The holiday season is here! And, with it, comes a time for celebrating with family, friends, and neighbors. If you want to bring your community together, some HOA holiday events should do the trick.
Celebrate the Season With These HOA Holiday Events
Wintertime boasts some of the longest and coldest nights. But, when you have company, they can also be some of the warmest and most enjoyable. This does not only apply to gatherings with family and friends. When you live in an HOA-run community, holiday events work just as well to bring strangers and neighbors together.
If you need some inspiration, here are some of the best homeowners association holiday events you should bring to your community:
1. Host a Holiday Dinner or Party
Holiday parties are an obvious choice for an HOA event this time of the year, but they remain popular for a reason. Hosting a holiday-themed party at your association’s clubhouse can do wonders for morale. Parties encourage mingling and socialization. Neighbors who previously didn’t know each other may find common interests. Before you know it, new friendships will blossom.
Of course, holiday parties cost money. Some associations include it in their annual budget since it has become such a normal fixture in their social calendar. For these communities, holiday parties are typically catered. If you are still testing the waters, consider sending out a feeler to gauge interest. Those who want to attend can pay for a ticket or make a contribution.
Alternatively, you can also adopt a potluck-style holiday dinner or party. Guests can bring their own food or something to share with everyone else. Alcohol can also be on a bring-your-own-beverage basis. The association can provide the venue, usually the clubhouse, at no extra cost or for a small fee split between participants.
2. Organize a Gift Exchange
One way to show some love between neighbors during the holiday season is to exchange gifts. In a community where people barely know each other, though, this can come as an awkward gesture.
Homeowners associations should step in and take the initiative to organize a White Elephant gift exchange. The event can take place at your clubhouse, and members who wish to join can do so freely. The beauty of a White Elephant setup is that you can do it with any number of participants without fear of leaving anyone out.
While you can organize this as a standalone event, a better idea would be to incorporate it into your holiday party plans. At one point during the night, you can start the White Elephant gift exchange and see everyone’s reactions when they open their surprise gift. Gift-giving is certainly one of the more unique HOA Christmas events you can hold.
3. Hold Holiday Decoration Contests
A decoration contest is one of the HOA holiday community activities you can organize that boosts camaraderie while showcasing the residents’ creativity at the same time. For a successful event, make sure to inform all residents of the contest early on. That way, they can have enough time to plan and execute their designs.
You may encounter some pushback from some members if you focus on Christmas-themed decorations. Instead of calling it a Christmas decoration contest, use the term “holiday.” In doing so, you’re not confining residents to a particular faith or religion.
If your HOA is tight on budget, a decoration contest is a way to go. Residents pay for their own decorations, and all you need to do is allot a few hundred dollars as the prize money.
4. Put Up a Holiday Carnival
One of the grander HOA holiday events you can plan is a holiday carnival. This will require your association to book vendors and concessionaires as well as a venue. If you have a large outdoor area or a spacious clubhouse, you can do it there.
When planning a holiday carnival, remember to do it ahead of time and advertise it properly. Food and beverage concessionaires will usually come to the event for free since it’s a chance for them to earn money.
As for entertainment, things like balloon houses, carnival games, and rides should make for good fun. Carnivals are particularly great if you have an HOA community where there are lots of families with kids.
5. Hold a Festive Cooking Contest
Who says HOA holiday events should be expensive? If a holiday party or carnival is too much for your budget to handle, go for a cooking contest.
Residents can enter the contest, bring their own ingredients, and cook their best holiday dishes. You will need judges (preferably ones with culinary experience) to crown the winners, too.
Cooking contests may be cheap, but they do take some effort to plan. Apart from enlisting contestants, you need a venue, furniture, and cooking equipment. There’s also the problem of cleanup after the event.
6. Arrange a Charity Drive
It’s no secret that people are at their most generous during the holiday season. Therefore, it’s the perfect time to organize a charity drive. Your association can collect canned goods, toys, and clothes to donate to a local charity.
You can also arrange a volunteer day where interested residents can collectively participate in volunteer activities such as serving in soup kitchens. Time and money are both valuable, so a donation of either will be greatly appreciated.
What to Consider in Your HOA Holiday Event Planning
You may be preoccupied with all the festivities and fun, so much so that you might forget a few key considerations. When planning your HOA holiday events, make sure to take the following into account:
As previously touched upon, there is always a risk of liability when planning holiday events. Even the simple act of calling them Christmas events could ruffle some feathers. Remember that your residents can have varying faiths and beliefs.
While some communities are totally fine with holiday events, others have encountered backlash. It’s a good idea to survey your residents to see if anyone has any objections to community holiday activities. Communities with residents who are against holiday events typically just skip them altogether. Instead, they focus on other social gatherings that can bring people together.
The COVID-19 vaccines have definitely calmed things down in some parts of the world, but not everything has returned to normal just yet. Homeowners associations should still honor the CDC guidelines for holiday celebrations as well as any state or local ordinances. This includes encouraging everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing.
If you live in an area with a high infection rate, it may be smarter to forgo holiday events this year.
Happy Holidays to All!
As you can see, there are many options for HOA holiday events you can choose from. Time and budget willing, you can even opt to hold them all. When planning holiday events, though, do so with care and consideration. That way, everyone can have a good time while staying safe.
Do you need an HOA management company to help you with holiday events? Cedar Management Group is your best bet. Call us today at (877) 252-3327 or contact us online to learn more about our services.
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