Category Archives: Happy Holidays!

Big Plans, New Year – The Weekender Is Here to Help!

pens_jan_headerimage_1200x628People across the country work a 9-to-5 schedule, in a hurry, following the same routine day after day. Once the weekend rolls around, rather than relaxing, time is often spent running errands or doing chores around the house. It can feel just as hectic as the work week. Does this sound familiar?

If it does, just know it doesn’t have to be the norm. By making small changes to your lifestyle, you can free up more quality time to do more of the things you enjoy with the people you love. If that sounds good to you, check out our just- launched month-by-month calendar guide: The Weekender.

We’ve curated the ultimate, online calendar flipbook that will help you feel motivated once the weekend sets in, so you can make the most of your days. It provides small goals, helpful quotes, and words to live by to help you achieve the kind of work-life balance that promotes healthier,happier living. Who wouldn’t want that for the new year?

Set Your Sights High in 2017

A fresh start always feels good and new challenges can be invigorating. Don’t fear New Year’s resolutions; they don’t have to be daunting. No one says goals should come with time constraints or limitations. Instead, this year, make your resolutions matter for the rest of your life, not just the rest of the year. For starters, how can you introduce more joy into your life?

Is it by staying organized? Trying something new? Stepping outside of your comfort zone? The Weekender inspires making changes that reach for something a little higher than “more time at the gym,” one of the top resolutions tried and failed year after year.

The Weekender focuses on a different concept and fresh ideas every month that include the kind of small things that make a bigger difference for the year overall. For example, January invites you to “plan it out,” May asks you to “slow down,” and September entices everyone to “unplug and explore.” Maybe not every month will speak directly to you. Take what you need from the calendar and leave the rest.

Use the Weekender to Recharge

There’s no doubt about it – the week can get hectic. There are deadlines to meet, routines to follow, and goals to achieve. It seems counterintuitive to slow down, take more breaks, and do things that may have nothing to do with work. But, in many ways, approaching your day-to-day in this way actually helps with productivity, creativity, and your overall energy.

Take a chance starting in January to introduce some of these new habits into your life and see if you can tell a difference in how you work, act, and feel. Write down what you want to achieve for the month and review what’s worked for you. Share The Weekender with co-workers, family, and friends and set goals together to help keep each other accountable.

Enjoy these final days of 2016 and look forward to what 2017 will bring!

2016 White Elephant Gift Guide: Office Edition

If you’re looking for a perfect White Elephant office gift for your holiday office party, consider this your official gift guide!White Elephant Gift GuideThe memo went out on Friday – “Office party: Meet in the conference room at 3pm, bring a side dish and a White Elephant gift (valued at around $20).” This sounds fun enough, right? The office holiday party always ends up being an event worthy of water cooler talk for weeks to come. But what should you buy as your White Elephant gift? If you’re looking for something fun, safe-for-work, and memorable – as well as inexpensive, consider the following ideas.

White Elephant Gift Idea 1: A Box of Wine

Just because most White Elephant gift exchanges tend to applaud the inclusion of silly or outrageous gifts, why not combine something elegant – but then give it a twist? Wrap up some wine, but make sure to buy your favorite boxed varietal to elicit a few laughs, and most likely appreciation, from your co-workers. Step it up a notch with a funny wine glass – extra points if it fits an entire bottle of wine.

White Elephant Gift Idea 2: Silly Mugs

Mugs are universally popular, since most likely more than one person in your office gets their day going with coffee. But why not order a silly mug that can deliver a hilarious and personal message that only you and your colleagues will understand? Choose from an assortment of customizable mugs to help create your perfect White Elephant gift.

White Elephant Gift Idea 3: Outrageous Calendars

One gift that keeps on giving all year long is a desk or wall calendar, and you can find some truly goofy calendars to pair perfectly with an off-the-wall office party in no time. One of the most popular calendars this year is the “People of Walmart” calendar – itself a 365-day visual reminder of some of Walmart’s most…unique shoppers.

White Elephant Gift Idea 4: Desk Accessories with a Twist

Consider ordering a “high-heel” tape dispenser, or a “funny face” pencil/pen holder to add to your office partner’s desk accessories, then watch as they think, “Hmm… this is pretty silly, but I’ll actually use it!” Office-themed gifts are perfectly suited for White Elephant gift exchanges as they’ll likely get used quite frequently and they’re an easy reminder of your office friendships.

