Holiday Wrap-Up in Omaha, NE – 2018
The countdown to Christmas has begun! We are “wrapping up” our holiday series this month with advice on how to make it through this busy time—from packing in all of the festive parties and events to getting all of the last-minute plans and shopping handled. If you’re looking for suggestions regarding any of those things, you’re in the right place! There are so many great local businesses (emphasis on LOCAL!) that have just what you to need to make the season merry and bright.
All across Omaha, there are fantastic places to find all of those last-minute gifts or handy services. At Strictly Business, we are passionate about supporting and promoting local businesses; and not just the business, but the people behind the business. It feels good to know the people behind the product.
When you resist the urge to online shop and you choose local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Think about how you celebrate when a favorite local business succeeds and you mourn when it’s forced to shut its doors. As consumers, we make a difference. This is an important message we wanted to share this time of year when the most shopping is happening.
Keep reading to be reminded of all the local stores and services in Omaha that you can help you master the holidays!
Local Gift Shopping
While the holidays allow us to spend time with our friends and family with fun celebrations and gatherings, we also experience the stress of finding gifts for everyone on the list. Of course, there are financial pressures, but also just the matter of finding the right gift for the right person. If you’re getting your holiday shopping done last minute, your stress level is even higher.
The best gifts are thoughtful gifts. Most women enjoy a gift because it’s meaningful. Think about a special date, place or moment, and personalize their gift to try to bring back that happy feeling.
When it comes to last-minute gifts, jewelry is a good place start looking. Sparkly and shiny items are a staple during the holidays and there are so many gorgeous gemstones and styles to choose from right now, with special one-of-a-kind pieces just for the holiday season. While diamonds might not be a realistic gift for everyone, women have historically enjoyed receiving jewelry the most, while men get excited about electronics.
Are you weighing your options between selecting a gift, whether it’s an item or an experience, or giving a gift card and letting the recipient be the one to choose? Gift cards do get a bit of a bad rap for being sort of a “cop-out,” but honestly, they make pretty great gifts.
Acadian Grille, Omaha’s Cajun scratch kitchen, is now offering gift cards—just in time for the holidays! Pick one up for your “favorite foodie” during your next visit and give the gift of authentic Cajun cuisine this Christmas. Acadian Grille, owned by Dan and Jennifer O’Brien, features Louisiana-inspired dishes, such as crab cakes, shrimp and grits, po’ boys, and jambalaya. Offering an impressive selection of fine wine and beer as well, Acadian Grille’s distinctive combination of food and beverage menus is designed to delight any patron.
When it comes to a unique dining experience, we recommend Acadian Grille, offering authentic Cajun cuisine in a cozy, modern neighborhood restaurant setting.
“Everything is prepared right in front of you,” notes Dan O’Brien with Acadian Grille. “From gator bites with poblano fig jam, Crawfish Étouffée, shrimp and grits with Crispy Tasso, and traditional gumbo, to tasty burgers and steak—we are bringing a variety of staples to Omaha. We have an impressive selection of fine wine and beer as well.”
If you want to please your friends and family who are in town for the holidays by giving them a taste of our local dining scene, Acadian Grille is the spot.
Holiday Treats and Drinks
Whether you’re a guest or you’re welcoming guests into your home, offering good food and drinks is crucial.
“If you are coming as a guest to a gathering, offer to bring something,” says Charlotte Ralston with R.U. Nuts and Ahroma Specialty Coffee. “If you’re anything like me, you don’t like showing up empty-handed. Plus, it’s polite. A lot of people take this opportunity to bring a nice bottle of wine, but what about bringing coffee? When you bring in a gift that’s able to be shared by everyone, it’s often something that they remember and will be very thankful for. Every day is a holiday when you’re drinking Ahroma Specialty Coffee!
Don’t forget about our snacks, either. R.U. Nuts trail mixes and roasted nuts are perfect to keep on hand. Taking one of our food and coffee filled gift baskets along to a holiday gathering or having one conveniently shipped to arrive will make you the most popular person at the party! R.U. Nuts gift baskets are filled with gourmet chocolates, nuts, coffee, and more, so you get huge value and variety. They are a tangible and welcome way to say ‘Happy holidays!’ or ‘Thank you!’”
Whatever you do, don’t forget the dessert! Holiday treats truly make a great addition to any party or gathering—it’s tradition! The Omaha Bakery has no shortage of baked goodies to share with guests (or maybe just to treat yourself!).
“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 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! Our bars and brownies are really popular this time of year and they make a great addition to your holiday dessert spread.
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 pre-made tray, it’s a great option for any party where everyone is asked to bring a food 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.
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!”
Cold Stone Creamery’s ice cream cakes, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, and pies are the perfect “sweet” ending to 2018. Another perfect stocking-stuffer idea is Cold Stone Creamery’s Ultimate Ice Cream Experience gift card. If you know an ice cream lover, make them happy with Cold Stone’s super-premium ice cream made fresh in the store.
