Tag Archive | "Holidays"

“The Perfect Host”


Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer

Baby, it’s cold outside – but there’s a difference between being the Perfect Host and simply providing the place for your holiday celebrations. Even more importantly, in the 21st century there are far more things to deal with. From Wi-Fi passwords, numerous remotes, home theaters, and maybe even the coffee maker – odds are your friends or family coming for the holidays will have at least a few questions. Your best bet: Prepare for everything and stay 5 steps ahead so you can be the host with the most, sipping your holiday cocktail (see our HOSTwifiHoliday Cocktail Guide which appeared in the November 15 issue of Fenuxe which also featured our excellent gift guide) and smiling as your guests enjoy their stay. Remember: The key to being a great host is to have fun, so take these steps to ensure that you will be able to relax and enjoy the company.

Prep Work
Most people think only of preparation for a party, but they don’t consider preparation of information for their guests. Especially if you have people staying with you, prepare a guest guide with everything from your and your partner’s cell numbers to the Wi-Fi password and instructionsHOSTStarbucks for the remote. You might also want to leave directions to your local gas station, Whole Foods, and Starbucks for them along with a map of the immediate area – ya know, just in case. Print this on nice paper stock from Paper Source in Virginia Highlands, or even drop into your local office store for some great options. Check your word processing program for easy templates or even look online for the one that you like best. Not only will they be impressed, your friends and family will wonder how long you have considered opening your own B & B.

Stock Up, Stockings Up
Before you hang even the first decoration be sure that you have anticipated your guests every need in advance. Too often we worry about the presentation and not enough about the preparation. The fact is that without adequate towels, linens, toiletries, and other necessary items (toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, soap, and maybe even some pain relievers and antacids) you’ll spend most of your time together making runs to the store and not enjoying your time together. Consider creating a small guest HOSThangerbasket with travel-sized toiletries like these. Help make your guests feel autonomous and they will also feel comfortable and at home: No one likes to pester their host.

Let ‘Em Breathe
Don’t make your guests live out of their suitcase. Be sure to provide a room with a dresser, luggage rack, or at least a closet with hangers so your guests aren’t digging for their clothes and going around in wrinkled clothing.

Recharge Their Batteries
Provide plenty of easy-to-prepare breakfast foods such as cereals, pastries, and bagels as well as coffee, HOSTpowerstripcreamer, and tea. Although lunch and dinner are fairly organized, breakfasts can be tricky and the timing isn’t always in synch, so provide easy options that everyone will enjoy. As well, consider gadgets, gizmos, and even the occasional gps. In our day and age everyone has something that will need to be charged, so be sure to pick up or set out an empty power strip for mass charging. A charging station, carefully placed so as not to be visually unappealing, will be just the stroke of genius that will surprise and impress your visitors.

Surprise, SurpriseHOSTcentennial
Prepare a list of interesting and unique places and restaurants in your city – both familiar and new – and surprise your guests by showing them your city. They’ll appreciate getting to know your familiar haunts, and you’ll be able to create new memories with them as you experience new places for the first time. Hosting your out of town guests allows you to enjoy your city in a way you haven’t for a long time – as a traveler. As a result of mundane routine you may have forgotten how spectacular your city is: Renew your love affair with your home town and share the fun with your loved ones.

Talk To Me, Baby
As with all relationships, communication is key. TalkHOSTlistening to your guests before their visit to ask the important questions (think food allergies, vegetarians, and special accommodations). Talking to your guests in advance will help inspire you as to how you can best prepare for their visit and what activities they may be most interested in doing. Do they prefer cultural experiences like the High, Coca-Cola, or Fernbank Museum? Perhaps go and see a couple blockbuster movies? Enjoy more restaurants and catching up? Spend hours cooking and sharing stories? Taking the time to listen to your guests will make them feel special and enable you to wow them with your thoughtfulness.


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Holiday Cheer with a Sneer

Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer

This show completely redefines “holiday help.”

Around this time of year (and in an economy like ours), the allure of a second job may in fact be tantalizing you as you’re planning holiday purchases and presents alike. The additional income you accrue for sacrificing your personal time altogether in order to provide for those you care for may offer you a touch more financial security, but it also might just drive you into the loony bin, which brings us to the subject of this fantastic play.

