Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 101

Father’s Day is right around the corner and it has me stymied. What to get for my dad? I know he doesn’t really need anything, but when they say, “I don’t really need anything” that usually means that they secretly wish you would surprise them with a Prince Rupert fishing trip or something else really cool.

There are definitely Do’s and Don’ts to Father’s Day gifting. I thought I would go over them briefly in advance of the special day.

The phone call – For those kids who are off to college or living away from home, there is an unwritten code which states, “if you are going to give your Father the gift of your precious voice for Father’s Day, that phone call must be made before noon (that is when both hands are pointing straight up kids). That phone call should be made with enthusiasm and love. The phone call should not be made in that post-drunk whisper (you know, the one where the sound of your own voice makes your head hurt). Please refrain from imbibing too heavily the night before.

The homemade card – Oh yes….the homemade card. The homemade card is honestly one of the most wonderful gifts a small child can give her daddy. But…when the child is 19, and the ink is still wet because they “created” it 15 minutes earlier with a Sharpie after remembering it was Father’s Day……it isn’t quite as “special”.

The “IOU” card – Once again, the IOU card or the card that is crafted that states, “this is good for breakfast in bed” is charming when it comes from your 10 year old twins. When it comes from your 30-year child who still lives in your basement because he/she can’t hold down a job, it loses its luster.

The gift of time – “Hey Dad…’s steak night at the golf course, lets go!”, which is code for “I would like to go golfing, but I have no money right now….if I offer to go with you, you will probably pay”.

The Imaginary Gift – The imaginary gift is the gift that is best explained by, “I was going to get you this cool *insert something extravagant/priceless/cool/hard to get*, but they were all sold out”. The imaginary gift is given when the child can see a sibling give an actual gift to their father and feels guilt ridden.

The last minute gift – normally something from the local convenience store, i.e. Sen-Sen packets, snowbrush and Mentos

The “ask” – The “ask” is when the child comes to mom for a loan because they want this to be the “best Father’s Day ever” for dear old dad.

The Dad’s that say they don’t want anything – these guys are the hardest to shop for. They only say they don’t want anything because they have been burned before….when they were hoping for some recognition on Father’s Day, but it never came through. Now they use the “I don’t want anything” phrase as a defense mechanism. These are the guys that you have to go a little overboard on, spend that little bit extra.

I hope these made you smile - Happy Father’s Day!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


“Squrrel!”, a word that became part of our vernacular following the release of the movie “Up” when Doug, the dog couldn’t focus on one thing for very long.

Do you use the “Squirrel” approach to your green meeting planning? Let’s face it…..there are so many products and services in the market place to support sustainable event planning that it can be easy to abandon the boring “less flashy” strategies from days of yore (that word has been sitting on my desktop BEGGING for a place to use it).

Badges made out of corn plastic, lanyards made from pop bottles, plates made from wood fiber, biodegradable pens, eco friendly bags and totes, bird friendly, fair trade, rapidly renewable, energy star……so many choices out there. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is wonderful that industry is recognizing that there is a market for these products and that the market itself is driving industry to come up with better alternatives. What I am concerned with, is that some will abandon their decision making process (good, better, best) because they are distracted by shiny things (aka the next big thing) “Squirrel”!

How can you continue to focus when everything is moving so quickly around you?

Here are some tips:

Keep a portfolio of products you trust – When you find a great product or service and you have taken the time to research it thoroughly, put it in a portfolio. These products and services are now in the “Circle of trust” (Meet the Focker's movie reference). You have done your homework and can call upon these products and/or services at a moments notice.

Proceed with caution – When a colleague sends you a link to the next best/greenest thing… your homework and check it out thoroughly.

Embrace the boring stuff – All the newest and greatest products in the world won’t green your event or label it “sustainable”. It is the decision making process up to the point of the purchase that helps to minimize the environmental impact that you are making. You need to employ the same process as you always have:

· ReDUCE our willy-nilly purchase of unnecessary “stuff” – will it enhance the attendee experience?

· ReUSE all the “stuff” that we got before we didn’t know we could live without it

· ReCYCLE as much as we can and if we can’t recycle it – know that we probably shouldn’t have purchased it

· ReTHINK everything that we use which includes our suppliers