Then and Now

How to Create this Magical Mix

The holidays are a busy time of year for event planners. From parties to Thanksgiving feasts, and of course, the big corporate holiday parties in December, there is plenty to do to get ready for the seasonal festivities. One way to keep your events fresh and meaningful is to consider a then-and-now approach. This time of year is special because nostalgia fills the air. As an event planner, you can keep the hustle-and-bustle stress far away from your event by using nostalgia as a way to add wonder and magic back into the season for attendees. We all have moments of magic in our lives to draw from. Someone or something, somewhere, at some point, generously impacted our lives. When we embrace these memories, we pull our pasts, presents, and futures together adding extra doses of meaning to our lives. As an event planner, you have the opportunity to help your attendees embrace the past in ways that make the most out of the season in one, single event. Here’s how: 


Consider some out-of-the-box food themes that will add a dash of then to the now of your event. Try themes such as Cookies and Milk for Santa, Momma’s Hot Cocoa bar, or Bonfire Snacks complete with roasted hot dogs, marshmallows, and popcorn. Add a dash of now by asking your caterer to put a creative, gourmet spin on foods and cocktails that carry nostalgic feels.   


Some believe if snow is in the forecast that we should all stay inside. But snow is magical! What if you did something different? What if you put up some heat lamps, provided fluffy blankets, and added a sleigh ride to your list of activities? Maybe this sounds farfetched and it would certainly require some extra planning, but getting your attendees comfortably out into the wonder of sparkling snow would be a nostalgic showstopper! Here’s the point: use the weather to your advantage and don’t let a little accumulation stop any fun.  


We all have a favorite childhood board game or two. This just in…vintage games are back! Use these as centerpieces and encourage your attendees to play. Or gather your guests for a good, old-fashioned game of charades. A well-timed game or activity can be a wonderful way to spark gatherings to life. Especially, if you add some favorite childhood games to the mix. 

Encourage a little Creativity

Arts and crafts get a bad rap at parties. Don’t let that stop you from adding a thoughtfully designed moment of creativity to your event. The quickest way to awaken the inner child is through hands-on art. Not to mention, artistic activities are a great way to generate some team bonding. Try trendy, stylish art forms that your attendees will love taking home – glass etching, customized soaps, terrariums, handmade beard oils, and sugar scrubs just to name a few!  

In the end, all that matters is that people feel honored and moved by these events. Every intentional act on your part adds to the deepening of team bonds, shared meaning, and laughter, just like when we were kids. The reckless fun, the small artistic moments, the meaningful details, and the simple act of trying something just a little bit out-of-the-box, it all gifts your gatherings with the closeness of freedom, like the days of our youth. So, this holiday season, add a little then to the now and watch the magic unfold.