Five “Must Haves” for Holiday Parties in Northwest Arkansas

Are you scheduling a holiday party in Northwest Arkansas and need some new ideas? Have your last few holiday parties been the same thing each year or, lacked the excitement or fun you would like?

If so, it’s time to try something new. Lucky for you, we have scoured some of the hottest sites and found five great ideas that bring together the best of Northwest Arkansas and help your company celebrate a great year.

1. Localization

If you haven’t already noticed, Northwest Arkansas has developed its own subculture in the south. It has its own flavor and flair filled with a small town vibe, Razorback football, art, local sourced food and, of course, close friends and family. Bringing out these elements at your holiday parties in Northwest Arkansas are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Here are some ideas on how:

Arkansas sourced food

(Wikipedia)

(Wikipedia)

Show your loyalty to our state and local growers by showcasing locally grown food at your holiday party. There are many farms that grow year-round in greenhouses and sell in markets like the Rogers Farmers Market or the Fayetteville Farmers Market, while many others are seasonal.

There are many local farms to source directly from. Here are a few:

Cobblestone Project 

Northwest Arkansas Local Harvest

Blacksheep Ranch

Sweden Creek Farms

Not a good cook? You can also have food catered from local restaurants that source food locally.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Tusk and Trotter

Pressroom

Greenhouse Grille

28 Springs

Need additional resources? Check out the Northwest Arkansas Food Guide for 2015-2016 or Ozark Slow Food society who’s mission is: To promote a sustainable farmer/consumer community and the celebration of healthy foods.

Let’s call those hogs

Localize your holiday party with Razorback dinnerware. (Plate by Fanatic)

Localize your holiday party with Razorback dinnerware. (Plate by Fanatic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas residents are very proud of their college football and that stands out in their clothes, home decor and car flags. Show your Razorback spirit should go beyond a bowl game party, after your favorite Thanksgiving meal or Christmas party. Bringing the football spirit to your holiday party is like tailgating early (and you don’t have to get in the cold to do it).

Check out one of our favorite sites, Pinterest,  to find great ideas like these cute little piggy rolls from Cafe Chocolada.

Picture from Cafe Chocolada.

Picture from Cafe Chocolada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinterest Razorback Party

A State of Mind

Another way to bring local to your party is to showcase your great state. Create this look by showcasing it in your table settings, invitations or decorations.

Get your party themed merchandise like:

Placemats that feature your home state

Natural table decor – Arkansas is “The Natural State” so, set your table with elements from nature

Customizable dessert toppers would be a hit showing your guests’ home states

Get creative with your ideas and anything is possible if you have time and a hot glue gun!

2. Party Theme

Ugly christmas sweaters are not the only theme for fun holiday parties this year. (flickr)

Ugly christmas sweaters are not the only theme for fun holiday parties this year. (flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selecting a great party theme is a great way to add another level of fun to a party and see the creativity of your team and how they participate.

There are many great themes that can be used year after year like ugly Christmas sweaters but, mixing it up can also be part of the fun, too. Select a great theme for your group by playing off of the things they know and love.

Favorite TV Shows of the team: Game of Thrones, America’s Got Talent, CSI and Walking Dead

Favorite Holiday Movies: The Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 5th Street, National Lampoon’s Christmas

Favorite Sports team: Don your favorite jersey or sports gear and see who’s team wins the majority at your party.

Favorite Christmas Song:  Dress up like a favorite song and have they other guests guess which song you are:

Jingle Bells – Add bells to your sweater, earings, bracelet and shoe strings

White Christmas – Wear all white to the party

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Wear a red nose and antler headband

Any of these themes can create a little bit of fun and competition amongst your group.

3. Photo Station

Photo booths are must have items at your next holiday party. (Flickr)

Photo booths are must have items at your next holiday party. (Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are all the rage at major events, weddings and now they are a “must have” at your holiday party. There are many different options to choose from in Northwest Arkansas and here are a few:

Say Cheez Photo Booth

Let’s Booth It

Little Photo Booth 

Make sure to ask them if they bring their own props or if you have to provide these. That may or may not be added to the regular cost of the rental.

Don’t have the cash but have a little time on your hands, you can make your own.

  • Have the team bring in their fun hats and things but make sure they label each one so they end up in the right home after the event
  • Visit your local Goodwill, Helping Hands or Potter’s house for other accessories.
  • Pin a white sheet to the wall and add stools for people to sit on
  • Get a tripod and borrow someone’s phone attachment to go on top

Viola, grab a friend from the crowd to take pics and either have everyone post them to the same hashtag or, text them around to the crowd. It’s easy and oh, so much fun!

4. Make-Your-Own Parting Gift

In this day and age, adult coloring books are all the rage and people are looking for outlets for their creative energy. This isn’t just for the girls but, men are getting into crafting as well. Incorporate this into your holiday party to not only have fun and let out a little creative energy but, it also provides your guests a great souvenier to remind them of your great party.

There are many easy to set up and inexpensive party crafts. Marie Claire magazine calls it a “Craftstravaganzaa” where you get your friends together and craft around the hearth.

Creating crafts can be fun for all.

Creating crafts can be fun for all.

You can find many ideas on Pinterest or Etsy. One of our favorites came from the website Bizbash which showed us a great idea by Seed Floral in West Hollywood, PA. They created a Wreath making station for a family friendly party. Just pull together a few tree cuttings or pre-made wreaths from Hobby Lobby or Michaels and have a handful of ornaments, ribbon or other natural items that bring the wreath to life. This is great craft for parties with adults and kids alike.

 

5. Link it to a Charity…or Two

A party is a great celebration for those in the room but what about for those that will not get a holiday party?

Philanthropic giving is a very important part of many people’s lives. It is a key element in many religious practices and for others, it is a much-needed tax break. Either way you look at it, even when times are tough and we dip into recession periods, people are still giving to those that may not have for themselves. And why? Because it makes people feel good.

Looking at this graph, you can see that giving in 2015 went up 4.1% from the previous year and is slowly begins to ramp up.

2015 Charitable giving numbers

2015 Charitable giving numbers

Incorporating giving into your party will not only provide a deeper meaning for your guests, it will make them feel good about attending, giving back and will create a higher engagement with your company.

There are many ways to incorporate this into your holiday party:

  • Have a nonprofit staff attend your party, set-up a booth and talk about their work
  • Have employees bring gifts, food or money to donate. You could do this as an “entry fee” or just for those that would like to participate
  • Your company could make a donation to a charity and allow your staff to choose which one you will support
  • Volunteer time with a particular organization assisting them with chores or support needed around the holidays

There are hundreds of charities in Northwest Arkansas so, choose the ones that best fit your business model or, best fit the hearts of your employees.

Incorporating these five “must have” items into your holiday party will not only create added excitement, it will also make your party the one to look forward to next year!

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