Tag Archives: christmas

Happy Hallothanksmus!

Santa's gloved hand placing a Santa Hat on a carved glowing happy Jack O' Lantern looking at the camera sitting on a bale of straw with dried corn stalks and a weather red barn wall in the background at night under a blue moon light.By Rita Pagan, DES

Labor Day is over, school supplies are gone, and stores have officially overloaded on Halloween decorations. Some even have Christmas items on their shelves!

How early is too early to decorate and look sane? Asking for a friend.

An unwritten rule tells us we’re “not supposed” to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. In fact, a 2015 poll found that more than 86 percent of people said that the entire month of November was too early to put up decorations. But is it? Really?

In a world full of stress and anxiety, I say it’s never too early. Self-care is important and if making your house look like the Griswolds’ in October makes you happy, you do you! Recent research has shown that people who decorate earlier are simply tapping into the excitement of the holidays before the rest of us–which makes them happier.

So, if your post-Halloween plans include putting up your Christmas tree, I won’t judge you. In fact, there’s a good chance I’ll be right behind you! I’ll be breaking out my Halloween decorations this week–’cause why not! Time seems to be moving too quickly these days so why not enjoy the spirit of any holiday a little longer?

Have a great Hallothanksmus!

Rita Pagan, DES, is IPMI’s director of events and exhibits.


young hospital cleaner cleaning on the wardBy Roamy R. Valera, CAPP

I recently had a medical procedure that required an overnight stay at the hospital. I was clearly not planning this event, but it is 2020! I am well and feeling great and of course grateful for a team of doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals who took great care of me.

I share this recent event because of a profound interaction I had with a 70-year-old hospital housekeeper in my room as I was getting ready to be released and the nurse was giving what seemed to be a book of instructions to follow. Her soft tone of voice coupled with a deep and honest concern for my health gave me pause. As she witnessed me getting ready and somewhat occupied, she reached out and asked me about my family. “How are they? How old are the kids? Do you miss them?” She proceeded to sit on the chair in the room with the purpose of making me feel at ease and let me know that everything was going to be alright. She used her wise life experience to center me on what matters most.

“Family,” she said, “is your most important asset. Cherish it and foster it every day of your life.” Here I am in the middle of a pandemic, after a medical procedure, after seeing and talking to doctors and nurses, and it is the housekeeper who provides me with the best medicine and remedy. This 70-year-old housekeeper had the most profound message and lesson for me. I am also reminded how critical the most front line of the organization can be for the success of the overall experience.

“Family is the most important asset.” And as we close out this very challenging year, I am grateful for my family. May this Christmas and holiday season allow you to be closer to your family.

Roamy R. Valera, CAPP, is CEO, North America, with PayByPhone.

The Abundance We Share

many hands in the shape of a heartBy Kim E. Jackson, CAPP

‘Tis the season–unfortunately, everyone might not be feeling so jolly right now. Many of us just experienced a Thanksgiving holiday that did not include our normal large family and friends gathering, and we now face the challenge of modest end-of-year holiday celebrations.

Instead of looking inward at this time, I challenge us all to spread some holiday cheer of our own by giving back! Regardless of it’s for family members, community members, or colleagues in need, many of us can do something for others, big or small. I just read a social media post from a friend that made me think about what I can and should do for others. The post read:

“We are now a solid eight months into the pandemic and if you are not working/not getting a paycheck/struggling to make ends meet and run out of food or necessities, please don’t let yourself or your kids or your pets go to sleep with an empty stomach. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I am more than happy to help. I will drop and go or order for delivery. No one has to know and I will pretend it never happened. What’s understood never has to be explained.”


What’s understood is we are all blessed with an abundance to share: time, money, food, toys for kids, clothing, etc. Simply ask yourself, how do I want to end this year? Was I able to give back to those less fortunate?

Let’s all do a something GREAT and ring in 2021 with a renewed spirit!

Kim E. Jackson, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation at Princeton University.

My Five Principles for Surviving the Holidays

dog wearing reindeer antlersBy Scott C. Bauman, CAPP

As the year end approaches and the holidays are in full swing, I am reminded of a few important principles that have helped me survive this crazy time of year.

  1. Don’t forget to celebrate family. Spend quality time with your family. Loving families keep you grounded and provide an important support structure, so don’t forget to celebrate them. Spending quality time with family during the holidays is priceless, so don’t waste precious family time–celebrate it!
  2. You don’t always need to buy stuff or spend money to be merry. Marketing firms and the media force-feed the hype that you must buy stuff to celebrate the holidays. The constant sales pitches and the forced sense of urgency to buy are powerful and unending. This can cause financial and emotional stress that can ruin the holiday spirit. While giving and receiving stuff is nice, just remember it’s not a prerequisite in celebrating the holidays.
  3. Don’t let politics divide. Holidays bring extended family together and can open political debate, seemingly more so in recent years. If there are heated political differences within your orbit, don’t waste quality holiday time and energy debating it; life is just too short. Besides, see principle No. 1 for what you really should be doing instead.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. As they say, it’s all small stuff! Keeping a balanced perspective on the values you hold tight all year can greatly reduce holiday stress and anxiety. Focus on the big picture and only on positive things within your control.
  5. Civility is important. Treat everyone with respect, no matter the emotional conditions or circumstances. During the holidays, it’s infinitely more important to be tolerant of others. Fighting over a parking stall, for example, is just not worth it. Treat others how you want to be treated and you won’t ever go wrong.

If you find yourself in a position where you’re stressed out or feeling overwhelmed about the holidays, just remember to apply the above basic principles to help you survive. They work for me.

Scott C. Bauman, CAPP, is manager of parking and mobility services for the City of Aurora, Colo.

This Holiday Season, Spread Some Parking Cheer

By Matt Davis

The season of giving is almost upon us. Once the turkey coma subsides, millions of shoppers will descend upon downtowns and retail centers to do their holiday shopping. During this time when parking demand is at its peak, it’s easy to lose sight of what makes the holidays special. Instead of holiday cheer, we often spread raised tempers and negative attitudes–all over the pursuit of a parking space.

We can always take steps to minimize the pain and increase safety during these chaotic parking times, such as staying off our phones, driving slowly and vigilantly, and even choosing destinations that use parking guidance systems or allow reservation of a parking spot with a smartphone app. However it’s inevitable that at some point during the holiday shopping frenzy, we’ll find ourselves in a parking scenario that tests our patience.

Imagine if instead of making an aggressive dive for that elusive space, we instead gestured for another person to take it instead? Sure, this small kindness might create some inconvenience for you, but think about the difference you might have made for the person taking the space. Instead of entering the mall frustrated and angry, they’ll get out of their car having just received an unexpected gift from a stranger. Maybe that person will even pay that kindness forward to someone else.

As parking professionals, we know better than anyone how much parking can color a person’s experience at a destination. This holiday season, take the opportunity to help make that experience a positive one.

Matt Davis is associate principal with Watry Design, Inc.