consulted with our favorite local experts as to why they’ve found this to be a beneficial approach, along with advice for those who are shooting to put together their festivities yet this month.

Either way, it’s important to cover the basics first and then go from there. Oftentimes, most if not all of these can be found in one full-service event venue.

Sue Bennett-The Club at Indian Creek

Sue Bennett
The Club at Indian Creek

“Food, beverage and entertainment are the key elements of any successful holiday party,” emphasizes Sue Bennett of The Club at Indian Creek. “We pride ourselves on working with our clients to help implement all of these elements within their budgetary restrictions.

Many companies are encouraging employees to include significant others so that they can meet and get to know their co-workers. Entertainment companies that provide magicians, hypnotists, casino games, visits from Santa for the children, etc. are a popular way to engage your guests during the party. We recommend you do not overwhelm your guests with lots of high priced amenities. Keep your holiday party plans simple and fun! Music should be a complement to the party and still allow conversation.

If you’re aiming to host a company event yet this month, I recommend considering weeknights so as not to compete with employees’ family holiday plans. In January, after the stress of the holidays is over, weekends become ideal again. Selecting a venue where many of your amenities are included in your rental is advantageous as it makes extra decorating unnecessary and helps to reduce costs. At The Club at Indian Creek we offer affordably priced rental prices which include tables, chairs, linens, use of our audio-visual system, china, glassware, dance floor and set-up of the space to meet your specifications. Our Event Coordinators remain on site throughout each event to ensure that everything goes smoothly and according to your plans.”

The Alamo Drafthouse is another fantastic venue for holiday parties, with a line-up of packages that include fun, interactive themed elements along with a full menu and bar, with service right to your seats!

Ashley Brooks-Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Ashley Brooks
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

“Let us help you create a holiday party to remember!” says Ashley Brooks, Private Event Coordinator at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “Our clients love our tastefully decorated theaters, both kid- and adult-friendly beverage options, our variety of party themes and the ease of booking with us.

During the most wonderful time of the year, we offer several holiday-themed options along with our regular offerings that are available year-round, including our Ultimate Holiday Party. Pick a classic holiday movie or TV special, and we provide themed props, custom plated dinner and cocktails, and a holly, jolly host to keep the holiday cheer merry and bright.

Being a movie theater, we here at the Alamo Drafthouse understand how busy the holidays can get. Families want to enjoy the season together, so it’s difficult to juggle everything so that you can fit in the office party. Doing a party after we all ring in the New Year will free up the holidays for family time and just might be the thing to get your office through that notorious January slump. If you need an office party on the fly, keep it simple: Pop in the classic Hallmark holiday specials or some heartwarming music have a delicious make-your-own hot chocolate bar, set out some beautiful cookies, go light on decorations, and enjoy each other’s company.”

Back to holiday gift inspiration, she also suggests grabbing a gift card. “Need a last minute gift idea? Give the gift of movies! This year, we are offering a bonus with our gift cards. For every $50 gift card you purchase, you will receive a free $10 food and beverage voucher. Gift cards can be used at either the Cinema or our Liquid Sunshine Taproom.”

Indeed, holiday treats are among the musts for any party or gathering—it’s tradition! However, we now have so much more to choose from as our local gems such as The Omaha Bakery have no shortage of creativity and talent to share with those in our community.

Michelle Kaiser-The Omaha Bakery

Michelle Kaiser
The Omaha Bakery

“We put together a wide variety of holiday trays each year that always fly off of the shelves,” says Michelle Kaiser, owner of The Omaha Bakery. “These can also be custom-ordered. Choose your favorites from our selection of specialty desserts and let us know when you need it ready, that’s all there is to it! We do our best to accommodate any last-minute requests, but always recommend giving us at least 48 hours to ensure you’ll get exactly what you want.

With the ease of picking up a premade tray, it’s a great option for the business office party where everyone brings an item. They are also perfect as a drop-by gift for your clients and those you wish to thank for their business or services. At several different price points, you can choose the best fit for your needs.

Small gifts can sometimes be hard to find, but at The Omaha Bakery, we have plenty on-hand. Our hand-decorated cookies are very elaborate and sure to impress, our mini pies are so cute, and we have decadent mousse-filled brownie bonbons that take three days to make but are absolutely to-die-for. These are $6 apiece and are currently available in the following flavors: salted caramel, candy cane, peanut butter, English toffee, and Oreo cookies & cream. We also plan to add more holiday flavors into the mix closer to the holidays, and gluten-free options are always available. All of these items are ready to present, in pretty boxes and packaging to ensure that you make a great impression on those who are lucky enough to be on the receiving end!”

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 Health.com, 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. Or, just infuse your water with citrus fruits or pack an orange in your lunch!

Walk Your Worries Away – Walking can definitely relieve stress, and allows you a minute away from the noise and grind to center your thoughts and find a little peace. Additionally, the rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain while decreasing anxiety and improving your sleep. Try your best to incorporate a brisk 30-minute walk every day.

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 that we have been offered the opportunity to participate in. 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 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!

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. This will also require that you get out of the house, and that is great. The Omaha Metro has plenty of wonderful places to dine out that are festive for the holidays and can take one or more things literally “off of your plate.” On a side note, hot foods trigger the release of endorphins, natural chemicals largely responsible for our feelings of euphoria and wellbeing. If these types of foods are not incorporated in your holiday traditions, try spicing things up a little bit!

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.

Plan a Vacation…or Staycation! – Taking at least four or five days off work dramatically lowers your stress level, and even planning for taking this time off in the future provides the same effect and gives you something to look forward to. If you have kids and opt for a staycation during the holidays, there are plenty of great destinations in Lincoln and Omaha that provide the perfect getaway. You can also make plans to send the kiddos off on their own vacation to Grandma and Grandpa’s, and take some time to yourself or get your holiday to-do list handled.

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 the Omaha Metro, 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!