Monday, October 22, 2012

Ideas for Stress Reduced Holidays

Welcome to Planners' Pointers! 

"The Holidays Are Coming!  The Holidays are Coming!" is the thought among many of us starting in October.   From Halloween to New Years Eve, the time will fly by potentially causing a great deal of stress.  Here are  ideas to help you avoid the holiday stress.

  1. Holiday Cards.  Start working on the list Now!  If you are like me and like not only a great holiday message, but good art, boxed cards can get expensive. 
    1. One of my first stops is Tuesday Morning. I know that I will have to do some searching through the boxes, but I have been successful in finding exactly what I want . 
    2. Do you have a Hallmark Card Gold Rewards Card?  If you do, then head on over to your local Hallmark Store ( for their Buy One Get One boxed card sale.  Don't forget the wrapping paper!  It's on sale to!  
    3. Want to design a card yourself?  Add a picture?  Send cards  to your list without cramping your hand?   Send Out Cards  is  a wonderful website that allows you to both choose among their  thousands of cards or design your own by adding pictures, designs and your own words.  You can choose or design your own holiday card and send it to your card list in the same time as it takes to make a batch of cookies!  Becoming a card sender is easy and there are several levels of membership.  

  1. Decorations -- When the first flameless tea lights came out a few years ago I was not a fan, after all  they didn't even look like candles.  With  the introduction of wax flameless candles, I have changed my mind.  The flickering is more natural and they have timers that allow up to 5 or 6 hours of continuous flame.  I think they work well in center pieces or anywhere you want to set and forget.  Leave it to Energizer, the battery people,  to have a line of wax flameless candles that work really well.  Check it out at their website 

  1. Shopping.   For me shopping early helps me avoid the crowds.   According to the best time to get the lowest  prices on all your electronics is  from mid November till Black Friday.  Toy prices are better after December 1st, but you have to realize that what your children want may be out of stock by then.  The good news is that on-line prices for all goods will be the same as what is in the store.  A fact that wasn't true a couple of years ago.

  1. The Holiday Party.  The Holiday Party was hit by the recession recently, but is coming back.  It may not be as lavish as it once was but businesses have learned that parties have a positive effect on the company morale.
    1. Make it less about the booze.  Instead of an open bar use  drink tickets  and limit the number you give to everyone.  Purchasing your open bar by the drink instead of by the person is sometimes cheaper.  Having only beer and wine available is another way to control costs without eliminating alcohol all together.  Add a soft drink service for around $100.00.
    1. Add Activities   Give people something to do beside sit around.  Photo booths are hanging on but one of the hot trends is making  flipbooks.  How about having  indoor 9 hole mini golf and having an indoor golf tournament? 
    2. For the cost conscience out there have a holiday luncheon instead of a dinner.   Several restaurants are offering rewards if you book before October 31st. 

Happy Stress Free Holidays!

Planners Pointers is a blog and talk cast to help beginning event planners with their event planning share ideas on planning better events, books to read and websites to discover.

Planner's Pointers is written by  Mary Pam Kilgore, CMP,  of Kilgore Business Services.  You may reach me through my website or you may call me at 412-260-4178 You can find podcasts of Planner's Pointers at

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Goes Into A Meeting -- On Site Registration and Check In

Welcome to Planners' Pointers! 

One of the considerations in planning your event is at door registration and check in.

 At door registration is also called on site registration and is defined as the  process of signing up for an event on the day of, or at the site of, the event (Convention Industry Council).

Check in sort of defines itself as if you have pre-registered, giving your name to the registration people and picking up your materials, name badge.    

How do you plan for attendees registering at the door? The guideline is one person for 50 attendees at the busiest time. If you have done this event before, then  post event evaluations will tell you that long registration lines were a problem.  If you haven't done the event before, have more registration people available. Better you not need them then to have long lines of people waiting to check in or register.

How do you control the registration area?  The easiest way seem to be to have one area for those who have pre-registered and those who will do at door or on site registration.  Those who have pre-registered will probably spend less than half the time checking in as those who did pre-register so you will need fewer people to work in the pre-reg area.  Having several people working in the on site area to take registration information and money will decrease wait time.  Technology is making on-site registration more efficient and easier.  Cvent, among other on-line registration companies, has a program that says that all you need is a computer and you can set up a registration kiosk that will handle both those who have pre-registered and those who do on-site registration.  The program will even print name badges with bar codes.

 Making sure that registration is pleasant and quick will be the best first impression an attendee will have and may set the tone for the rest of the event.

Planners Pointers is a blog and talk cast to help beginning event planners with their event planning share ideas on planning better events, books to read and websites to discover. Planner's Pointers is written by  Mary Pam Kilgore, CMP,  of Kilgore Business Services.  You may reach me through my website  You can find podcasts of Planner's Pointers at