According to Shawn Williams, franchise owner of six Cold Stone Creamery locations in Omaha, Cold Stone has created something entirely new—a warm, decadent treat with a hint of elegance and a whole lot of whimsical flair! Who wouldn’t love to be spoiled with something this delicious as their holiday present?
Right now, Cold Stone is featuring some new holiday ice cream flavors: milk and cookies, dark chocolate peppermint, and red velvet peppermint—YUM! You can give someone a Cold Stone gift card, or make it a special ice cream date by visiting one of the six Cold Stones in Omaha (LaVista – 126th and Giles, Midtown Crossing – 33rd and Farnam, Northpark – 120th and Blondo, Village Pointe – 168th and Dodge, kiosk inside CenturyLink Center, and kiosk inside Baxter Arena).
Ringing in the New Year
Let’s talk about holiday parties! While there are probably already a few lined up for this month, there is always room for more celebration. How will you be ringing in the new year? Whether you’re still looking to plan your event or you’re taking care of the finishing touches, you’re not alone. January is becoming a very popular month for holiday parties.
After the holidays and everything has settled down a bit, you have a lot more time to dedicate to your party arrangements and entertaining your attendees. Likewise, your clients and/or employees will be able to enjoy themselves more without having to worry about everything else that’s going on in their lives.
“The advantage of hosting your party after the holidays is getting to actually enjoy the holidays, without the additional stress of planning something,” comments Jim Shaw with Soaring Wings Vineyard & Brewing. “There are a lot more open dates to choose from too when it comes to booking your venue and vendors of choice.
With outdoor seating and our large Amphitheater, we have an exceptional outdoor performance location. We have fantastic views over the Platte River Valley and it can truly be a winter wonderland out here during the holidays.
During these cold months, we hold music and events inside our Platte View Room! However, some people enjoy still enjoy the fresh air on our covered deck.
In our tasting room, you may purchase a tasting of five of our wines or beers for $6, or $8 to receive a souvenir wine glass with logo! Soaring Wings currently features 22 wines and 8 beers. If you aren’t able to bring someone here to try our offerings, a bottle of one of our signature wines would make a sweet (or dry) gift from a friend or loved one this Christmas.”
If you’re hosting an event and find yourself missing any of the essential party items, whether your event is at home or a venue in town, Honeyman Rent-All has a large inventory of items for rent. These include centerpieces, fine china and porcelain, glasses, and linens.
When it comes to the essentials, Honeyman Rent-All has a large inventory of items for rent that will take care of every element of your party. These items include bar service, centerpieces, chafers, chairs/tables/dance floors, china and porcelain, event lighting, games, and more. With their large selection of linens, you can find tables cloths that match the colors of the holiday you’re celebrating around.
Managing Holiday Stress
From gifts to parties and everything in between, there are plenty of wonderful things about the holidays. While the holidays are generally an enjoyable time filled with all sorts of things to be grateful for and happy about, it is a time where many will struggle with effectively managing stress and depression.
Grief’s Journey, a local organization offering help, understanding, comfort, and hope after suffering a loss, shared some tips for making it through the holidays:
- Reduce stressful situations. The holidays are full of stressful situations and to-do lists. Limit your responsibilities to reduce your extra stress this season. Ask another family member to host, request a potluck instead of cooking, limit your decorations, or enlist help in wrapping. Try to shift your “I shoulds” to “I may if I feel like it” to give yourself permission to ease up.
- Feel free to change (or keep) traditions as you want. After someone dies, our old traditions may lose meaning or be too painful. It is okay, and often helpful, to change things up. You may want to change your traditional meal, celebrate on a different day, or even take a vacation. On the other hand, do not let others persuade you to change traditions if they bring you comfort. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, especially during the holidays.
- Include the person who died. Even though that person is no longer physically present, they can still be included in our holidays. Have everyone share memories during a meal, do their favorite tradition as a group, or give others gifts “from” them. Finding ways to include them in your holidays can bring some joy to your sorrow.
- Simplify the shopping. Shopping can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming aspects of the holidays. Fighting crowds and seeing thousands of merry shoppers while you are grieving can often be too much. We also frequently overspend when we are grieving, so it is important to plan ahead, make a budget, and stick with it. Consider ways to simplify – shop online, give a shopping list to a friend, or give gifts of special items that belonged to the person who died along with a note explaining the meaning behind it.
- Pay it forward. Many people find comfort and hope by helping others, especially during the holiday season. Volunteer as a family, donate to a cause that was important to the person who died, or adopt a family in need. These can be meaningful ways to create a legacy for your special person and provide some light in your darkness.
That’s a wrap, folks! We hope you have the most wonderful Christmas and NYE with your friends and family. Don’t forget to spread the cheer by supporting local businesses whenever possible. Gifts aren’t everything, but they can be creatively given and received. The most important thing is making lasting memories with the people you love. There is truly so much to celebrate. We’ll see you next year!