White Elephant Gift Idea 5: Fun Card & Board Games

Cards Against Humanity comes right to mind, but virtually any fun card or board game will work at your office gift exchange. Keep it safe for work, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries a bit and purchase an irreverent game that will have everyone in stiches while playing.

White Elephant Gift Idea 6: Noise-Isolating Headphones

This gift might be looked at as your way to subtly block out the office chatterboxes, but good quality headphones are also a sought-after gift for audiophiles and gamers. Search online and you can easily find a pair of headphones or earbuds for about $20, then wrap it up and watch as the lucky recipient opens your thoughtful and office-appropriate White Elephant gift!

If you’re on the planning end of the office’s White Elephant festivities, keep the following ideas in mind:

  1. Understand the history of the holiday tradition with our fun White Elephant infographic
  2. Lay out the rules early on so the invitees understand the process
  3. Provide some examples of appropriate gifts to make shopping easier
  4. Create pre-numbered slips of paper to establish the gift order
  5. Provide food and drinks – possibly “white foods” like ice cream or white chocolate
  6. Have fun and create memories with your office buddies!

White Elephant gift exchanges are a big part of most office holiday party traditions, so keep your guests on their toes, laughing and engaged in the gift-exchange process this year!

 

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4 Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress for Marketers

The holidays aren’t always necessarily about limitless joy. If you’re feeling anxious this season, consider some of the stress-killing tactics below.

Best Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress

People often refer to this time of year as the Season of Joy, or a time to be merry, but for some of us, especially marketers, the holiday season is a stressful time of year that isn’t quite as fun as all those holiday commercials indicate. There are deadlines to be met, clients to satisfy, and next quarter planning to be done. This all must be done before everyone goes on holiday vacation, so there is typically an even bigger crunch for time.

If you are feeling anxious about the holidays, consider the following holiday stress tips to minimize any negative feelings you may be having. Then, get into the holiday spirit so you can better enjoy time with your friends, family, and all the social activities on your calendar!

Holiday Stress Tip 1: Exercise

One of the most effective ways to skip the holiday blues and enjoy this joyful time of year is to get your body moving. Take a 10- or 15-minute break every day for a brisk walk, hit the treadmill before work, or even go for an indoor swim to raise your spirits and elevate your mood. Even if you can’t get away from your desk while at work, you can work out your arm (and any of your frustrations) with a soft stress ball. Anything to get your body moving will help minimize sensations of anger, frustration, and fatigue.

Holiday Stress Tip 2: Watch your food intake

It is so tempting to grab snack foods and sugary treats during the holidays (the breakroom is usually full of them) but try to resist! Yes, many of us tend to use the winter season as an excuse for poor eating, but empty-calorie foods and sugary sweets can cause energy crashes and don’t contribute to a sense of well-being. Instead, try to consume more vegetables and fruit than you normally do. Then, incorporate lean proteins and healthy fats to round out your diet and cut down on the holiday stress (or guilt). It is amazing what a healthy meal can do for your sense of wellness.

Holiday Stress Tip 3: Plan ahead

The holiday season is often characterized as an idyllic time in which to spend with family around the fire, swapping stories, exchanging presents, and eating delicious home-cooked meals. In reality, the holidays can be a logistics nightmare – requiring you to plan for extra busy times at work, balance visiting family members, elaborate food preparation duties, crazy shopping malls and expensive gift lists, and more. To help minimize stress this holiday season, consider ordering a desk calendar to more easily plan and execute your holiday strategy. Writing out lists and reminders is often helpful to feel organized and in control during the hectic holidays.

Holiday Stress Tip 4: Be generous

You can send customized gifts to your business relationships to solidify your commitment to them. It’s the season of giving, and the smallest kind gesture can automatically make you feel happier and calmer. Also, instead of fighting to create the perfect holiday experience for everyone on your list, simply approach each day by asking, “How can I be more generous to those in my life?” This doesn’t mean spending a ton of money on gifts or overdoing the holiday experience. Instead, create something personalized or creative that can show those around you how much they mean to you.

