The business world is swiftly going digital and the legal profession is no exception.
Many attorneys have found that the brick and mortar approach no longer meets the needs of their practice. Between client meetings, peer presentations, and family, they start to wonder if the juggling act can continue or if they’re going to eventually drop the ball. However, with the evolution of business and technology, they’ve found a solution that’s simpler than you may think—going digital with a virtual practice.
Digital solutions are becoming increasingly more common amongst attorneys and when you combine this kind of innovation with a complete virtual office solution, the possibilities are nearly endless. In fact, two local lawyers have found that by embracing technological solutions, they can have their cake and eat it too.
Maximized earnings and minimized overhead are two main benefits pushing this shift toward technical solutions with a shared space provider. Along with balancing convenience and staying relevant with high tech solutions, it’s a more efficient and greener way to run your company. Many customers prefer this convenience and innovation over traditional ways of doing business. This is especially true for millennials. They are more likely to choose an attorney who’s green and savvy enough to share space.
Shared Space solves several issues by removing the burden of excessive overhead and it provides networking opportunities with other professionals in the space. Getting a virtual assistant also allows legal professionals to receive the same level of service as with an in-office employee without the associated cost or the dreaded routine of hiring, training, and replacing staff.
The icing on the cake is that attorneys who choose these time, cost and sanity-saving virtual office options now have time to build their client base through marketing.
Want to explore the possibilities? Click here to rock your business world.
Posted in Administrative Assistant, After Hours, Baltimore, Big Business, Business, Business Address, Business Plan, Capital, Conference Room, Executive Assistant, Financing
I would be lying if I said I was fully prepared for what I was getting myself into. Jumping, or should I say being rolled out of a plane at 15,000 ft., above a lake the size of Singapore, was one of the scariest and most amazing experiences of my life. Although not exactly akin to running a business, there were some lessons I learned which can be appreciated by daredevils and business owners alike.
The jump came with sudden moments of confusion and clarity. My nerves kicked in as our plane climbed to full height. While I have never had a fear of flying, this was something different. Hongo, the Hungarian dive instructor strapped to my back, assured me all of the way to the top that he had done this hundreds of times. His mantra was, “It will be great!”
I realized that all of the research and planning in the world would not prepare me for what lay ahead. As in business, you will find unexpected challenges. Face them as they arrive and adapt your behavior to conquer them.
Hongo kept repeating instructions like, “Keep your head and feet tucked back, like a banana.” He told me to keep my eyes open when we rolled out of the plane. This was supposed to the best part, which passes so quickly that you forget the first few seconds.
Having someone who knew exactly what they were doing got me through the jump. Likewise, having experienced advisors can help you immensely. Network and develop relationships with people who are successful. Stay in touch with those that you can learn from, who will also encourage you on your journey.
As the plane door opened and other jumpers started rolling over the edge, my common sense kicked in. It said things like, “What are you doing? Are you crazy? Don’t do this!” It encouraged me to grab ahold of the plane as Hongo scooted us to the edge, which I did. At some point I stopped thinking, “Oh God,” and Hongo’s voice crept in saying, “Let go of the plane…tuck your arms…be a banana…” There was literally no turning back at this point and the only way out was down. With Hongo’s help, I did it. I also kept my eyes open for the most terrifying part, THE ROLL.
As a business owner, you have already approached the edge and jumped. Keep the reasons you started your business, those motivating factors, in mind. Let them encourage and focus you in those moments of doubt or frustration.
Scared silent as we tumbled the first few seconds of our freefall, it was a blur of images…the ground, the sky, the ground, the sky. Hongo got us into position for the rest of the 60 second freefall. That’s when I started screaming, almost continuously until he released the parachute.
Similarly, it is okay to get scared while building your business. Being able to pull yourself together and having the support of others when you need help is important. This support can come from family and friends, but also your staff. Remember that you have put competent people in place. It is okay to rely on them too as you are all working toward the same goal… success!
