Thanksgiving at my family’s home was wonderful. We had a few friends and family over, and the crowd wasn’t very large. We divvied up the responsibilities, so nobody had too much extra work to do. My mom brought a couple of appetizers, and the friends brought veggies and dessert. My daughters, husband, and I were responsible for the turkey and stuffing and the wine, of course. Plus, we had to polish the silver and set the table--but that’s our favorite part anyway. We love bringing out the fancy serving pieces that had been unused since the prior year.
I’ll bet many of you reading this can relate to this holiday scenario. If you commit to the same traditional menu year after year, the preparation for the holiday is simple and predictable. We like simple and predictable because it frees our mind to take care of the dozens of other tasks that take place in day-to-day life. We don’t have to think too much. A change could be overwhelming, so we avoid it.
My oldest daughter, however, suggested we try something new next year.
She wants a ham because she saw a great picture on Instagram and saved the recipe. She said she’s bored with turkey and stuffing. She doesn’t want pumpkin pie for dessert, and she thinks after going to college in the south for a couple of months, she’ll have fallen in love with a new southern dessert.
Well, I’m pretty easy, and I am open to new recipes and changes in tradition. But my younger daughter and my husband? They were aghast after hearing that turkey may not be served. Tradition is extremely important to the two of them. So much so, that we argued and then decided to have BOTH a turkey and a ham next year.
Ok, where am I going with this? I have to bring the topic back around to events. So I’ll ask this: when you create your event, is your first instinct to stick with tradition or do you consider changing things up? Do you have a board that, like half of my family, favors tradition over new things? Is that the reason why your events look the same year after year?
If it wasn’t for Instagram, my eldest probably wouldn’t have suggested a change in the menu. But Instagram isn’t going away. And some of your event attendees are very likely to see (on Instagram or somewhere else) what other events are doing and may think of attending a different event--just for variety’s sake. The thing is, how will you know that the reason they’re not attending your event is that it’s too “traditional?” There’s some “food” for thought. (Sorry).
We’re going to maintain the peace in our house and mix elements of traditional dishes with some new dishes. Each member can decide a specific “must-have” and then we’ll discuss the “like to have's.” That way, everyone gets some of what he or she wants and nobody feels left out.
At your next event planning meeting, consider mixing it up a bit. And then leave your feedback on Convention Nation to let us know how it worked out.