Poor Thanksgiving. It seems that as soon as Halloween ends, I start to hear Christmas music in the stores. I saw my first Christmas commercial over the weekend; the DROID one with the snowman. As much as we'd like to wait to start our holiday planning until after Thanksgiving, we just can't. The time to start coming up with ideas and strategies for your holiday community events is now. I am hoping that this blog post can turn into a collaboration... I will throw some ideas at you but I would really love to hear what you have tried, done, thought of, etc. Here are my low to no cost ways to celebrate the holidays at your community:
Dear Santa Letters Setup a post office box, drop a post on your Facebook page (or newsletter) and get parents to have their kids write to Santa. They can send it to your newly established post office box. Then just before or after Christmas post all the letters in a newsletter or some other media. Here's a twist: Hire a Santa to give replies (hopefully with a lot less innuendo as the Old Spice guy) and post them to your YouTube page.
Visit from Santa Get Santa to stop by your community and hand out Candy Canes and/or other treats. Often times you can talk to your local fire department and see if they can drive through your community. Some fire departments will use the firetruck to tow a sleigh. Awesome to watch the look on the children's faces. Here's a twist: Have Santa come to your leasing office for a day. Fun for everyone.
Christmas card contest Get your residents to send in their Christmas cards. (Normally these are those family photos) Judge the best one and put it up on Facebook, newsletter, or your front window. Here's a twist: Create leasing office cards and mail them to every resident.
Decoration contest This idea will be touchy for some communities. Some people have lease restrictions so create this contest in compliance with your rules. Maybe you can restrict it to their windows or their balcony. This is another way to get the community talking. Here's a twist: Don't forget to decorate your leasing office... over the top works best
Movie Night If you are a community that frequently has movie nights then pop in your favorite Christmas movies and bring your residents in. If you can't then buy a whole pile of your favorites and allow your residents to "rent" them for free during the holidays. Don't forget to stock up on Christmas Vacation ... one of the all time favs. Here's a twist: Have a contest to name famous quotes from Christmas movies. "You'll shoot your eye out kid."
I hope I've gotten your creative juices flowing. Do you have some ideas to share? Come Tweet them on #mfholidayideas or join the new group on Multifamily Insiders!
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Thanks to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Wikipedia for the pictures.