Things went much better once the chute was open. I could see all of Lake Taupo, with its blue-green and silver surface. The view was amazing. And, the more we descended, the more I enjoyed the ride.
Likewise, be sure to check-in with yourself as your empire grows. Celebrate and appreciate your successes. Learn from your mistakes. And, remember the beginning and the end aren’t the most important parts.
Also remember that when you are in the thick of it and find yourself in need, there are always solutions within your reach. Officense provides support to hundreds of businesses across many industries. From executive virtual offices and pristine meeting space, to exceptional executive assistants, we’ve got you covered anywhere in the world. Call now (410-814-7500) to find out how we can support you and help your business grow!
Written by JA
Over the past week, the world celebrated the birthday of one of the greatest minds to ever walk the earth. Theodor Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss, would have turned 111 years old on March 2nd. Many adults, like myself, grew up reading Dr Seuss and his multiple brilliant works of literature, such as: The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham, and many, many more. While some may quickly dismiss that anyone can learn life lessons from a children’s author, here are five quotes from Dr. Seuss, that are also important life lessons, for every entrepreneur.
“I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
No matter what happens in life, there will always be roadblocks. Life isn’t perfect and anything worth having in life will not come easy. Successful people are always the ones who do not let roadblocks get in their way and have the perseverance to overcome every problem that comes their way. A lot of people might not know this, but here’s a fun fact about Dr. Seuss. His first book was rejected 27 times before finally being published. The world may have never known who Dr. Seuss was had he given up after the 26th time. So expect problems and mistakes to occur, but always face them head on and never quit because that 28th attempt to do something might just lead you to success.
‘‘Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!’’
Be yourself! Plain and simple. The most successful people in life are true to themselves and will not conform to anyone’s image of what they should be. Do you think Mark Cuban, Bill Gates, or Richard Branson got to where they are now by sucking up and doing what others thought they should be doing? Cuban was fired from his first job, Gates dropped out of college, and Branson was told he would end up in jail. Now they are all billionaires. Take risks and do what you love, but always remember to be yourself because you are ultimately going to be the one responsible for your successes in life.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
If you are not where you want to be in life, then do something about it. You are not a tree! The most successful people in life are the ones who are never content with what they have, and are always dreaming bigger. You are the only one with the power to improve on anything you want; but you have to be willing to take the risks and try. Many celebrities, such as Tyler Perry, Jim Carey, and Halle Berry were once homeless, but they knew what they wanted and never stopped trying to achieve their dreams. So understand what you want in life and that you are the only one who will determine where life will take you.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Always take time to educate yourself. If you are trying to be the next Steve Jobs, why not learn from his successes and failures? One of the best pieces of advice my former boss gave to me was to always find time to read for 30 minutes a day. No matter how old you are, or how wise you may think you are, there is always something new to learn. Knowledge is powerful and the more you know, the better equipped you will be at handling problems that will occur. So take some time out of your day and read something, whether it be a book or an online article, because the more you know, the more places you’ll go.
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Failure is a part of life. Every successful person in life has failed. What separates them from the average person is that they will not let failure be the end of the journey. No matter how many times you fall down, always get back up because if you persevere enough, you will ultimately get rewarded for it. So take the positives from your previous endeavors and learn from the mistakes because the lessons learned will build your character and help on your journey to success. Like the quote says, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
It is truly amazing the impact that Dr. Seuss still continues to have on many people years after he published his last book. The lessons he teaches from them are clear reasons why he is still celebrated today. So conquer your troubles, be yourself, choose your destination, educate yourself, and learn from your mistakes. And for all those that think they cannot learn anything from a children’s author I leave you with another Dr. Seuss quote, “Adults are just outdated children.”
For any entrepreneur that would like to learn ways to improve their business, contact Officense, and find out about the many ways we will help your business succeed.
