GO AHEAD AND TALK BEHIND OUR BACK
The best thing about a holiday is the opportunity to be together with several different generations. Friends and family alike. From the mouths of babes to the seasoned words of wisdom there is so much to learn when we take time to pause, and listen.
Oh great you think, not another article telling you how to do something that perhaps you’ve been doing wrong. It’s a holiday for Pete’s sake! You are the host. You’ve spent the week cleaning, cooking and stressing about how everything is going to turn out and yes, how everyone is going to get along.
We get you. Every year we assist our clients preparing their homes for these special days. We revel with you in how wonderful your project has turned out; are excited for you to be able to enjoy it with the most important people in your life. We are all rosy and glowing at how nice your home is going to be. Then we turn around and reality smacks us in the face….we’ve got a holiday to pull off too.
Baby violins to us you say. We are professionals. We should be experts at performing all the tips we preach to you. We should quit complaining and buck up. However, there is one thing the perfect decor can’t control….
Go back up to the one thing you are also a tad concerned about. You are praying for a good, or at least peaceful, outcome for the day. You want everyone to get along. So add to your job, as host, the task of gearing the conversations to Switzerland mode. Neutral yet ones that everyone can be a part of.
To save you the time of googling the best conversation starters, we have complied a few tips from our search. You can read this standing at the counter…your station for the day. People are going to walk up in droves to chit chat with you. You gotta be prepared.
THE QUESTIONS, THE QUICKSAND, THE QUALITY
How are you? Oh, this is a loaded question! Responses will range from “fine” (so engaging) to a list of everything that is wrong. Instead, try “You look great!” It’s hard to be “just fine” or a bummer looking so fab. Keep it going with talking about new clothes, hair, etc. After all it is a dress up day…take advantage of that.
What’s new with you? Standard response…nothing. Same old same old. Well that is a dead end conversation and you still have so many last minute things to pull off at your post. You need them to take over the conversation. How about, “So, what is something you are excited about lately? What have we not had time to catch up about?” This isn’t a mean, brush off small talk question. Life is crazy and all of us have a little something we’d love to share. How nice to share something fun and positive. Something that may seem silly but is important enough to get a few minutes of each of your precious days.
THE SWISS TABLE
Oh boy, this is the time where it can all go south quickly. We all know the hot topics to avoid at all costs. The best way to prevent anyone ( including yours truly) from saying something that will need apologizing for, is to take control of the topics from the start. Here are a few questions to get started and something we’ve done at all kinds of gatherings that has never let us down!
OLDIES BUT GOODIES – For All Ages
These questions should get the conversations started and keep things light hearted and moving along. Young and old alike can be involved and delight in each others answers. To keep the conversation moving from person to person, (and not having Uncle____ dominate) play as a game of tag and whoever just finished asks the next person to share their answer.
- What is your favorite food…all time, holiday dinners, guilty pleasure?
- Continue with what is your yucky food and why? Taste, texture, smell – tell the story of how this came to be.
- What are this holiday’s traditions in your family? What ones do/did your friends have that you think are great?
- If you could go anywhere to celebrate this holiday next year….where would it be?
THE SECRET WEAPON
No, not the board game or any list of specific questions. Nothing too preplanned other than bringing up a few initial questions. Good old fashioned conversation started with intention. Or as a friend of mine and I say, current events of useless information.
For example, we’ve had several group dinner conversation with this question:
“Crayola recently retired a color. What was it? What do you think is going to replace it?” Answer is Dandelion and what in the world is wrong with a dandelion that it got ditched?
Go ahead and laugh, but this question leads to all kinds of memories, and info that we really need to know. See if you start pondering the poor fate of this weed after a conversation about it.
Simply opening the door with your dinner companions to the idea of Trivia will postpone the dishes for quiet awhile. Have a couple questions ready, and see if you don’t hear “I’ve got one for you”….coming out of the mouth of Uncle_____!
Enjoy your families and friends to the max today. Your abode can handle whatever it needs to on days like today. All the best memories happen at home.
From LBD, we wish you the very best of holidays. If you run out of things to talk about…go ahead and talk behind our backs. We are honored to be part of your party line. Speaking of party lines…get someone who had one to tell our techie kids what that was!