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Here Come the Holidays

By: MPI Toronto | Dec 12, 2018

Tree with Holiday LightsSandra Eagle 
Editor, Digital + Special Projects Ignite Magazine 
sandra@ignitemag.ca 


While some savvy planners may have their venues, menus and decor wrapped up by now, there’s still time to create a memorable holiday gathering that celebrates this special season. 

Changing times and demographics have elongated the holiday window. It’s always so busy in December that some companies decide to hold holiday festivities early in the new year when the bustle of the season is over.

The holiday season conjures up fond memories that are part of childhood. While many companies only hold adult parties, some still provide a kids’ party that the whole family can enjoy. Carolyn Luscombe, CSEM, CSEP, CMP, president and chief event architect of Eclectic Events, based in Toronto, says, “There are lots of changes in the nuclear family, it’s not just mom, dad and kids anymore; we need to think of families in a broad spectrum.”

Luscombe says most companies will either do a children’s or an adult party, but not both. “Companies are scaling back on adult parties, sometimes only having coworkers present, no partners.” But she adds, “When companies cut back, employee morale plummets. A party creates a feeling of goodwill and the understanding that you are appreciated and valued. The opportunity to spend a couple of hours with the people you work with builds an emotional human bond.”

A Little Something 
What’s a holiday season without gifts? Whether for clients, customers or staff, a little something is a great way to demonstrate how much people are appreciated. Joanna Wiseberg, principal at Red Scarf Gift Co., says tech always tops the gift wish list. “As more and more business is being conducted via mobile devices, any cool accessory that can be attached to a device and make business easier, faster and enjoyable will make you a hero this holiday season.”  

Identity theft is a huge issue and our information must be protected at all times. Wiseberg suggests RFID passport holders and wallets that prevent nasties form stealing information while you’re at the airport—maybe we should tell Santa about this too. 

Nostalgic Treats 
Holiday snacking requires a mix of nostalgic food favourites, with indulgence a given. Kyle McClure, executive chef at Vantage Venues in Toronto, and this year’s winner of the Canadian Copper Skillet competition, says the holidays are the perfect time to bring out rich comfort food, made decadent by a low and slow cooking process. “People are still amazingly traditional for the holidays; I like to gravitate towards classic bites and give them a modern twist, like brining turkey in craft beer.”

Another aspect of event dining in general is the ubiquity of Instagram and Pinterest. Michael Robertson, executive chef for Oliver & Bonacini venues and catering, based in Toronto, says “People are eating with their phone first, so food needs to be presented in a way that’s Instagram worthy.” Robertson will be incorporating spices and ingredients from the Middle East this year into some of his holiday menus this year. “Holidays are always on some level about comfort food, so we still bring out traditional foods, but I’ll add in flavour profiles such as pomegranates, tahini, exotic spices and chermoula into the mix.”
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