Written by KF
Posted in 2015, Arts and Entertainment, Biography, Business, Dr Seuss, entrepreneurs, growth, Inspiration, Personal Development
Tagged Dr Seuss, entrepreneurs, Inspiration, Personal Development
It’s Friday night and you’re at your neighborhood sports pub for your usual ½ Price Pizza Pie Night when you notice your weekly pizza-night cohort ordering fish and chips. You think, has my friend been abducted by aliens and replaced with his British doppelganger? Then it hits you…Is it Lent already?!
The Lenten season’s origins can be traced back to Roman times. Potential converts seeking to become Christian would spend several years in study and preparation. At the end of the intensive process, there would be a final period of “purification and enlightenment” for the remaining 40 days preceding a convert’s Baptism at Easter. The rest of the church began to observe the season of Lent in unity with the church’s newest Christians and so Lent became an opportunity for all Christians to recall and renew the commitments of their Baptisms.
Yesterday marked Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras or Shrove Day, the day devoted to indulging before the start of Lenten’s fast today on Ash Wednesday. During the fast, Christians will give up certain meats, and refrain from something they would normally indulge in or particularly enjoy… such as Pizza! Besides pizza, small business owners can use this period to give up some of their business bad habits in favor of good business. Here are a few extravagances to give up:
Meeting in Excess
- Meetings are great and truly necessary to advance projects and ensure everyone is on the same track but nothing disrupts the flow of productivity like unnecessary meetings. With tools like email, instant messenger, video conferencing and chat platforms like Skype, it’s best to only use meetings for introductions and serious discussions that can only be held in person.
- The United State Bureau of labor statistics found that in the USA alone, 11 million formal business meetings are had each day.
- About $37 Billion is wasted in unnecessary meetings every year.
- Founder of Blue Grace Logistics, Bobby Harris, recommends that people don’t accept meetings unless the person who requested it has put forth a clear agenda and stated exactly how much time that will be required.
- Even then, Harris recommends giving the person half of the time they initially requested.
Data Protection Denial
- Shred-it Information Security Tracker 2013 survey, found that:This isn’t just a bad habit—it’s a dangerous one – as seen with the impending lawsuits Sony is facing after their systems were hacked leaking personal employee and celebrity information.
- 69% of small-business owners are either unaware or don’t believe their companies could experience a financial impact if their data is lost or stolen.
- 40% don’t even have protocols in place to secure data.
- About 33% don’t train their staff about information security procedures.
- 48% don’t even have anyone on staff that is responsible for the management of data security
- All businesses need to regularly back up their data, create policies for employee use of social media and the Internet, and install software to protect their networks and their client’s data.
Muffing Mobile Marketing
- vSplash’s 2012 study found 98% of small businesses don’t have mobile-optimized sites.
- 86 million Americans use their smartphones to get retail information and 62% of them use their smartphones to help them to shop at least once a month.
- eMarketer reports that retail sales from mobile devices will top $38 billion this year, climb to $52 billion next year and soar to $109 billion by 2017.
- With numbers like that isn’t it time you get on the mobile bandwagon? Be sure to have your web host utilize responsive design, which will provides users with an optimal viewing experience by offering easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling involved.
Traditionally, after being without during Lent, Easter can be a feast and all of the things you had given up will taste much sweeter upon getting them back. Now this isn’t true of the business indulgences above… give them up for Lent and hopefully you won’t want them back as you and your business will be much better off without them. For video-conferencing and other ways to optimize your business performance, call Officense and find out how we can help at the fraction of the cost!
