My friend said that when she was growing up she was exposed to other ethnicities, especially at the dining room table and especially during the Christmas holiday season. I appreciate her sharing her experience and carry that image when I conduct my Kind Dining® training. It’s that hospitality I would love to see in every community and again, especially during the holiday season. I have mentioned that sharing stories of their youthful holidays is a good conversation opener between servers and elders and for making friends at the table. It is even more important for the staff to listen and carry those ideas to the kitchen and to the administration, allowing them to incorporate other traditions into the daily dining experience. Elders will be pleased when they recognize the influence of the stories they told.
Involving your staff in this way will allow your chef to utilize ideas and suggestions coming from within the community with new ideas to excite your residents. Your serving teams are in direct contact with elders who will love to be involved by sharing their memories and suggestions. It will convey to your residents that they are helping to create a family-comfortable ambiance, especially for those who have no family to come visit them. It will also convey that they are an important part of the community. The manager in charge of decorating the dining room, social, and common areas can include residents in the same fashion, extending the invitation to include them by asking for ideas. Who doesn’t have a story about decorating a Christmas tree, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah table? Communication is the key factor in planning an exceptional holiday for your elders and their guests. To see and taste holiday customs that are familiar to them and some that are not, making them feel more at home than ever.