1. Lessons In Leadership
  2. Thoughts from the Zeitgeist

The Only List That Counts

A lesson from Buddy the elf.

Is it just me, or is there a social media conspiracy to reduce the holidays to a series of check lists? Shopping lists. Decorating lists. Baking lists. “Must-see” and “must-do” lists. Everyone seems to be pushing the five or ten things without which your holiday will be incomplete. I can’t go there. I’d rather count my blessings.

As the holiday season draws near, I find myself reflecting on the incredible journey those of us in the live events industry have navigated together. I am so grateful to be part of a community that faces both opportunity and adversity with unwavering determination. I am thankful for our Freeman team, whose dedicated work behind the scenes makes so many incredible events possible. I am thankful for the clients who trust us to bring their visions to life. And I am thankful for the collaboration of the many partners, host venues, and other professionals whose goals and passions intersect with and amplify our own. If you took time to read this note, you are most likely part of our amazing community. Thank you.

And I can’t help but notice, at this time of year, that our story has a familiar plot line. When one of us is down, the other lifts us up. When days are dark, we light a candle. When we don’t know where to turn, someone notices a guiding star. It’s the essential story told through the ages and echoed by Dickens and Dr. Seuss – a yearning for peace, joy and love and a wish to share it.

In my home, our go-to holiday classic is “Elf.” And it fits the pattern. The hero begins with hope, encounters a heartbreaking obstacle, and slides toward despair. But then, some plucky characters rally the larger community and good prevails. As Buddy the elf observes, “There’s room for everyone on the Nice List!”

Of course, we cannot turn a blind eye to the hardships and violence that this holiday holds for so many people around the world. We lift them up in our hearts. We hope the spirit of goodwill prevails. We cling to our optimism for the future. And we recommit to the ideal of unity through diversity. The live events industry is a testament to the human need for connection and shared experiences. The only way to help solve the world’s problems is by bringing people together. We will continue to create memorable moments that foster joy, inspiration, and a sense of community. That is our shared purpose.

I am looking forward to whatever challenges and opportunities the new year brings. But for now, I plan to cherish the time spent with friends and loved ones. I wish you the same.

My family will spend Christmas Eve all together watching Elf and eating breakfast for dinner. Pancakes, with tons of maple syrup, just like Buddy. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays – and may 2024 be filled with countless blessings and opportunities.

Maybe, together, we can all make the Nice List.


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