The holidays are essentially here, and clubs are finding themselves presented with another opportunity to evaluate long held traditions—which ones do we stop? Which ones do we start? Which ones do we keep doing?
Large-scale seated dinners are likely not the method du rigueur for celebrating our favorite holiday feasts, but that doesn’t mean your members can’t enjoy their favorite chef creations. To-go and take and bake meals were a way that club food and beverage operations were able to stay engaged and deliver excellent service to their members. Luxurious Easter dinners in the comfort of one’s home was a trend that was welcome with open arms. Perhaps for this holiday season you empower your members to try their hand at cooking aspects of Thanksgiving themselves. What if this year, you provide the “stars of the show” (turkey, ham, the fixin’s) to go and your chef hosts a “tips of the trade” where they reveal the secrets to perfecting smooth gravy and how to achieve perfectly golden brown pie crust?
It’s likely members will be disappointed (though not surprised at this point…) to hear that the annual cookie-making event for children won’t be happening. Or is it? Perhaps your club can dream up a way to achieve a contactless cookie exchange? Or perhaps you challenge your members to a cookie decorating contest by supplying them with the cookies and decorating supplies and encourage them to let their festive creativity fly! Dough is very easy to make and portion frozen ahead of time to be baked at home. Participants in the cookie decorating contest then submit photos of their cookie creations and your Chef determines a winner! This would also make a fun Instagram story.
Does your club have outdoor space that can accommodate members while safely maintaining social distancing? Outdoor spaces with fire pits are perfect this time of year for members to sip festive libations and enjoy the chilly weather while warming themselves by the fire. Perhaps your club has the space to hang festive outdoor decorations for members to enjoy. A ‘holiday selfie’ area could be fun this year, inviting members to post their selfies on the clubs social media pages for others to see.
Do your members spend the year anticipating the latest hot toddy creation your bartender dreams up for the winter season? Why not host a virtual craft cocktail “how to” with your bartender and invite members to take part in creating a seasonal masterpiece?
Your members and employees may be feeling slightly less cheerful this holiday season—but this is a great time to remind them of the power and positivity of the community they find together at the club. This year more than ever, the need to give back is strong and your club community is an excellent group to tap into to pull together food drives and coat drives. Perhaps this is the year you challenge your members to serve their community in even bigger ways—why not host a blood drive or sponsor children in the community who may be experiencing hardship this season? Are there different holiday funds or distribution methods to consider this year for the employees who may have had a challenging year?
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Big Man in the Red Suit who, due to social distancing protocols, his lap will not be sat upon this year. If your club is a part of a residential community, maybe Santa goes for a ride through the neighborhood on a tricked-out golf cart or a horse-drawn carriage spreading cheer for all to hear.
An idea born out of all the distance learning going on, a fireside holiday story hour can be carried out virtually. This offers parents a break to tackle their holiday to-do list, while the kids are read holiday tales-- perhaps by a club staff “elf”.
The phrase “this season looks different than anything we have ever experienced” is sounding as worn out as that Christmas earworm that rears its catchy head every year. But, on the bright side, this different season is a wonderful opportunity to embrace the opportunity to bring cheer to your members and staff in impactful and creative ways when they need it most.