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This month I’m going to talk to you about something that is, on paper, a joyous and wonderful event but which, in reality, fills most people with foreboding and panic.
Christmas. There. I’ve said it. Do you realise that with the longest day having recently passed, the nights are now going to get steadily darker until the 21 December? The big day is a Tuesday this year which means that by the time we reach the shortest day the Christmas party season 2007 will be over and done with for another year.
I’m sure there will be many of you wondering what the heck I’m doing talking about the festive season before most of us have even had our summer holidays. As I write the sun is streaming through my window and I’m beginning to look forward to close of play when I can repair to a local hostelry and enjoy a couple of cold ones at the end of a busy week. Thoughts of dark nights and rushing to buy presents for friends and family are definitely on hold for a few more months. To be fair, being a typical man, these thoughts don’t usually kick in until around 4.30pm on Christmas Eve when I have to go round the corner to the garage to see what’s left that people might like.
A couple of years ago I was in Huddersfield in a large supermarket. It was mid September and a couple of the staff were busy stacking a row of shelves with selection boxes, decorations and gift ideas. “Merry Christmas,” I said to one of them whose bewildered stare seemed to share my amazement that this was happening so soon after the schools had gone back.
Worse still, ten years ago I was in one of Glasgow’s top hotels with my mother and one of her friends. We were going in for lunch and were astonished to find, at the entrance to the restaurant, a Christmas tree fully decorated complete with presents underneath.
“You are joking of course,” said my mum’s pal to the beaming maitre d’.
“Indeed not, madame,” came the reply. “In fact we’re already completely booked for the week leading up to Christmas and there aren’t that many places left for the rest of December.”
The point of this festive reverie, as if we didn’t know it, is that if you are planning a Christmas party for your firm or a special event for friends and family, you need to be thinking about it right now, especially if you want a reasonable choice of the top places.
Indeed, many places are already unavailable. A couple of years ago I spoke to the boss of one of the Thames cruise companies who told me that the prime dates are usually booked up as early as the previous February.
OK, let’s not get too panicky. Even at the eleventh hour you will find somewhere. As late as early December there are always venues with available space. However, so much of event planning is about time and it surely makes sense to give yourself as much lead-in as possible.
As a subscriber to venues.org you are in the fortunate position of having access to a resource that contains hundreds of venues that would be ideal for your Christmas event. All over the UK, traditional or modern, hotel or purpose-built you will find something to suit.
Could I be the first person this year to wish you Merry Christmas?