Category: Conferences and Events

‘Tis the Season – Holiday Event Ideas


DSC_0852As an event planner at Boston Financial, I have the opportunity to engage our client community throughout the year at a number of conferences, meetings, and social gatherings. We see our client events as a way to show our appreciation and say thank you, and our clients view them as a chance to network and share insights with their peers. Over the years I’ve learned our client community’s preferences and ensure I accommodate those preferences while introducing new ideas. Through diligent research and creating diverse and unique events, I have identified a few must haves for any event.

The holidays are a time to celebrate with the people who are important in our lives, whether they are clients, coworkers, friends, or family. ‘Tis the season, and I’d like to share some of my favorite holiday party findings and trends that you can use to celebrate with your community.

1)     For the ambience

Holiday party music is key. Pandora has added new holiday stations for 2013 and there is a wide selection of themes to choose from including Jazz Holidays, Nueva Latina, and Hanukkah. Using CDs or iTunes? There are some great new holiday albums such as Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red, Nick Lowe’s Quality Street, Mary J. Blige’s A Mary Christmas and Straight No Chaser’s Under the Influence: Holiday Edition. If you have a Spotify account, connect with me and you can link to one of my custom Holiday playlists.

Lighting transforms a space. I like these starry string lights from Restoration Hardware and they run on rechargeable battery. For something extra flashy, check out their marquee word lamps in Peace, Joy, and Love.

For some festive party décor and supplies, check out this company’s items under the Seasonal and Holidays section of their website.

Chalkboards are a trend I’ve seen a lot of in 2013.   A cool DIY project is to use some Rust-oleum Specialty Chalkboard spray paint on wine bottles and write your own holiday message.

2)     For the menu

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I stopped at the famous Buena Vista Café.  They are famous for their Irish Coffee. On a cold evening, why not try making these at home?

Pomegranates are wonderfully red in color and a nice sweet/tart combo. They are in season October – February and some markets even carry containers of the seeds alone. Add the seeds to a glass of Prosecco or non-alcoholic sparkling champagne. Sprinkle them over a romaine and gorgonzola salad. Pomegranate juice is also an excellent mixer for margaritas, martinis or alone with some club soda and sugar.

Keep your guests warm and toasty with a hot chocolate bar. If you have a large gathering you can serve in a crockpot or urn. Provide an assortment of treats such as mini-marshmallows, whipped cream, peppermint sticks and other miniature candies. Further enhance with some Kahlua or Peppermint schnapps on the side for the grown-ups.

Prefer something savory?  Give your guests a mashed potato bar. Keep them warm in a crock pot or sterno, and provide all the add-ins on the side. I love this idea because it can satisfy most of your guests and you can use a variety of items for the fixings: gravy, bacon, sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, chopped veggies, salsa, diced ham; the list is endless.

3)     For making it memorable

Photobooths are all the rage at weddings and corporate events, pretty easy to create in your own home, and a great way to add fun holiday memories. Photos can be uploaded after the event and shared with guests via facebook photo albums, or you can print photostrips using a free photobooth software or app. You’ll need a digital camera (and remote shutter release), laptop or ipad, a backdrop and some props.

Give your party a #hashtag. The social media fanatics will love it and they will use it when they Tweet from your party or upload photos on Instagram. Make sure you use it on all your communications so guests can find it easily and they are aware of it before the event. #SmithinBostonNYE or #XmasOnBrookRoad.

4)     For showing your appreciation

Rosemary Trees. During the season they are trimmed to look like Christmas trees, they smell awesome, and you can use them as garnishes for drinks and food. Bring one as a hostess gift or place in your home. You can usually find them at Lowe’s this time of year. Harry and David carry one available for purchase online.

The Williams-Sonoma Essential Oils Collection, in Winter Forest is a wonderful evergreen/woodsy scent. The quality of these are enough to turn your average boring hand lotion or candle into something that your friends will start buying for themselves. I had the hand soap/lotion caddie in my home last season and received several compliments. Pick one up now and have on hand for that last minute host gift you need to grab.

Looking for something more casual? Bring them a sampler of seasonal craft beer such as Harpoon’s Wintery Mix.

What are some of your favorite holiday party tips?

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon

Amy began her career at Boston Financial in 2000 and is an Event Planner within the Corporate Marketing team. She is responsible for the research, planning and execution of events for Boston Financial, with primary focus on Client Forums, industry conferences and associate events. Working closely with Senior Management and our client community for over ten years, she has gained valuable insight and expertise on how to run a successful business event.


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  1. Dave

    Wonderful article about holiday event trends. In addition to espresso and hot chocolate bars/carts, we offer smoothie bars or Italian soda bars. All make great drink bases for holiday cheer! Merry Christmas, Amy!


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