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How to Keep Residents Engaged During the Holidays --Resident First Focus

The holidays are here, and it’s time to enjoy the season and spend some time engaging with your residents. Play Christmas music in the background to get your Residents in the Christmas spirit.As Pinterest continues to explode in popularity, provide an opportunity for your residents to exchange new recipes and learn to make something crafty for their front door. 

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This time of year is perfect for planning a festive party or offering a little token of your appreciation to your residents. Despite the sound of it, you don’t have to spend a lot to help your community celebrate the holidays – a small investment can go a long way with these fun holiday ideas!

Cookie Exchange. Invite your residents to make sweet treats to share with one another. Consider providing bags or cookie tins so that each participant can take a few of their neighbors’ treats home to enjoy during the holidays. Advertise for residents to bring 4 dozen of their favorite cookie to the clubhouse for the Exchange. Make sure to prepare some of your own. (Emphasize that the cookies must be homemade). When everyone arrives, divide the number of cookies by the number of people and let everyone pick cookies to take home. Everyone should leave with lots of different kinds of cookies. Tasting the cookies is definitely encouraged! This event gives people a lot to talk about - encourage exchanging recipes and talking by making some coffee for people to drink while they sample the cookies.

Craft Night. Provide a ‘how-to’ event for creating festive holiday decor like wreaths (See Below) or making handmade gifts like Cookies in a Jar. It’s not necessary for you to provide the materials – just be sure to send out a list to participants in advance so they have time to gather the necessary items!

Wreath Making Station. Set up a wreath-making station and walk guests through the steps to make their own wreath. If you’re crafty, provide more than one option and let them add their own unique flair to the design. Encourage guests to decorate their front doors with the wreaths during the month of December. All supplies can be purchased at your local craft supply store - check your newspaper for coupons (JoAnn’s Fabrics and Hobby Lobby both have smart phone apps with coupons).

Charity. The holidays are a time for giving back, so consider making a charitable donation on behalf of your residents or asking them to participate in a food or clothing drive. Not only is this a great way to help out those in need, but it also builds a sense of community among your residents.

Gift Wrapping Station. Invite your residents in by setting up a wrapping station for the month of December. Residents can come in to wrap their gifts and all supplies will be supplied. Have wrapping paper, tags, tape, ribbons and boxes available. You can also use this time to play simple get to know you games or stimulate conversation by having prepared topics like having residents share their favorite Christmas memories. It would also be fun to have Christmas trivia questions ready to ask aloud for residents to discuss.

Share a Treat. Celebrate the whole month of December by providing holiday candy or a hot cocoa bar for residents to enjoy when they visit the community clubhouse. Try Brownie Santas: small round brownies topped with strawberries and whipped cream. If your community is pet-friendly, consider offering treats for their furry friends, too.

Decorating Contest. Feeling festive? Host a contest allowing residents to decorate their apartment exterior for the holidays. Perhaps it’s a door decorating contest or a balcony decorating contest – all communities have different features, so use your imagination when planning your decorating contest!

Gingerbread House Decorating Party for the Community Kids. Encourage all the Kids in you community to come to the Clubhouse to build & decorating gingerbread houses and designing confectionery landscapes using candy canes, sugar drops, mints etc. Don't worry they go home with their Parents.

DIY Centerpieces for Tables. Build center pieces using Christmas Ornaments and Ribbon.

12 Days of Christmas. This is a fun idea for the month of December. Take 2 weeks or so out of the month and do RAW - Resident Appreciation Week You can mix and match all of the above ideas. But with a fun Holiday Twist! Multiple events will be held at the entrance gates, in the Leasing Office and club house. For example, breakfast Sandwich Handout, Movie Tickets, Gift Cards, etc.


The holidays are a great time to bring your residents together to celebrate and enjoy each others’ company. Small gestures make a large impact; so, consider using one of these ideas to spend some time with your residents this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

Stay tuned for More On the Economics of Rental Retention and How Keeping Residents Happy Drives Profit. In Future Newsletters, we’ll break down more on the economics behind tenant retention and look at how applying strategies to reduce turnover will have a positive impact on your profits, operating budget, and long-term success as a rental property manager.

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