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By the time you read this the festive season will be upon us and we’ll all be looking forward to a few days unashamed feasting before returning to the desks in 2007.
Over the last few months we have been flagging up "Christmas party venues":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/christmas_parties_venues.asp and it’s funny to think that, give or take the odd one or two that are taking place this week, most office parties will now be over for another year and the task of putting the whole thing together is also something that won’t be worried about until next August.
In the meantime there is the small matter of our own personal festivities. The days leading up to the 25th are always a hectic whirl of planning, list making and organisation with panic and stress levels usually reaching fever pitch around lunchtime on Christmas Eve when you realise that the tree has still to be decorated, you haven’t got nearly enough brussels sprouts, the shops are completely out of cranberry sauce and that Auntie Maggie this year decided she was only going to eat macrobiotic food.
Despite the chaos it all usually ends up going swimmingly. After all, you have spent weeks making lists and ticking off various boxes as various build-up activities were covered. Presents bought, cards and stamps bought, cards sent, party invitations answered, butcher’s order made, shopping list prepared, beds made, the list can appear endless.
And yet, as I say, it is usually alright in the end. This is simply because you have taken time and care to ensure that it all goes well. Christmas exerts such a mystical hold on us that we all seem to go the extra mile to ensure its success, certainly we go to much greater levels of organisation than we would for the average Sunday lunch.
It is totally understandable that we should want to make the big day as perfect as possible. It does however, betray an interesting human trait and that is the amount we put into our personal, compared to our professional, lives.
If you are a keen stamp collector you will probably think nothing of driving to exhibition venues up and down the country in order to indulge your pastime. Soccer, rugby and cricket fans spend a huge amount of time and money following their teams while keen theatregoers have often booked seats months in advance.
We don’t devote anything like that kind of time or stress to our work. While you will drive up and down the country for a stamp exhibition it is unlikely that you’ll go to a job-related one that’s taking place just up the road and while you may book a night at the theatre months in advance you’ll only decide to go to a work related seminar or conference a couple of days before and only if you think you’ve got the time.
This is a sad state of affairs for those in the events industry who are fighting to increase awareness in ‘the awesome power of live events’. As many of our contributors often say, ‘give us time’. This is not because they want the ease of leisurely putting together your event with weeks to spare rather than at the last minute, it’s actually because if you give them the time they can really help you build your events and turn them into something extra special. The venues.org website contains thousands of venues that are absolutely crammed with people who are keen to help you, so why not give them the time to do it? Don’t leave things until the very last minute.
I mentioned earlier that the "Christmas party":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/christmas_parties_venues.asp season is over until next August. Well, strange but true, a large number of premium venues are often booked as early as the previous February. This has two implications. Firstly, by the time you get round to thinking about your "party":http://www.venues.org.uk/christmas-party-ideas.asp a good number of first choice venues will already be long-booked. Secondly, those early bird organisers have given themselves so much time in which to create a truly remarkable and memorable event rather than the ‘same old, same old’ that all too many experience.
Why not try applying some of the painstaking organisation that you lavish on your family and friends to your running of, and attendance at, live events in 2007? You may find that Christmas comes more than once a year.