One endearing custom regularly modeled on Downton Abbey is the gathering of the household outside the door to welcome guests. The family members and servants wait as the cars approach the house and the guests disembark.
The quiet formality marks the moment, punctuates the arrival.
I like these manners, I guess, because they are familiar. I have my own house rule: when a scheduled guest arrives I want to be outside my house, focused on my guest’s arrival. I want my posture to say, “this—THIS—is the highlight of my day!” The risotto may need stirring, but that’s unimportant compared to a direct look, a smile, a welcoming hug or handshake.
I’m not as careful about rising when a guest/older person walks into the room; I didn’t grow up with this point of etiquette. But it’s not too late to cultivate it.
It started with a Klutz Pop Bead Critters Activity Book that I got for visiting kids to play with. Seldom is there a toy, game, book or activity that has universal appeal. But every kid that has crossed our threshold has had a blast putting the beads together. They find the different textures, sizes and colors appealing.
When I saw the small success of the beads that came with the book, I got this bucket of B. Pop-Arty Beads. Gracious! I now know what it feels to be a rock star! My husband and I try hard to buy toys without batteries. Especially fun toys without batteries. And this fits the ticket.
Because I am in essence a second-grader whose hand flies up when the teacher asks who wants to be first at show-and-tell, I am compelled to share this with you. I don’t think I’ve ever before written a blog post about a toy.
1) For folks without children in the home, it always helps to have a space for things that interest kids. In my growing up years there it was the bottom drawer of a sideboard in our dining room. It can be a bag, a tote, a box, a basket or a bin. Something for the kids says “You are welcome!” in a language they can understand.
2) Christmas is 12 weeks away. Just sayin’.