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Last Minute Holiday Open Houses  

Holiday Open Houses are a retail gift shop tradition, here’s how to make it easy!holiday open houses for gift shop retailersThanksgiving is over and the Christmas season has crept up, but you haven’t had a chance to plan your open house or sale! Don’t worry, we’ve got a step-by-step guide to get you through.

Pick a Date
The first thing you want to determine is the when. Will you have a one-day open house on a Sunday or will your event span a few days? As you choose your date and timeframe keep in mind the cost of serving refreshments and offering deals. Try to balance your timeframe with the traffic you’ll expect to receive.

Select a theme and offer
Now the fun part! Selecting the open house theme and offer. Below are three ideas to get you started.

White Christmas
Details: Take your inspiration of the Bing Crosby movie (in fact, play it on repeat during the open house).
Offer: All white ornaments, snowmen and anything dusted with sparkling snow should be on special.
Refreshment: Serve Red Wine and Petite Sandwiches ala that heartwarming “Count your Blessings Instead of Sheep” song between Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney

Christmastime Nostalgia
Details: Bring back that heartwarming feeling of a classic Christmas with traditional carols and other family tunes through this holiday open house. Consider hiring an old timey Santa to appear for a few hours.
Offer: Nostalgic items are on sale of course! Also consider bringing in some nostalgic candy like Candy Buttons, Necco Wafers and licorice sticks to sell at nostalgic prices.
Refreshment: Spiked hot coco with marshmallows, gingerbread cookies and popcorn balls

Contemporary Holiday
Details: This is a classy open house inspired by the clean lines and gold veneer of an urban gathering. Your guests will feel trendy when you play Contemporary Holiday music and showcase a display of Contemporary home and holiday items (wine glasses, candle holders and more!) near the front of your store.
Offer: Consider a buy one get one ½ off deal on select Contemporary Holiday items.
Refreshment: Serve Sauvignon Blanc and a cheese tray. Offer small wrapped chocolates, too.

**BONUS: Offer a free goodie bag or tote with any purchase!**

Tell people
Your biggest hurdle with your party is that it’s going to be next week. So get the word out FAST by calling in some favors. Call a few of your friends and ask them to come and bring their friends. Then personally invite your best customers (via, phone, email, Facebook private message, however you communicate with them). Put a small budget behind Facebook advertising ($50-100) to promote it. Boost your party post and use the Ads Manager app to create an easy ad to promote to shoppers in your area. Facebook Live is also a great tool to use (not just for parties, but every day as well!). Do a quick Live Video with the party details (possibly showing product that will be on sale), day of the party and during!

Get the goodies
Of course you may want to head to Costco to pick up the adult beverages you’ll serve. But our newest little shopping secret is Aldi. At Aldi you can find a surprising amount of good quality organic food items (cheese, meat, cookies, etc) for a surprisingly small amount of money. If you’ve got an Aldi near you try it first and don’t forget a quarter for your cart!

Host away
When your event comes around play up to the theme with your outfit and then try to relax and enjoy yourself. Make your customers feel welcome. The best thing you can do is ensure everyone who comes through your door is offered a drink and refreshments and then told about the amazing offer going on during your open house (and in that order!). When people are feeling comfortable and happy they will start shopping away and your last minute open house will be a last minute success!

Do you host a party or open house each year? How do you choose the theme and the dates? What’s the best way you’ve found to promote it? We’d love to hear about your success in the comments below!

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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