Posted in 2015, Administrative Assistant, After Hours, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, Conference Room, Conference/Events, Cyber security, entrepreneurs, Executive Assistant, Holidays, marketing, meeting, professional, Small Business, Smart phone, success, Technology, video conference, virtual, Virtual Office, Work, workplace
Tagged Ash Wednesday, Business, business address, cyber security, executive assistant, Lent, live-answer, Mardi Gras, Marketing, Meeting, meeting space, mobile marketing, Officense, offices, Shrove Day, small business, Virtual office
Willy from Death of a Salesman famously advised his sons that in order to succeed, one needed to be “well-liked”. And for decades businesses have run on that concept. The likeable guy pushes his product until the client is backed into a corner called “the close”. Well the truth is that now, potential clientele aren’t simply looking for the likeable salesman. Because those clients being “closed” will soon feel closed in and claustrophobic with pushy business selling techniques. Prospects want someone who knows about their needs and can be an advisor for their concerns.
When you’re growing your business, either from the fledgling stage or an established corporation, there is often the mindset to “sell, sell, sell”. However, when prospects feel like you’re chasing them down, they may perceive it as desperation from an unsuccessful business and that’s the death knell for your sales. If you want to generate a solid clientele base –Let go of selling.
Opening the door for conversation with an open ended question can be the beginning of a lasting business relationship between you and a prospect. The key is, they need to feel that you’re not just selling them something; but you actually have a way of benefiting them. And in order for them to feel that way it has to be true. So be interested in their goals; know the concerns in their industry and offer real solutions, not just whatever is most profitable for you.
If you don’t believe your product or service can help the clientele you are seeking, quit today. However, if you do believe it, then you need to communicate that clearly and in a way that’s comfortable and conversational for those you’re serving.
If your business has been running on “sales” for a long time than the separation from old ideologies may be difficult; but it’s definitely necessary.
When your client feels that your solution is no longer working for them, it’s okay to try to rework it and help them see the value. However, when they simply don’t—bow out gracefully. How you say goodbye to a client is often as critical as how you say hello. When you finish well with a client, they may eventually realize that they still needed you all along and since you were the company that respected their decision, they just may return.
Whether or not your business succeeds is often inextricably connected to how your clients perceive your business. Your support staff is the major key to this perception. Choose and treat your staff well and you will be abundantly rewarded with client satisfaction and business success. Yet sometimes you just don’t have the time or resources to get the staff you desire. That’s where Officense comes in. You can call us or stop by our office and we’ll talk with you about what solutions you may need.
And don’t worry—we won’t close you in.
Posted in 2015, Administrative Assistant, Baltimore, Executive Assistant, Funny, History, Inspiration, manager, Maryland, Office, Small Business, Theatre, Tips, Virtual Office, workplace
There are a lot of reasons why you, the entrepreneur or small business owner, do not have an office. Maybe this is your first start-up. You just got this thing off the ground and are still operating on financial fumes. There’s no money in your budget for a dedicated working space, despite how much you both want and need one.
Or maybe you, the roofing contractor, are out in the field all day every day and have never seen the need for an office. It’s an added expense with no justifiable reason. But then comes the day when you need to dedicate time in front of the computer to focus on those 8349857 estimates that needed to go out yesterday. But your laptop doesn’t balance very well on the center console in your work truck. Not to mention all the dirt and tools being in the way. So you head over to the coffee place twice a week and try to get things done.
The bottom line is as follows: for whatever reason, you think you are stuck working at your local coffee shop. You get there bright and early to claim a table as your own. And then set up camp… Because you will need to be there ALL day. Along with the 15 other solopreneurs.
The coffee shop is not the place to be conducting your business.
Why is it not a good idea? Here is a whole plethora of reasons.
There is zero working space, private or otherwise. Just look at the example above. Every inch of table space is accounted for and odds are you are forced to share those precious few inches of tabletop with another guest. And let’s talk about laptop battery life. Being near an outlet is an absolute must. But if you have a laptop, a beverage, and a snack, there is no way you can work all that. Especially with only half of a standard sized café table that is normally grouped with the comfy chairs in the corner. Unless you’re good at this, of course.
Not to mention the fact that all the other people need the same outlet you do. So the odds of actually being next to one are slim to none.