This festive season, don’t let holiday stress and anxiety take all the fun out of what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Get moving, eat right, plan ahead, and act generously, and you’ll bring a sense of levity and fun to the months ahead!

How Premium Gifts can uplift Employees

Premium gifts serve the basic purpose of your standard gifts, to reward good behavior and encourage your employees to strive for more.  Encouraging this type of behavior will make your employees feel respected and appreciated.  It will also help determine who wants to develop their career for the long term. Here are some reasons to give your employees the not just gifts, but Premium Gifts!

Thank you gifts

Numerous studies have often said employees love when their manager tells them “good job!” A thank you gift can go a long way to improving employee morale. It doesn’t have to be over the top or too expensive either.  It just simply has to display how thankful you are to have them on your team.  Consider a pen and journal set with a special thank you message.

Top Performer Gifts

everyone knows the saying of “Show me the money” but sooner or later, your staff will want to be recognized as the top worker bee.  Reward the person, the department or the company who performs the best.  Maybe it’s a special coffee mug, stainless steel water bottle or portfolio for them to show off around the office.

Most Improved Gifts

Keep morale in the office high by showing you notice the people putting in effort, trying to develop their skills and taking on challenges they once hid from.

Consistent Award Gifts

They show up every day, rain or shine, with the same can-do attitude. They put out the “fires” at work and find ways to still make the office life enjoyable for the people around them.  Need them to work a little late and they have no problem.  They are your consistent performers who you cherish.  Show them why you love to have them in the office.  Deluxe Lunch bags or ice coolers that resemble them grabbing their “lunch pail” and hard hat for a great day of work is a gesture to show how much they are cherished by your organization.

Team Award

Did accounting figure out a way to save on spending?  Customer Service find ways to keep customers coming back for more?  Or maybe sales knocked their quota out the park?  Reward the departments that show the best results and let their team celebrate together. Its important to foster an environment of winning together and rewarding the victories.

3 Easy Steps on the Art of Writing Love Letters This Valentine’s Day 2015

People have been writing love letters for centuries. The time and effort needed to express your valentines dayfeelings and emotions poetically through words are almost more romantic than the words themselves. But in a new world of texting, have we lost the art of writing love letters? Limited by character count and time, we are in a time where “I <3 u” and ILY. need to convey the same message of love.  It seems as though something as real and complex as “passion” has been reduced to a few simple letters.

If you are looking for a simple and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift follow these simple easy to do steps:

1. Disconnect to Connect:

What’s that mean?  Put down your phone and close your laptop. Remove distractions.  Whether it’s “work work work work work,” social media overload or simply just grumpy cat memes, set aside 10 productive minutes dedicated and focus to your loved one.  So, remove all distractions.

2. Grab your favorite pen …and paper too!

Like the good ole’ saying goes, “Look  good, feel good, do good.”  Grab a pen, preferably an awesome “National Pen” Contour Pen with a rubber grip and exclusive SmoothWrite® Ink, then get some paper.  Because nobody wants a love letter on the back of a receipt.  While you’re at it, maybe a few sheets since your first couple drafts will probably end up in the trash as you try to bring to life the right combination of magical words.

3. pink CTRReady… Set… Write!

Start by jotting down some adjectives that come to mind when you think about your loved one.  Then list out how she/he makes you feel?  The journey and goals you share in life and how they contributed to where you are today.  Convey these ideas into sentences. Did you get those extra pieces of paper?  Like I said, you may need to re-write it a few times until you get the flow just right.  Shakespear didn’t build Rome in a day?  Wait, is that right?  Don’t try to be perfect or anyone other than yourself.  Having if sound like you and reflect who you are as a person is part of the charm.

BONUS POINTS: PRESENTation:

Write it on nice paper, maybe a notebook or journal you can reuse for future exchanges between you and your loved one.  Then sign your name with love, and if using paper, seal it in a nice envelope.  The suspense will make your love one cherish the experience of wondering what you wrote on the inside.  Clip it in our Heart Shaped Clip and hang it on the fridge for your loved one to find on Valentine’s Day.  You will have given one of the most thoughtful and romantic gifts of all time.

