5 STEPS TO A WINNING HOLIDAY THEME
Planning a holiday theme for the White House was a long process. In fact, the staff at Rafanelli Events told me that the next year’s holiday theme planning was underway shortly after the Christmas 2015. Ideas are discussed and a preliminary plan is presented in hopes of the First Lady’s approval. So, how do you create a winning theme? (on a budget, and without a year’s worth of planning).
PREPLAN AND PURCHASE AHEAD
90% of all the White House decorations for the 2015 holiday were recycled from preview Christmas themes. Only 10% of the items used were new purchases. Let this be a lesson…. EVERYONE recycles!
MAKE IT THOUGHTFUL
First Lady Michelle Obama education initiative, called “Reach Higher” inspired her to include hand crafted snowflakes made by children from local school districts. Every state was represented by a snowflake and the children adorned the snowflakes with special handwritten notes. In addition, the ribbon around the Official White House tree was adorned with special messages of hope to US troops at home and abroad. After the holiday, the ribbon was cut and the messages of hope were mailed to these military families.
BE INCLUSIVE- Include the entire family, children, teens, and pets
Choose a theme that will be inclusive of various age groups. First Lady Michelle Obama, included the following groups in the preplanning of themes for the twelve rooms for the 2015 holiday season.
- She honored the country and the historic traditions of our nation. The official Christmas tree located in the Blue room was dedicated to the Nation’s service members, veterans, and their families. She paid homage to the these brave men and women with an interactive display in the Colonnade. Visitors could send messages of hope and love to troops via iPads.
- She remembered children, and included them in creating the snowflakes displayed in the entryway. She also decorated the Formal State Dining Room with children in mind, and selected a children’s choir to sing Christmas Carols throughout the holiday party.
- She included the family pets, Sunny and Bo, and commissioned a beautiful life size replica of her pets next to a tree, all decorated with tennis balls.
ADD AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
The reason people love gifts, is because of the element of surprise and delight when unwrapping. Try to find a “gift” that will surprise and delight the entire family. Perhaps it’s the appearance of a family member no one expects to see.
MAKE IT MEMORABLE -Fun and Interactive
Here are few ideas that really work. I have my favorites…Christmas Carol Karaoke, Gingerbread house decorating competition, and Christmas Bingo.
- Christmas Carol Karaoke
- Holiday Movie Marathon
- Cocktail Potluck (Eggnog, Spiked Cocoa, Cocktails)
- Gingerbread House Decorating Competition
- Christmas Cast-Off Gift Exchange
- Military and Patriotic for family service members
- Christmas Bingo & Board Games
- Building a Family Snowman