And speaking of private, working on private client details in public is a big no-no. I realize you’re probably not working on highly classified information every time you’re in a coffee shop, but you may at some point. It’s easy to forget where you are when you get caught up in work. The last thing you want to do is work on confidential client information while in a very public place. You never know who is peeking over your shoulder. Think about when you’re on a train. You wouldn’t have your laptop screen open with sensitive information on the screen while sitting next to someone on the train, right? The coffee shop is no different.
You never know who’s listening. All it takes is one person to hear the right tidbit of highly sensitive information from your phone call. Next thing you know, they are blowing up the Twittersphere with your coffeehouse conference call. It is never a good idea to conduct a private conversation in earshot of 20 other people. Not only is it rude to everyone involved, including your client, but it’s also no longer confidential. So that means you have to step outside and take the call. Even when it’s 20 below in the middle of a snow storm. No one wins here.
The rush hour distractions. High volume times = more customer turnover. As in Grand Central Station turnover with lines going all the way back to the front door. This also means more chaos and loud conversation. It’s hard to stay focused when you can’t even hear yourself think. Going during rush hour is risky anyway because it’s harder to find an outlet seat. Or any seat. Top all that off with our natural human desire to people watch means you aren’t getting any work done.
You have to spend money. Okay this one might be a stretch, but let’s look at it from the “being a good human” perspective. First of all, when you are there ALL day just purchasing one cup of coffee is probably pushing it a little. (Even if it is a $12 venti café mocha soy latte with a double shot, whipped cream and sprinkles.) Just like restaurants, the corner coffee shop is affected by turnover; if, for example, you are not going to the cafe to work, and you know that it will be full of people not getting up from their work and there will not be a seat, you will probably choose a different shop. That coffee shop just lost business due to low turnover of tables. If you are working all day, you would need to buy things at least once an hour to justify your all day occupancy. And don’t forget to tip. Well. This equates to your billable hourly rate taking a nose dive thanks to all those lattes and croissants you have to buy.
I think you’re starting to get what I’m putting down here.
Still need more convincing?
Ok, then. You have a crucial new client meeting. This is THE client you have been waiting to land. If you get this one account you’ll be set. Obviously, you have to make your absolute best first impression. But your current home office is mom’s basement. And that circa 1975 décor with the blue shag carpeting and your bean bag office chair and end table desk will most certainly do the opposite. The only other option is the kitchen. But it’s your mom’s turn to host bridge club. Not exactly professional. So you GPS yourself over to the tiny window table two inches from every other window table at Starbucks. When you walk in you realize it is mommy play day. And you learn that children can screech at the same decibel as a jet engine. Who knew?
You tell me. Is that really your best impression?
I didn’t think so. But we can help.
The truth is you are NOT STUCK working at your local java hut. Why not?
Because of Officense.
You can bring your clients to a Class A premium, well-appointed meeting space at a fraction of the cost of leasing your own space. We can help you make your best first impression every time when you need us. And you don’t have to worry about that extra overhead when you don’t.
Call us today to see how we can get you out of the Coffee Shop of Horrors rut and into the kind of non-branded office space you and your clients deserve.
December is one of the greatest months of the year. Many people from all over the world celebrate holidays during this wonderful month and the New Year is right around the corner. December is also a time when winter graduates finally complete their college experience and embark on their next journey into the real world. I myself was a winter graduate and I remember the scary, yet exciting ideas of what was next in my life. The possibilities were endless. Thinking about all of this brings me to a commencement speech given by one of the greatest entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple. The 2005 Stanford University commencement ceremony speech Jobs gave is arguably one of the greatest speeches of all time. Regardless of your background, career path, or goals, there are incredible lessons to be learned from it. The speech centers around the three themes: connecting the dots, love and loss, and death; with each part equally as fascinating as the others.