Also, consider that Valentine’s Day doesn’t stop with your loved one.  If you’re in business marketing, you can help your customers and employees enjoy the Valentine’s Day spirit with pens and other giveaway items in red or pink.  Everyone loves a gift from the heart!

3 Products to Help Keep New Year’s Resolutions

While 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only a mere 8% follow through and completenew years resolutions their goals. By early February, even by mid-January, the appeal of a new year and a new beginning has already diminished as we slip back into the mundane routine of everyday life, the exact routine you resolved to break.

While it is unclear what differentiates the 8% successful participants from the 92% failures, we like to think that you have to set yourself proactively up for success and prepare yourself to succeed.

Did you know that increased exercising, being more organized, and drinking more water are among some of the top resolutions?   And fortunately for you, they are some of the easiest resolutions to prepare yourself for!

1.  Increase Excercise:

Having the right equipment is key. With our Exercise Kit, you will be making use of resistance bands and a step meter in no time. With your progress tracked in the step meter, you’ll be motivated to keep going!

2.  Looking for some organization help?

No problem! Our Non Woven 5. x 7. Endeavor Portfolio is equipped with a writing pad, elastic pen loop, a front pocket, an interior pocket, and seven card holders. Is organization your new middle name? It should be!

3.  Drinking more water is easy… when you love your water bottle.

Our 18 oz Water Jug is made from durable Tritan material, is BPA free, FDA approved, and able to hold liquids with temperatures from freezing to boiling. Available in nine fun colors, you.ll be looking for reasons to fill it up!

While we can’t promise that our News Year.s resolution products will land you in that 8% success rate, we can say that or products may be exactly what you, and your clients or employees need to stay motivated and keep strong!

Celebrate Independence Day Promotional Products!

4th of JulyA whopping 150 million hot dogs will be smothered in ketchup, mustard, grilled onions and peppers. Smoke from grills will fill backyards spanning the 3.79 million square miles of our country. Fireworks will decorate the night sky with bright colors and their smoky paths. Memories will be made and laughter will be shared as 41 million Americans enjoy the hospitality of a friends. home this Independence Day.

While the Fourth of July is an iconic American holiday, remembering our independence and all the sacrifice it took to achieve it is far from a lighthearted topic. Our country, the land of the free and the home of the brave, came at a high cost. Patriotism has been well earned and is well deserved from every United States Citizen.

We offer patriotic themes for some of our products so that you can display patriotism on your promotional items. Your product could be your first impression to a new client. Showing your respect and appreciation for the Red, White, and Blue will reflect loyalty to your country and as a company. That will leave a lasting impression like fireworks!

Are you keeping those New Year’s Resolutions?

Remember those elaborate plans you made for 2012 just a month or so ago? Right about now is when many plans are forgotten. Fortunately, February is National Time Management Month. This is the time torevisit your goalsand get organized so you stay on track all year.

Did you resolve to spend more time with your family, get to the gym more than once a month, or finish up a home project? The best way to stay committed to your goal is by making time for it.

Here are some tips for how to manage your time better:

1) Have a plan. Whether you use an online scheduler, a smart phone app, or a “black book” planner, you’ll do betterif you planyour day in advance.The simple actofwritingdown a task makes you more committed to completing it. Schedule more time than you think you’ll need in case you get interrupted or run into an unexpected issue.

2) Set aside a few minutes every day to prep for tomorrow.Take a look at yourcalendar to see what’s on deck. Do you need to organize your files for an earlymeeting? Going to the gym after work? Pack your bag so you can just grab it in the morning. Check the weather so you can decide what to wear.

3)Break big projects into smaller pieces. Projects seem less daunting when you break them down into steps and tackle them one at a time. You’ll feel good crossing one task off your list and will be motivated to move on to the next step.

4) Make the most of idle time. Keep a pad or notebook with you wherever you go. While you’re sitting in the waiting room at the dentist or are early for a lunch date, you can jot down errands that you need to add to your schedule or ideas about that work project you’re close to finishing.

Taketime this month torenew your plans and optimize your time. In a few weeks, you’ll havedeveloped a routine that you canstick with all year.

Happy Holidays!

Keeping it short and simple this week – National Pen would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy and prosperous New Year!

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