A great mobile home park owner doesn’t take the holiday season as an excuse to kick back and relax. If you really want to add extra value to your park, consider celebrating the holidays with your residents in fun and creative ways. Approach this task like an office manager would, with your end goal being to create camaraderie among residents and a sense of mutual respect for one another. There’s really no limit to the number of ideas you can come up with. If you need some help getting creative, take a look below for some our favorite ideas to celebrate Christmas with the neighbors.
Home decorating contest
Conducting a home decorating contest is a great way to get your residents interacting with one another while also upping the exterior appeal of your park. To make this a success, encourage residents to go beyond just hanging lights on their home. Suggest that they also incorporate other decorations like an inflatable Santa Claus, plastic reindeer, candy canes or ceramic elves. If the weather permits it, they could even compete for the best snowman or other creative constructions.
Make sure you offer up some sort of incentive for decorating other than bragging rights. Come up with a gift that you know every resident could put to use. This could be a gift card to a nice restaurant or vouchers to your local movie theater. Remember that the gift should be worth the amount of time and effort they spend decorating the home – think half-off rent or free snow-shoveling services, for example.
“White Elephant” gift exchange
We all know that feeling of hosting or attending a party full of dead air and uncomfortable small talk. Just thinking about it makes you squirm! This is why so many offices opt to host a White Elephant exchange during their holiday celebrations as it gives partygoers an excuse to interact with one another. Even the people who don’t enjoy it will bond over their shared dislike for the game!
If you’ve never played before, White Elephant is a game where participants give and receive gifts anonymously. Those gifts can be traded or stolen up to a certain number of times depending on your rules. You can find a complete guide to playing the game here. We strongly recommend you set a dollar limit on the gifts. One person receiving a $50 pair of mittens while another opens a box of crayons will only create tension. We think a $10 limit will suffice in this situation.
This project can be budget-friendly depending on who’s singing the carols. Local non-profits may carol for free with a suggested donation to their cause. You can notify residents in case they’d like to donate as well. On the other hand, expect to cough up several hundred dollars if you want to hire professionals, plus additional fees if they happen to go over the time you initially agreed on. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, consider assembling your own caroler team with the park residents. We suggest sending out an email to the residents gauging their interest in caroling – you’ll never know until you ask!
Santa Claus photo-op
It’s a parent’s nightmare to spend money at the mall just to have their kid cry on Santa’s lap, which is why they’ll surely appreciate you paying for a Santa who is just steps away from their front door. Even if your residents never planned to take pictures with Santa in the first place, we think they will be grateful for the thought you put into this.
Professional Santas are notoriously expensive around the holidays. If you’re looking for ways to cut down on costs, consider dressing up as Santa yourself or delegating this role to another staff member. You shouldn’t need to hire a professional photographer as smartphones can easily do the trick. Don’t skimp out on the cost of the costume, though. Children may believe in Santa Claus, but they aren’t gullible enough to sit on a guy who’s wearing a red bathrobe and a cotton ball beard.
If none of the above suggestions struck a chord with you, try thinking outside the park. Just because you’re organizing a mobile home park party doesn’t mean it needs to be inside your manager’s office. Consider renting out several bowling lanes for the residents or even taking a trip to a local “Escape Room.” Choose an activity that best reflects the interests of your community. For example, a park that has a lot of parents with small children won’t be excited about going to a nearby pub for drinks. It might be worth setting up a Facebook poll with a variety of options your residents can vote on.
Time to get planning!
Being a good park owner isn’t just about fulfilling your responsibilities. It’s about taking care of your tenants. Putting down a couple hundred dollars to celebrate the holidays will ultimately be worth the respect and gratitude you receive from the residents in the end. Don’t just stop at our recommendations, though. You can get as creative and wild as you want to. We know your celebration will be a smash hit as long as you put your residents wants and needs first!