Connecting the Dots
In the first part of the speech, Jobs describes his early childhood up to college. Put up for adoption by his biological mother before he was born, he was all set to be adopted by a lawyer and his wife; however, at the last minute they decided they wanted a girl instead. His parents, who were on the waiting list, wanted him but his biological mother refused to sign the papers because his mother never finished college, and his father never finished high school. Jobs’ biological mother finally relented months later when his adoptive parents promised to her that he would go to college one day.
[Seventeen years later, while attending Reed College, Steve Jobs, unable to see the value in higher education, dropped out of college.]Over the next 18 months, Jobs slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, returned soda bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and walked 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. Jobs said dropping out was one of the best decisions he had made in his life; it enabled him to stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest him, and drop in on the ones that did. It was at this time that he started going to calligraphy classes and was fascinated by it. The content he learned in these classes later became his foundation for the Macintosh typography.
The core statement of the introductory part of his speech is about having faith in the future. There is no way of knowing what is in store for you, but you have to trust that everything you’re doing now will all connect together in the future. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Love and Loss
Jobs started Apple in his parents’ garage with Steve Wozniak when he was 20. Within 10 years, the company had grown into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. He was on top of the world at 30, and then he got fired. Steve Jobs had a falling out with the person he had appointed CEO of Apple and when he tried to organize a boardroom coup, the Board of Directors sided against Jobs and he was out. He felt like a failure, like he let the last generation of entrepreneurs down. What helped him persevere through this was that he still loved what he did, so he started over. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
After getting fired from Apple, Jobs went on to create NeXT, a computer company, and Pixar, which created the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and met his future wife, Laurene. Pixar is now the most successful animation studio in the world, and NeXT ended up being bought by Apple, and the hardware created there became the foundation for Apple’s OS X and iOS.
In this portion of the speech, Jobs emphasizes persevering through roadblocks and loving what you do. The most successful people in life are the ones that fight through the hardships and failures. “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”
In closing, Jobs talks about how he was diagnosed with an almost certainly incurable form of pancreatic cancer; however, the doctors discovered that it could be treated with surgery and that he was fine now. Unfortunately, no one at that moment in time knew what was going to happen years later. The cancer returned and Jobs passed away in 2011. However, at the time of his initial diagnosis, Jobs stared death in the eyes and beat it. Having faced death, his message was live everyday like it was your last. One of the most memorable quotes during that speech was, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Don’t be afraid to take chances because the most successful people in life are the ones that did repeatedly.
The speech ends with a story of Steve Jobs and a publication that he loved growing up called The Whole Earth Catalog. On the final issue, there was a quote in it that stuck with Jobs throughout his life and that was, “Stay hungry, Stay foolish.” As he wrapped up his speech, he wished the graduates the same words that he had always wished for himself. 4 simple words yet they tied together all the parts of his speech and life perfectly. So to all the new December graduates looking to start the next part of their lives, Stay hungry, Stay foolish.
If you would like to get your business started or to help your current one flourish, contact Officense and find out about the many ways we will help your business succeed.
Posted in 2011, 2014, 2015, Apple Inc, Biography, Business, Death, entrepreneurs, growth, Inspiration, iPad, iPhone, Laurene Jobs, leader, leadership, Mac, NeXT, Perspective, Pixar, Speech, Steve Jobs, success, Technology
Tagged Apple, Apple Computers, biography, Business, career, CEO, Entrepreneur, Goals, iPad, iPhone, leader, Mac, speech, Stanford University, Steve Jobs, visionary
There is a special feeling ‘round the world in this time. It’s in the crispness of the winter chill, triumphant song and humble gratitude. It’s in the scent of cumin and warm spices of varying colors. Traditions of the Christmas celebration have danced across centuries, nations and the hearts of merry-makers.
From stolen moments of Sung Tan Jul to large parades, romantic dinners, mango and large quantities of fried Chicken, the Christmas traditions of Asia are as varying as the cultures of the people on the largest continent on earth.
