September 2014 | PlanetChristmas 73 in July, we thought they were a strange group with all the odd outfits they were wearing. For non-Christmas Expo attendees there was an $8 cover charge to get in the vendor hall so I heard some rumblings about it from two vendors. Other vendors loved the cover charge because it kept away the time killers not inter-ested in decorating. I didn’t care because ven-dor hall access was part of my show package. After a day of attending classes I’d head for the hotel room that happened to be right next to the convention center. The beach kept call-ing my name so I walked it every evening in my bare feet. Wonderful! I even ventured to a casino and somehow left with just a little more money than when I entered. When I got back to the hotel there were always Christmas deco-rators in the lobby talking, laughing, sharing ideas and just enjoying each other’s company. I loved it. My only real complaint was the Biloxi humidity. I’m pretty sure they found a way to get it above 100%. Sunday morning I headed back to the airport and had a good flight home. No hassles at all. What made Christmas Expo different than the rest? It took me awhile to figure out it was all about the people and networking opportu-nities. The classes weren’t overly technical and the people I met were so friendly. I talked to attendees from Canada and somewhere down in central America. Everyone wanted to share information so we could all get better. I’ll have to admit talking to the Disney guy was the highlight for me but then again, signing up to be considered for a national TV show wasn’t too bad, either. Was the trip to Christmas Expo worth it? Definitely! Talking with so many others so eager to help was a delight. Overall I’d give the event a solid B+ or maybe an A-. The only thing to make it better might be to stick to live pre-senters and avoid the video conference calls. Pixel Tree at Christmas Expo in the Light-O-Rama booth in Biloxi Academy or Expo? Would I recommend attending either the Texas Ultimate Academy or Christmas Expo? The shows are similar in many ways. The Academy seemed to focus on the nuts and bolts of decorating while Christmas Expo focused on the overall experience. I can’t help but think combining the shows makes sense. Maybe it becomes Christmas Expo Academy with sev-eral days of all things Christmas. What’s not to like? If you can attend either show in the future, do it. Would I recommend one show above the other? Well, maybe, depending on what you want to accomplish. If you’re super detail ori-ented, the Texas Academy might be a good bet. If you’re looking for great ideas, networking opportunities and want an overall family expe-rience, then Christmas Expo is the way to go. I can’t wait for 2015.
PlanetChristmas Magazine September 2014
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