The Art of Gifting: Christmas at the Guggenheim

The Art of Gifting: Christmas at the Guggenheim

A few years ago, I was hired to cater a Christmas luncheon for a very reputable producer and studio head, the affair was held at her home, and there were 50 guests in attendance.

As part of my planning procedure and in order to outline the menu and to anticipate just how the event and potential challenges of the party would unfold, I met with my client prior to the schedule date of the event.

When my catering crew and I arrived at the home, we were greeted by the housekeeper who was especially kind and helpful every step of the way.

Meanwhile, at the Guggenheim Museum where my client met her guests – they were served a light lunch and participated in a guided tour of the museum.

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New York: The Guggenheim in winter. Via Gayle Alstrom

While this may have been enough to impress the guests, much to their surprise, my client had a stream of limousines parked outside, and as they filed into these luxury mobiles, they were brought to her home – where the party really unfolded.

The distinguish guests were ushered into a magnificent dining room, dressed to mirror any formal dining room, anywhere in America, and formally designed to accommodate the most discriminating taste. The guests were greeted by waiters pouring endless glasses of Champaign, the crackling sounds coming from the fireplace and the intoxicating aroma of food permeated throughout the house. What a treat!

The guests were elated, mesmerized and shocked beyond belief, a few people were even moved to tears – but they agreed on one thing, this woman who was especially noted for her brilliance as a producer, was able to pull the biggest and best ending yet, in real life – that was reality TV at its best!

The luncheon was a huge success; the experience was gratifying even for me, despite the long hours of work that went into my part of the production.

On my way home, while reflecting over what was perhaps one of the most meaningful work experiences of my career – my mind shifted to the way my family and I celebrate the holidays in our home – I realized there were some remarkable similarities in the planning.

For me, the Holidays signify much more than a material gift, my views were and always will be to share a moment in time with the people who matter most friends, family and associates; while been mindful of the children that surround those families, and who deserve and look forward to that toy, that game or gift.

To that end, as a Chef/Caterer, the was obviously – a dinner party –much like the one that just ended.

So I generally take the Sunday following New Year’s as my personal day to give thanks for the past year, and welcome the New Year with a selective group of friends.

To start the day, my family and I always attended church services, to give thanks for the past year, and embrace the New Year with its endless possibilities.

As one might expect there were plenty of well wishes, hugs, toasts, great food, good conversation, music and more – this dinner party took on a life of its own and lasted well into the night – everyone had a wonderful time, and some even wanted me to adopt them into my family, which I gladly did.

My point here, and that of my client were one and the same – you can spend endless hours at the department store shopping, wrapping and giving a material gift to someone – or you can invite them to join you for an unforgettable celebration – one that is hard to match and even harder to forget.

My humble opinion, we should re-consider the real Art of Gifting, and perhaps make better choices while doing so.

In closing, here is my gift to all – HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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Photo via Yvonne Mooney on Flickr

During this holiday, please use the links next to this article check out our newly relaunched and revamped social media channels. We’ll also be kicking off a podcast at the end of January, so stay tuned for that! It’s all leading up to the release of Marlene’s newest eBook 40 Under 40, recipes jam-packed with flavor you’ll savor, all of them able to be prepped and served in under 40 minutes.

Don’t forget to let Marlene know about your favorite flavors in the comments.

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