Although Christmas joys can come with a penalty in North Korea, South Koreans enjoy festive trees and ice cream cakes. In Japan, the holiday has become similar to Valentine’s Day with festivities centering around romantic excursions for couples, but singles and couples alike enjoy KFC and often need to make reservations to ensure they get their share. In China, the holiday is not official, school and work remain in session; but celebrators still enjoy decorations such as the Tree of Light, decorated with paper flowers and chains. In India, those who celebrate do so by decorating mango and banana trees.
Merry Kisimusi is the thing to say (amongst other greetings) on a bright African Christmas Day. The nations celebrate in different ways and merry-makers are of a variety of backgrounds. In Senegal plastic trees and blow up Santas are purchased. Nairobi utilizes fake snow to imitate a white Christmas; Ghana celebrates with candlelit palm trees, while Liberians gather ‘round bell laden oil trees.
All the décor however, doesn’t compare to the celebrations found in countries across the continent. Celebrators attend church and then form a festive parade in some locales, carrying carefully crafted paper lanterns or children swathed in leaf skirts dance and sing with homemade instruments.
From Alaskan pineapple doorways to Canadian Mumurings to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting and the Native festive dances, Christmas is celebrated in many ways in North America.
Many enjoy cozying up by the crackling fireplace with stockings hanging from the mantle, attending a candlelit service or singing carols through snow quieted streets and drinking cider with friends in the United States. Canadians enjoy Christmas day, but the festivities continue through early January as “Mumerers” attempt to fool friends and loved ones by disguising their voices and yelling outside the door of their homes in exchange for treats. Alaskans carry a star on a pole through the streets of towns and stage roadside plays which commemorate the Nativity story. In New Mexico, Natives of the old tribes celebrate the Christmas story with a service and dances.
Ancient tradition and the inevitable effects of modernity both play their part in South American Christmas celebrations. Some attend the midnight mass, called the mass Misa del Gallo in Chile, and enjoy large feasts of dainties. Argentinians believe the birth of the Christ child occurred on 24th and so celebrate on Christmas Eve. Peruvians and Venezuelans celebrate through the beginning of January. The children of Venezuela set out straw and water for the Magi’s camel and hope to awake with the black smudge of Balthazar’s kiss on their cheek for luck. We can also thank the warmth of Latin America for the beautiful Poinsettia plant that reminds us all of Christmas joys.
What would seem a winter-wonderland to those in warmer parts of the world is actually a summer scene in Antarctica. Christmas is celebrated by Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with a footrace around the world (those who wish to use other means besides their feet may do so). However, at the South Pole the journey is not nearly as arduous as it may sound. In fact, the journey could be made in a few minutes, but for kicks they make the course a few miles long. Yet, beyond the races is the quietude of the holiday celebrations. Christmas is greeted in the evening with soft carols of the station choir, gentle reflection on the meaning and the longing from researchers for home and family.
Everywhere there is a feast, streets are filled with carol and song as Europeans recognize the biggest holiday of the year. Christmas in Europe is greeted with Christmas markets from Brussels to London, pine trees, decor and gifts. Lights dazzle Parisian socializers, and a midnight mass of organ and song soothes the ears. Finland may consider their country to be the Christmas capitol as the nation is widely named as the home of Santa. Yet, in Rome, it is not Saint Nicolaus who receives wish lists from children, but the famed Santo Bambino, whose statue isn’t far from where the Pope delivers a Christmas message in Saint Peter’s Square.
For Aussies, Christmas is in the warmer months, so Santa comes in on the beach and the day is also often celebrated away from home. People eat outdoors and exchange gifts during the holiday that marks their summer break. Christmas trees are still a staple and plenty of goodies to eat are a must. As in many other parts of the world, Australians enjoys Christmas lights; however, since it’s in the summer, they can enjoy them without the shivering cold.
No matter what traditions you enjoy, Officense has your business needs covered and can even cover you with 24/7 communications if your Christmas goes global.
