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How To Make Your Open House Memorable

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Former California store owner and popular seminar speaker Sue Kirby is a big believer in Christmas open houses. "A Christmas open house is a celebration and thank-you to customers that tells them you think they're great. It creates a buzz among your customers and helps set you up for the most important part of the selling year," she says. Read on, as Kirby offers suggestions for store and open house themes and refreshments to serve during the event.

One of the keys to an exciting and profitable Christmas season is establishing a holiday theme and being sure to use it during your store's open house, Kirby says. The theme could be a memorable phrase, a specific color palette, or even a cuddly animal such as a Christmas bear.

For 2007, Kirby suggests using sentiment-inspired buzz phrases like "Home for the Holidays," "Celebrate the Splendor of the Season" or "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." She notes, "These get customers thinking about traditions. They also tell them what to expect and how to feel when they come in your store."

Words such as "celebrate"' and "splendor" speak of abundance and sparkle, Kirby says. And glittering metallic items are hot fashion finds that will become more prominent in home decor in 2008. Taking their cue from this trend, Kirby says retailers could make metallics, glitter and silver part of their store and open house themes this Christmas.

Kirby suggests retailers borrow their Christmas colors from the fashion industry. In addition, wrapping paper companies that conduct extensive color and market research are excellent sources for finding unique holiday color combinations.

The time-honored combination of red and green is en vogue this year, Kirby notes. But this color mixture needs to be freshened up. Add metallic garland to trees, or bring shades of white, cranberry, forest green or lime green into that traditional color mix.

Refreshments are a "must" at Christmas open houses. However, Kirby says she's "very tired of wine and cheese. Plus, I wouldn't be anxious for people to leave my place smashed." Tea bars are a popular option for some stores, she adds. Kirby says she'd opt for the taste of tradition. "I'd go to your local bakers and have them make something familiar, or have friends make something traditional."

Kirby recommends warm cider served with truffles from Michele's Chocolate Truffles (800-656-7112,, and The McTavish Company's "Cinnamon Sticks" (800-256-9844,, go to "About Us" and select "traditional" link).

Kirby can be reached at (253) 719-8375.

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