Gratitude & Hospitality

Cornucopia

Thanksgiving: If you're the one doing the entertaining, it can feel like a marathon. Clean the house. Buy the turkey, plus all the other groceries. And wine. Beer. Etc. Cook furiously for a few days. Set the table, serve it forth, and then clean some more. Under these circumstances, it's possible to lose sight of the holiday's original purpose: taking the time to reflect on the plentiful blessings in our lives.

When I count up my blessings this Thanksgiving, 5 years of Pour Richard's will certainly be near the top of the list. We chose to express that gratitude by throwing a giant birthday party, offering up hospitality as a small token of thanks to our wonderfully supportive community.

Hospitality-the friendly and generous reception of guests-is at the very heart of Thanksgiving. It's also the reason why this holiday is so hard on hospitable hosts: you want your home, table decor, and the holiday meal to make your guests feel special, and that involves some effort. And sometimes, with some guests, that effort is multiplied. A lot. Give your hosts a break. Don't be 'that' guest. As a guide, we've compiled some holiday Do's and Don'ts.

DO be on time. Your hosts have invested days in this holiday gathering. The least you could do is roll out of bed and shower in a timely fashion. Barring natural disaster, bodily injury, or historically bad traffic, you should be able to arrive on time.

DON'T make a big issue about food allergies/sensitivities/preferences. A Roz Chast cartoon expresses this perfectly: a family is seated around a table, each with his or her own label. Can't Have Salt, Allergic to Gluten, On a Cleanse, Strictly Kosher, Vegan, Ultra-Picky Gourmet, Fanatic Traditionalist....Yikes! The poor host! If you have special dietary needs, let your host know ahead of time. But also offer to bring what you need. And if it's a matter of preference rather than need, consider being flexible.

DO bring something. If you have a special dish you'd like to share, this is the time to bring it. Just be sure to check with your host about prep time and equipment. It's not cool to commandeer the oven or delay the meal by an hour without advance notice and approval. If cooking's not your thing, pick up a fancy dessert. Or cheese, wine, chocolate, flowers-some token to show your hosts you appreciate their effort.

And speaking of appreciation, DO say thank you. Really. 'Thank you so much for hosting. This has been lovely. We can't thank you enough for this delicious meal.' Trust me- everyone likes a little gratitude.

Most of all, DO relax. It's a holiday. Presumably, you're among people you love. You're supposed to enjoy it. So...enjoy it!

Luckily for us, the Pour Richard's customers are EXCELLENT guests, and we thoroughly enjoyed playing host at the '5' party last week. We'll be here til 8 PM on Wednesday, ready to help you perfect your holiday plans. On Thursday, we'll be celebrating with our own families, but please know that we are extremely grateful for our Pour Richard's community. Happy Thanksgiving!