Tag Archives: holidays

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.

‘Tis the Season–to be Cozy

By Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP

Here on the east coast we are on the heels of our first major wintery storm. My friend in upstate New York’s car was buried under nearly a foot of snow. At my house in Virginia, we suffered downed trees and lost power due to a thick coating of ice. All of this and attempting to navigate the holiday season while we’re still in the throes of the pandemic.

It’s disconcerting to know  we may not all be able to be with loved ones for the holidays– especially if they are in senior homes, confined in hospitals, etc. And it’s equally disconcerting to know that some will surely gather, disregarding any official regulations or safety measures. A quandary!

Some holiday traditions have had to go by the wayside this year. I know of Christmas parades that have been done in reverse or were canceled altogether. The ICE! events at the Gaylord Hotels have been postponed until 2021. Office holiday parties are not happening with everyone working remotely.

My plan is to be with just my closest family, in my home, in the safest way possible. And while we may already have cabin fever and/or are longing for travel, we can cling to traditions and memories of holidays past and enjoy the simple pleasures. One thing I like to do to make the house feel warm and inviting and cozy, is make it smell good. I fill a small saucepan with water and then add several cinnamon sticks, slices from two clementines, a pinch of ground cloves, and a dash of vanilla extract. I simmer that on the stove, and it smells amazing. Try it!

Wishing all of you the safest and happiest holiday season possible!

Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP, is IPMI’s director of meetings and membership.

Parking Meters on Parade a Highlight in North Carolina Beach Town

Photo: Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation/Facebook

When a global pandemic works its Grinchiness all over traditional holiday activities, it’s time to get creative. And that’s exactly what the town of Carolina Beach, N.C., did when it dreamed up Parking Meters on Parade, which encouraged residents to transform the town’s parking meters into celebrations of the December holidays.

Families and groups decorated 19 parking meters, including the one pictured here, transformed into the “Christmas Story” leg lamp by Lat 34 Engineering, LLC.  When the decorating was finished, residents and visitors were encouraged to visit the meters for photos and socially distanced holiday merriment.

We, of course, think this is the perfect holiday fun in a year that’s pretty weird about such things. Cheers to you, Carolina Beach! To read more and see more photos, click here.


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.

Cookies and Radishes

By Matt Penney, CAPP

There was an interesting social experiment several years ago. Participants were placed in a room with a bowl of radishes and a bowl of freshly baked cookies. One group was told to enjoy all the cookies they wanted. The second group was told to eat the radishes (only) and ignore the cookies.

The cookie eaters were in heaven. The radish eaters were in agony. They were miserable forcing themselves to ignore the warm cookies. One picked up the cookies and smelled them longingly. Another picked up a cookie, then put it down and licked the chocolate off his fingers.

After five minutes, the participants were given a puzzle game. While they were led to believe this would be simple, the task was actually impossible to complete. The cookie eaters were relaxed and calmly started into the task. With each failed attempt, they simply started another strategy. On average the cookie eaters worked for 19 minutes on the puzzle.

The radish eaters grumbled and muttered as they pouted through their efforts. Some snapped at the researchers. Another simply put his head down on the desk, “I’m sick of this dumb experiment.” On average, the radish eaters worked on the puzzle for only eight minutes (60 percent less time than the cookie group).

The purpose of the experiment was to demonstrate that willpower (self-discipline) is a finite resource. Ignoring cookies was hard and required/drained reserves of willpower. The use of that mental energy meant that there was less available for the puzzle task.

2020 has been a year of radishes—for us, for our customers, for the parking industry. With all that has been going on, it is only natural that frustration seems to build up faster. The good news is that while willpower is finite, like other muscles in the body, it can be strengthened.

This holiday season, may your plate be filled with all the cookies of life that recharge the soul.

Matt Penney, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation services at Baylor University and an IPMI trainer.

Working the Holidays

Woman working by Christmas decorationsBy Jennifer Carroll, CAPP

How do you spend your holidays–the same way your team does?

The  holidays are usually very busy or very slow for many of us. In my part of the parking world, most locations are 24/7/365. Sure, we inform all perspective employees that we are open holidays, but when it comes right down to it, working on holidays is not that fun even if you are lucky enough to get paid time and a half.

It could be a big morale booster if they saw “the boss” working on those holidays, too. I am not saying go work a double on Christmas, but maybe do a quick drive-by to cover a lunch break on Christmas Eve, maybe have a team lunch delivered on a holiday, or even cover a shift on Thanksgiving. There were a few big holidays I spent directing traffic, collecting money, or driving shuttle buses in rainy weather in the muddy overflow lot when all other lots were full.

I assure you that all of these will make an impact on your team members, probably more than you can imagine, and it could cost nothing but a bit of your time. I know I would love it if my boss did it. How about you?

Jennifer Carroll, CAPP, is regional director with REEF Parking.

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.