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  • Writer's picturePaul W Skinner

A Christmas Invitation

A typical Christmas day for me starts when I arrive at the Hotel around 8.00 am. With a large number of guests due from noon. The organisation that goes into a Christmas Day lunch means you need to be prepared and on the ball with everything considered. The guests range from a couple wanting a great experience to huge family groups not wanting to have to feed the ‘marauding hoards’ in their own houses. Children of all ages and every other age group mean that the requirements to caterer for all, are extensive.

The team will be serving breakfast to any residents and turning tables for lunch. We only hope that the breakfast service will be over giving us time to finish getting ready.

Over my career, I’ve always favoured a Christmas lunch with a multitude of courses (Around 7). That means that a single place setting will have 4 knives, 3 forks, 3 spoons, a liner plate, a side plate, and at least three glasses. They all need to be polished and perfectly placed on the table. On top of this will be crackers, hats, cruets, sauces, and place cards. Try setting a table for four and then times it by 30.

The chefs will already be hard at it. With hors d’oeurves, soups, sorbets, turkey, beef, salmon, vegetables, desserts, cheese, and mince pies to get ready and 4 hours to do it. Imagine being in the veg section. Just for the main course, the prep. list includes roast, new and mashed potatoes, sprouts, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, and broccoli. Add to that all the vegetarian items, it’s a busy time!

At 11.30 am I always get the team together for a quick briefing and a glass of something with bubbles. It’s their Christmas too and we are going into the busiest service we face.

Noon we’re off and it will be a relentless three to four hours

I always aim to get away about 5.00 pm and once I get home I have been lucky enough for several years to be treated to a full-blown Christmas dinner prepared by my mother-in-law. I’m always grateful for the effort put into this meal although it’s probably the hundredth turkey dinner I’ve seen today and the three thousandths over December. I always tell myself that I won’t see another one for 334 days!

Well, I hear you saying, this is all very fascinating, but what has it got to do with me?

Well, this year, with most Hotels shut and restaurants unable to do the large events, I will be at home with the wife and the cats and it’s going to be a very strange day. I consider myself very lucky and I know that there will be some in our fraternity that will be having a similar strange day and may find themselves on their own, so I would like to invite them to have a coffee or glasses of something with me on Christmas day morning from Midday.

My plan this year is to open a Zoom Call at noon and stay online till 1.00ish. If you’d like to join me for part or all of the time, we can have a chat and enjoy some company on the festive day.

Just send me a quick text, e-mail, message, Pigeon! And I’ll forward you the call details.

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to zoom, drop me your phone number and name and I’ll try and give you a call in the afternoon for a chat.

Whatever kind of festive day you have planned, I hope you have a happy, safe, and healthy one and from my perspective, here is looking forward to looking after 250 guests for lunch in 2021.

Seasons Greetings


W. Bro. David Greenwood PSGD APGM

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