I am sure our kids were not thrilled when they heard that we would be hosting the school board and all the faculty from their school. I mean, what student wants their teachers checking out their room and seeing if they are actually studying? Wendy and I, on the other hand, were absolutely thrilled to be asked to host the party and give back a little bit to the teachers who have such a positive influence on our children. It really is an amazing and committed group of educators who care about their students. I know that you must have these talented folks in your school as well and we should all celebrate their amazing dedication and contribution in our educating our children.
We knew we wanted to change the party up a bit this year and add our own unique touches. I am confident this frightened the school administration and the board, but we convinced them to go along with us. It was a primary goal of ours to get as much of the faculty to attend as possible so we wanted to make the event fun and personal.
We started with party invitations. In addition to an email invitation which is simple and easy to do, we also created an inexpensive printed invitation that we sent to the home of the faculty so that we weren’t just making it a “get invited to the work party” kind of event. Next, we asked each board member to call at least five of their favorite teachers and to personally invite them to the party. As you know, the personal ask is always worth more than just the emailed invitation. And, just to make sure, Wendy roamed the hallways for several hours, sticking her head in classrooms and extending yet another personal invitation. There was no escaping this party!
Next, we got down to planning the event itself. Nailing the flow and traffic of a party or an event in your home is critical to make sure that things don’t get too bunched or too spread out. Shockingly, Wendy and I don’t always agree :-), and so we had a running two discussion over the location of the bar. Long story short, she was right and we went with her ideas and it worked splendidly. Just don’t tell her I admitted she was right!
We brainstormed lots of ideas and tossed many as inappropriate or impractical for a group of almost 200. Holiday Bingo—ie find out unique things about faculty members and every partier is given a bingo sheet and has to find the person that “likes Barry Manilow” or “swam the English channel as a teenager.” It’s a great icebreaker and the winner would receive a nice prize of some sort. We finally determined this was too executionally challenging for our limited time. We played with live music, but concluded it was unnecessary. So what did we do?
First, and most importantly another Wendy idea, we offered holiday stress massages for the neck and shoulder. We hired two massage experts in Santa hats who had people just sit in chairs and then give them a relxing neck and shoulder massage. This was an enormous hit with a constant line! Who doesn’t need some relief from the stress of the holidays?!! Next, we wanted to make sure they had some takeaway from the evening. So, we asked a friend who is a photographer to set up on the landing and take holiday pictures of each couple or set of friends and we then gave them one of our great looking Glitter Frames that we then put their picture in the frame and they were able to take it home as a holiday memento.
We also wanted to show off our great cookie tins so we had two designs of cookie tins produced and we gave everyone a sampling of our Brownstone cookies. We have been getting rave reviews from the faculty as they have been eating these as vacation time approaches. We also gave each partier a chocolate lollipop imprinted with a holiday saying and we did customized holiday napkins just to tie it all together.
We combined this with Wendy’s hit playlist of Xmas music— Xmas music plays in our house nonstop from the day after Thanksgiving to December 26th— and a pair caricaturists in basement doing fun caricatures of the faculty. We wanted the event to be unique, personal and memorable and show the faculty just how appreciated they really are. Based on the comments we received that night and are still receiving, we hit the mark! We used older high school students as our valet parkers and they did pretty well on their tips for the night! Our kids had to stand in and pass appetizers and they all rose to the occasion even though it was unpaid duty. :-)
As always, it’s about letting your personality shine through in your parties. It’s about providing surprises to the guests, trying the unusual and making it personal. (We won’t even talk about the Paste Your Face Elf the company did of Wendy and I!) It was a great night and we learned a lot about the impact our products have on making a special party even more special. If you need help our ideas for your special event, just let us know. We are ready to help!
Be well and have a great holiday!!!
All the best,