The Horizon Theatre is celebrating its 14th year producing “The SantaLand Diaries,” a play based upon the memoir by comedian and humorist David Sedaris about a stint he spent as a department store Christmas elf. Believe me when I say there is a reason the show has survived this long. Crumpet the elf (our solo narrator, played by Harold M. Leaver) quickly explains his hopes and dreams while even more quickly stripping down to his candy-cane leggings, dark green velvet coat, and pointy shoes… just in time to begin recounting the various and sundry ways in which he was humiliated for the holidays.

Our cynical protagonist goes on to share the different characteristics of a job as a christmas elf, including mandatory cheerfulness, insults, panic attacks, fistfights, bribery, and how many drinks it takes to wake up and do it all over again. (Right about now I feel inclined to emphasize that this is in fact an adult show, and by no means “family friendly” unless you have some very mature teens.)

As the show moves on, Crumpet comments on his co-workers (whose fantastic portrayals of the various other characters punctuate the show with unexpected and outstanding comedic interjections), insane parents and holiday shoppers, and the sadistic pleasure that some parents get from shoving their children into Santa’s lap. Leaver – with his masterful portrayal of Crumpet, as well as his sly, silly, and sardonic style – does an amazing job of sharing these hilarious stories satirizing the holidays. His co-stars Enoch King and Lala Cochran (playing the various other roles in the show) only serve to compliment him in myriad ways with their crackerjack timing and superb transformations.

With delicious humor and sensational innuendo, Crumpet even flirted with a man in the audience, pulling him away from his wife and feeling him up (just a touch) before whisking him away backstage. All in good fun, Leaver and company do a great job of entertaining and will have you rolling throughout the show.

So while it may not restore your belief in Santa Claus (or working as seasonal help), The SantaLand Diaries will definitely offer you the laugh you needed around this stressful time of year.

*Special Thanks: Kristin Gwock, Horizon Theatre

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Atlanta Ballet’s 53rd Annual Nutcracker Blows Us Away

Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer

As the show begins, you know that something special is on the way.

Having performed in the Nutcracker before myself (although never with the Atlanta Ballet), I had in my mind a certain number of expectations to begin with – but I can honestly say that the Atlanta Ballet went above and beyond anything I could have ever anticipated.

The work they did with master illusionist Drew Thomas shows, as their set, props, and special effects are on par with touring shows from Broadway. Set pieces levitate, characters appear and disappear without a hitch, innovative lighting highlights the stage, and the scenery is both beautiful and unique to any production of the Nutcracker that I have ever seen. The Atlanta Ballet Orchestra provide a magnificent soundtrack to the story with the help of the Georgia Youth choir, and the choreography by John McFall incorporates contemporary touches while remaining true to the traditional performance style.

Photo: AtlantaBallet.com

The story follows tradition with the mystifying Drosselmeyer invoking dreams and the young heroine of our story Marya discovering a beautiful land of living toys, naughty mice, cute lambs, and the terrifying Rat King. Showcasing a number of different performances from various cultures around the globe, every performance and piece were complimentary and of the highest caliber. As well, the pas de deux following the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies was simultaneously awe-inspiring and breathtaking.

The reinvention of the holiday classic included some contemporary touches including pop moves from disco to hip-hop, the combination of which allowed for patrons both young and old to identify with and enjoy the show. With comedic moments interjected from the bumbling mice, the adorable lambs, and the Russian dancers, as well as the hilarious effects of Mother Matrushka’s big skirt – a performance meant to resemble Russian nesting dolls, with children appearing from beneath her 25 yard skirt to perform. Even better? “Mother Matrushka’s” antics from 15 feet in the air are reminiscent of a drag performance and include lots of laughs as she flirts with the audience. It definitely made for a lovely highlight and brought smiles to everyone in attendance.

A classic show made contemporary, this is a performance you simply cannot miss. Be sure to take a brisk walk to the Fox after dinner this holiday season and see this spectacular production.

*Special Thanks: Sigele Winbush, The Atlanta Ballet

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