Fun Gifts to Give – Part 3 of 3

In my last two installments we discussed invitations and party favors. Today I want talk about gifts I love to give. During the holiday season we are so busy that even though we mean well we are always scurrying at the last minute to find gifts for my husband’s aunts, my sister and my brother. We always have our children’s gift shopping done the day after Thanksgiving, but somehow these other family members get lost in the shuffle. Almost by mistake I decided one year to give Selective Gift Booklets. These are usually used as employee and client gifts for many of the clients we represent, not just during the holidays but all year long as either a safety program or as an incentive program.

They are beautiful booklets filled with 80 name brand items. Each book comes in a different price point and pricing is not shown anywhere inside of the booklet. The books come in as low as $25 denominations, which includes a free gift card, the gift item and the shipping of the item to your recipient. Everyone loved their gift. My sister and brother asked that we send these booklets for each of their birthday and holiday gifts. They each were able to pick something out of the book that they wanted and may not otherwise have purchased for themselves had they had to spend their own money, and it made everyone, including me very happy.

Another great gift idea is our picnic and barbecue items. We have several customers who do actually give these during the holiday season, but any time of year is a good time to give this type of gift. I have given many of these for birthday gifts and for wedding gifts. Now, with the higher price of gas, many people are spending more time closer to home. If you have seen ads for Wal-mart recently, they are suggesting you turn your backyard into a vacation spot. So what would be a better gift to give than grilling items, or a picnic backpack complete with service for 4? And soon it will be football season. Both of these items would work great for tailgating. We even have a tailgate portable grill! Anything that would make the recipients life less complicated and more enjoyable is the right gift to give.

Everyone likes gifts that are nifty, especially if it is something they can use, but are unlikely to purchase themselves because it might be seen as more of a luxury item than a necessity. There are so many gift ideas out there, none of which need to feature your logo. A greeting card, with a heartfelt greeting will work just fine to place your name in front of the recipient and the use of the gift for years to come will be a warm remembrance of you and your thoughtfulness.

Party Favors and Give-aways Part 2 of 3

In my previous article I discussed how invitations set the mood for getting people to attend your event. In this article I am going to tell you about what I do when I have a party to help make it a more enjoyable event. Give gifts and/or party favors. It doesn’t need to cost and arm and a leg to have something at your event for your attendees to keep when they leave. This is a little memento of the event that they can take home.

Recently, my husband turned 50. I put together a great little party in Daytona Beach at a fabulous little hotel called the Bahama House. Even though most of the attendees were family, I felt the need to present everyone with a goodie bag. We have great packaging on our websites, so I purchased some very nice gold bags and black and gold wraphia to make bows on the outside of the bags. But what was on the inside of each bag is what made everyone say WOW! They were amazed that they were getting “presents” at someone else’s birthday party. I had ordered 24 bottles of private labeled water imprinted with a custom message, my husband’s name and the date. I added the little celebration cakes the can be microwaved and come complete with a candle, balloon and sprinkles, there were light up buttons that said Happy Birthday, we had a chocolate 50 packaged in clear cello and tied with imprinted ribbon that had the same message as the water bottles, and the most fun item in the bag was a light up pilsner glass that was also imprinted with the same message as the water bottles and the chocolate. These were all presented to each guest at check-in. Everyone could tell by the contents of the goodie bag just how great the party was going to be! They were excited!!

Not everyone has to go as crazy with goodie bags as I did, but you only turn 50 once. For my birthday a couple of years ago, I decided to have a casino party. Each of the attendees received chocolate poker chips, and a light up button that looked like an Ace and King of Spades. (Yes, I do like things that light up and blink). Everyone loved wearing their button, and it was fun when it got dark outside. The chocolate was delicious too!

Having a theme for your party, helps not only with finding enticing invitations, but it also helps you with the kinds of giveaways that you will hand out to keep them thinking about your company or your event, long after it is over. Even restaurants and department stores have been known to give away edible things to get you to come in to their place of business and purchase. One time we worked with a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee, and they ordered hundreds of chocolate dipped fortune cookies with their own custom fortunes inside. Some of the fortunes had discounts off for food purchases, and others had a free item offer with purchase. – Who would have thought that KFC would use fortune cookies to promote their company? We were also approached a few years back to use this same concept for a women’s clothing store chain, but instead of fortune cookies they used bars of chocolate with the discounts inside.