With Christmas so near it would seem there would be an abundance of holiday cheer. Mere weeks away though, stressed out gift-givers can be found across shopping centers fighting over parking spaces, the year’s “it” toy, and spreading words and actions that don’t reminisce with the joy, peace, and love intended of the holiday. Luckily, Baltimore has a great line-up of holiday inspired events to keep you in high and holiest spirits to keep you cheerful this season
- A Miracle on 34th Street
A block in Hamden that bears the same street name as the famous 1947 Christmas movie, truly is quite the spectacle. Since 1947, the 700 block of row homes on 34th street has taken the meaning of “deck the halls” to a whole new level as neighbors adorn their homes with giant inflatable snow globes, musical trains, and even a life size Grinch. The Christmas decorations and lights display, rumored to be visible from space, will be celebrating its 67th year this season. See one of Baltimore’s greatest community light shows through January 1st, including all night on Christmas Eve.
- The Holly Jolly Holiday Lights Trolley Tour
Love the lights, but hate the parking around 34th Street? Then come enjoy the splendor of Baltimore’s holiday lights on the Holly Jolly Trolley. Departing from the Inner Harbor, this whimsical trolley ride will take you on a festive tour of Baltimore’s most decorated neighborhoods and attractions. Avoid the crowds and see Hamden’s world famous 34th street Christmas Festival of Lights and the first monument to George Washington light up Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Through December 28th, the trolley departs from the Pier 5 Hotel in Harbor East on weekends and tickets are available via: http://tickets.baltimore.org/default.asp
- A Christmas Carol presented by The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
One of Christmas’s most enduring stories, A Christmas Carol, is coming to Baltimore! Until December 23rd, the Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic tale of the season’s most famous bah-humbug will be presented by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. With a Charm City Twist, Join Scrooge as he embarks on his journey through past, present, and future in Baltimore’s 19th century business district in the heart of Baltimore’s business district, the Inner Harbor. For tickets, visit: www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com/tickets
- Ice Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor
The Waterfront Partnership’s newest addition to McKeldin Plaza is a great way to spice up your next date night, teach your kids how to ice skate or simply get fit while having fun! The Inner Harbor’s ice skating rink will be open daily, with special programming and events happening throughout the season and up to January 19th. See more at: http://baltimore.org/article/ice-rink-baltimores-inner-harbor#sthash.3Wb4iFtd.dpuf
- The Polar Express 4-D Experience
The beloved Caldecott Medal winning children’s book, The Polar Express, will be playing at the Baltimore National Aquarium in stunning 3-D and further brought to life with 4D effects. This multi-sensory experience follows a young boy on his extraordinary journey to the North Pole. An immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy, embark on the train ride of the season through January 1st. http://www.aqua.org/
- German Christmas Village
Christmas Village is returning to the Inner Harbor’s West Shore Park for a German inspired winter-wonderland marketplace! Festival goers can shop at the 45 various arts and crafts vendors in the beautiful outdoor wooden booths, surrounding the Christmas tree. Take a lunch break from holiday shopping for a Bratwurst, Lebkuchen [German for Gingerbread], warm up with mulled wine, or sip on a German beer at the Bavarian Beer Garden. Then take a warmth break within the festival’s heated tent and revel in the daily performances of local choirs, bands and performers. This cultural experience is taking place through Christmas Eve. Learn more at http://baltimore.org/article/german-christmas-village#sthash.fTXehczn.dpuf
- Ring in the New Year
After all these events, if you still can’t embrace the Christmas spirit; know there’s always next year! The celebration kicks off at 9 p.m. at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater with a variety of live music. The largest fireworks display in the region will commemorate the countdown to 2015 at the stroke of midnight. For details, please visit www.bop.org
However you choose to celebrate the holidays, you can rest assured your calls are being answered, your packages received, and appointments are set. From all of us at Officense, have a safe and happy holiday season, and Cheers to a prosperous New Year!
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