Once upon a time, a very wealthy man who lived in a palatial home in a beautiful green suburb invited his friends and family to celebrate the birth of his grandchild. Most of the family guests were from his rural area and a few close friends that he had grown up with. Some of his village mates had not visited his home before. Upon arrival, they were astonished by the gigantic house and large green gardens. There was a white tent erected at the corner of the compound with dining tables dressed in beautiful linen. The invitation was for a late lunch scheduled to be served from 2:00 p.m. However, lunch was not served till around 3:30 p.m.
Unfortunately, to the disappointment of his guests, the food had gone a bit cold, was limited in variety, was of little quantity and was obviously prepared either half-heartedly or prepared by someone not talented or skilled enough to put together a delicious meal. The guests were disgruntled and each of them admitted that the hosts would have done way much better than was on display given their capability. In fact, some of the ladies wished that the lady of the house would have requested them to help in making the meal….. ‘She would have been astonished at how great cooks we are! ‘They exclaimed. ‘The food was substandard and not fit to be served in that kind of environment.’ they lamented.
The Christmas season brings with it a lot of good cheer and emotional good will. Most people are in a jolly good mood and just want to let loose a bit. Parties are a great way to celebrate the season – whether in a club, at a hotel or in a home. While the first two are in the business of entertainment and are eatery centres, not all homes or hosts have the gift of excellent hosting. Whereas this is true of most people, I think it is only prudent to host when you really want to or if caught unawares on it, to ensure that you do put your very best foot forward. Unfortunately, our human nature is such that we will tend to treat a certain group of people with more favour than the other, we tend to classify people in social classes and extend or withdraw certain privileges or benefits according to the class we feel they belong to. If we are hosting our peers or people we perceive to be of a higher social status, we go the extra mile in our set up, our menu is expansive and exquisite, and the type of cutlery and drinks on display are impressive. On the other hand if we perceive the guests to be of a lower caste than we, then we give average and mediocre effort. The menu is standard and limited, the cutlery is our everyday use spoons and knives, or worst case scenario, we serve on paper plates and disposable cups. The problem with the second picture is that we feel that we are doing the guests a favour while in essence they know and feel that the treatment accorded them is way below par. Maya Angelou’s words in this quote ring truth in every aspect and situation in our lives. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Do not be fooled, your attitude and treatment towards people is more obvious than you might be willing to admit. It is especially more evident if the efforts towards the guest where half hearted. It is even worse off if the standards that you portray to the public are not the same on display or are not matched with your hosting. So, again I implore you, host only if you are ready to waoh your guests, if you are truly up to it, if you are sincerely happy to do it…..and when you do…..do your very best. Whether or not you have been blessed with capability, go all out; treat your guests like kings and queens for honouring your invite. Get to know
the general preference and age groups of your audience in terms of menu and entertainment so that you can strike a balance and ensure that all if not most of the people are happy. If you are challenged in the area of culinary, entertainment and set up, do not sweat the small stuff, there is always a helping hand in each area – at a fee that you can agree upon. Remember though, it would be wise to get references of the suppliers you choose to use from their previous customers. Ignorance is no excuse in this day of hiring great talent like a good chef, a great DJ to entertain the crowd, and a bouncing castle and clown for the children. Life is such that you cannot please everyone, however, whatever you do; let the majority of your guests have only great things to talk about their experience.
Happy Holidays everyone!