Ask your promotional consultant if you get stuck for ideas. There are thousands of ideas out there. And most of all have fun!

It’s All in the Invitation – Part 1 of A 3 Part Series

I started thinking recently about all the great events I have planned over the years. We are in the midst of planning new and exciting happenings for our company and this brought all these wonderful memories floating back. I think the best thing about putting on an event, whether it is a fundraiser, or a grand opening or the launch of a website is the planning of that event. I get really excited when I start writing down all the things that need to be done, creating the lists, and the lists for those lists, and then purchasing the items that are needed to make it all come together. Somehow, this all gives meaning to your days and you eagerly wake up because you know that today is going to be filled with fun while you make your game plan for your event.

I really believe that an invitation to your event sets the tone for how the event is going to be perceived, and whether you are going to have a good crowd attend your events. – My personal parties are always very crowded. I always go out of my way to put them on, and I think my family and friends come to expect this from me. A few years ago, when Harry Potter was popular, I put together a 9th birthday party for my son. It took me 3 months to plan that event, but it was the best party his friends and the neighborhood children had ever seen. They all talked about it for weeks after the event.  It started out with invitations that looked like a scroll on parchment paper inviting them to come to the party in costume. The invitation was even sealed in wax with a big H for Hogwarts. We had 21 children arrive dressed as characters from the movie and we even had a sorting hat party, made magic wands, drank out of light up goblets and played quidditch in the back yard. Even the inside of our living area walls were lined with flagstone patterned gossamer. It was the care we took in the invitation that brought those 21 children to our house, and the attention to details once they arrived that made the party memorable for everyone.

Zipper Coconuts as a unique Party InvitationI started to think about different invitations I have received over the years for different events and I came up with some really creative ideas. A few years ago I received a zippered coconut. It was a real coconut that actually had a zipper attached to the middle. When you opened it up, inside was the invitation to the event, some sun screen a lei. This set the stage for an educational business meeting with a Hawaiian theme to be held at a local beach resort. 

Another invitation that we actually used a couple of summers ago for a “Christmas in August” open house to get our local clients thinking about the upcoming holiday season was a mailing tube decorated in red and white with Season’s Greetings imprinted on the side. A mailing tube is a great mailer that gets opened right away because it is not an ordinary envelope, so the recipient is excited to see what is inside. We has quite a few attendees who loved the invitation idea. 

Next time you are planning an event, think about a theme that will excite your guests. Then plan accordingly. If you look around, there are a number of very creative invitation ideas that you can purchase from your promotional consultant that will add to the excitement of your next event.

Next Edition -Part Two: Creative Party Favors and Give-Aways


Working from Home

I have been spending a lot of time working this summer even though I decided to stay home with my three boys instead of putting them in summer camp. I haven’t been able to think straight this past week to write anything. I have been trying to train our crazy dog (golden retriever) that is three years old, not to bark when the doorbell rings and not to jump on people when they come in the door. Then, there are my three boys who all think, that when mom goes in to her home office to get some work done, it is time to have a party. I find myself coming out of the office at different times throughout the day to find that while I was buried deep in my computer, designing our new websites, and emailing my customers, that instead of three children in the house, I sometimes have up to seven or eight!

We instituted a “no technology Tuesday” in our house for the summer. Every summer on Tuesday’s my house if filled with the neighborhood children. They are all upstairs in the boy’s playroom. And guess what? They are actually playing. Not XBOX (remember it’s no technology Tuesday in my house) but real honest to goodness games of make believe. My boys are 11, 9 and 6, they and their friends end up playing pretend games about make believe towns where they have houses and families and they have to pay rent and taxes and tolls for their cars. It really is amazing to see this, since most days I don’t see much of them except over the top of a Nintendo DS or behind an XBOX controller. It’s strange to see the neighborhood kids here when they could be at someone else’s house having a technology day. However, I really think they like the forced day of no TV, and no video or computer games.

In between cropping photos for the web pages, updating our office procedure manual and researching new products for our websites, I have found a bit of time to catch up on my reading. I’ll sit out by the pool while the boys and their friends swim. This gives me a chance to read my industry magazines and occasionally get in a few pages of Fast Company or Entrepreneur Magazine too. I like multi-tasking.

My middle child came in to my office the other day and asked, “Mom, why are you working? Its summertime, don’t you get the summer off too?” No, my dear Nicholas, Mom’s don’t get summers off when they run their own company, even when they have staff in the office, but I am sure glad I can be home with you.