2016 Holiday Planning: Key Dates to Work With & Around

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When the temperatures start to drop and leaves fall, a planners mind turns to – Oh, no – the holidays – and the flat-out race to the end of the year. The toughest part about the season? Getting the venue you want on the day you want it. As with any type of booking, flexibility is key – as is the ability to sign on the dotted line quickly. Be it a celebratory business dinner, a company-wide holiday party or small office cocktail gathering, the time to nail ‘em down is now. So which dates are optimal and which are off the table through the end of the year? Here’s our ‘silly season’ cheat sheet to help you pick a winner:

1) PRE-THANKSGIVING EXODUS
November 22 to 27
The official kick-off to the holiday season, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that virtually everyone celebrates and travels somewhere to do so. With all that travel comes the combining of personal vacation days with corporate days off, turning the Thanksgiving holiday into an impressive 5 or even 6-day weekend. Those who can start tiptoeing out of town as early as Tuesday, November 22. The next wave takes advantage of the half-day Wednesday, November 23 – and by about 1 pm, there’s tumbleweed rolling down the halls. So what’s the last possible day to book an event before the Thanksgiving exodus? Call it Wednesday, November 16. After that, the month is toast.

2) THANKSGIVING DAY
Thursday, November 24
The only event to book today is one involving family, friends and a turkey.

3) HOLIDAY PARTY SEASON
Monday, November 28 – December 15
The post-Thanksgiving return to the office often comes as a bit of a shock to guests and planners alike when all of a sudden we realize there are only 3 weeks worth of possible party dates left for the year. With Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday largely reserved for friends and family gatherings, planners are left with Monday thru Thursday options – a total of 12 possible dates – that end promptly on December 15. So what are the dates you have to work with? Try November 28, 29, 30; December 1, 4,6,7,8, 12,13, 14, 15. Can you say ‘tiny planning window?’

4) HOLIDAY DEAD ZONE
Monday, December 19 – Monday, January 9
From the 19th on, it’s the planning equivalent of a no-fly zone. While you would certainly have your pick of available venues, your potential guests are either away for the holidays, busy with last minute holiday shopping or out for the count with colds and flu, so no sense trying to plan anything much before the second week in 2017. By then, everyone will be back in town and ready to focus on the New Year.

5) BEST BOOKING WINDOW 2017
Tuesday, August 1 through the Fall
The early bird catches the worm – and the best venues, so the sooner you start booking those 2017 holiday events, the better. August may seem early but it’s a great time of year to start looking around because the slower summertime pace can make it easier to connect with venues before everyone returns after Labor Day. And just what does the holiday schedule look like for next year? Check out this list of holidays for 2017 and start planning!

Photo credits: Shutterstock.com

Kate Doyle Hooper

Kate Doyle Hooper

Since establishing her own company over a decade ago, Kate has produced just about every kind of event imaginable, from executive meetings and conferences to live music performances, mobile tours, fashion shows, celebrity gifting suites, and retail events for companies such as American Media, Bloomingdale’s, Conde Nast, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR, Hearst, Macy’s, Perry Ellis, Time Inc., Wilhelmina Models and Rodale, to name a few. Kate's editorial and advertising work has been published in Budget Living, ELLE, Fit, Civilization, Conde Nast Traveler, Esquire, Essence, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Men's Fitness, Men's Health and Shape, as well as on blog.cvent.com and weekendwalk.com.

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