I was recently asked if it’s wise to entertain during a recession. “Won’t people find it cavalier to throw a holiday party during these economic times?” they asked. True, our economy is hungover from years of subprime mortgage indulgences, and it’s tough for a guy like me to respond objectively to a question like this. After all, my life is a party―I live it, breathe it, and have made it my livelihood to the tune of producing 2,500 events a year. Entertaining is how I thrive. It’s my passion and my bread and butter.
For the sake of objectivity, however, I have set all that aside. But even when I put my own bias on the back burner, I’m left with the same response―Should we entertain this holiday season even when the economy’s in the tank with no sign of a quick rebound? Yes, we should, and here’s why:
First of all, it’s vital to carry on holiday traditions. They define us, our life values―our priorities. When I was a kid in Texas, my Great-Grandmother Nanie Raynes used to invite the neighborhood kids over each holiday for an old-fashioned saltwater taffy pull. Nanie would prepare batches of the sweet gooey candy. Butterscotch was her favorite flavor. Once the taffy was cool enough to handle, we had a blast―quickly folding the taffy back and forth from one hand to the other, catching the center, and then pulling again. When the taffy was nice and hard we’d cut it into pieces and feast on its salty-sweet goodness. To me, these recollections are irreplaceable. I can’t imagine cutting back on memories like these just because the economy’s on shifty ground.
Another reason why we should entertain this holiday season is to actually help stimulate our sluggish economy. This will happen in two ways: First, purchasing the essential items to entertain―produce, fresh flowers, sundries―will give the economy a bump. Secondly, entertaining lifts the spirits and research shows that hopeful, happy people are more likely to spend money, once again, stimulating the economy. If we hold on to our purse strings and our paranoia too tightly our economy will never snap back.
Here are a few recession busting tips
1. Create a signature drink
. Instead of going to the expense of fully stocking your bar, choose some affordable white and red wines to have on hand. Consider creating a signature drink for the cocktail lovers in your group. Name the cocktail after your party’s or event’s guest of honor.
2. Instead of a fancy sit down dinner, why not serve some great appetizers and delicious hors d'œuvres?
A less formal gathering will encourage your guests to really relax and have fun. Some of the most memorable parties are fuss-free. At least once a year I have friends over for a low-key game night. One couple will bring the wine, one will bring the game, and one the dessert. This gives me a great excuse to pick up a wood-roasted pizza from Fritti or to try my own hand at pizza dough making.
3. Incorporate lots of candles to help set the mood
. Make sure they are unscented―too much candle aroma can easily overpower the room. Especially in a more intimate space.
4. If you’re short on décor items or party tunes, ask to borrow from a family member or friend
. Dishes, table linens, and CDs can get expensive and people are usually more than happy to loan items for a good cause.
5. Limit your guest list.
You don't need a hundred people to have a great party. Invite your closest friends for a small gathering. Besides, more intimate groups usually stimulate more meaningful conversation.
6. Create holiday ambiance with things you already in your home
. Instead of spending money on party items that will likely be discarded later, access the rich vault of your personal possessions. Light the fireplace, incorporate family heirlooms into the party décor, and create a colorful centerpiece by using bright orange tangerines, yellow lemons, and fallen acorns from the trees outside. Also, birch branches provide an elegant touch of winter. They are relatively inexpensive and can create a graceful, contemporary mood when arranged in a simple vase.
So, should we entertain this holiday season with a fickle Dow Jones? Yes, we should. In fact our economy and the longevity of our holiday customs depend upon it. Hopefully I’ve provided you with a few suggestions on how to keep the holiday spirit alive without breaking the bank.
Formed in 1997, A Legendary Event has grown into a multi-million dollar full-service event enterprise, handling more than 2,500 events a year. Known for his Midas touch, Tony Conway, President and Owner is admired by top CEOs, celebrities and politicians because of his attention to detail and penchant for providing fresh, trend-setting and uniquely presented fare, always with the client in mind. A Legendary Event is located in Atlanta and can be reached at (404) 869-8858. For more information, please visit www.alegendaryevent.com