Special Seasonal Thanks to Food and Beverage Servers

Attending a summer boy’s camp for the second year, I remembered watching the boys who had become waiters in the dining hall the previous summer. Knowing that they got paid for serving three meals daily, and thinking the job looked quite simple and easy, I applied for a spot on the team and got it.

Within a couple of days on duty, I learned that my fellow campers were not always pleasant or patient. I’d hear:

“Why is the food taking so long? Can’t you speed things up?”

“Wish you’d check back on our table more often.”

“We keep asking for water, and you haven’t brought it.”

“You forgot the bread.”

Ever since those few weeks of waiting tables, I’ve had special appreciation for servers in the food and beverage industry—whether I was eating at the most expensive restaurant or the most moderately priced. These people work hard. They smile when customers complain. They somehow manage to serve large groups effectively. They tell us that day’s specials without reading a list.

As we know, their jobs got tougher during COVID. Temporary shutdowns and permanent closings put them out of work for weeks, without compensation. Afterward, many returned so that you and our families and guests could enjoy dining out again.

Recognizing how much pleasure the wait staff and bartenders give us, I have a seasonal suggestion. In this month of giving, I recommend that we go significantly above our usual tipping percentage. A few dollars more from each customer will let these hospitality kings and queens know how much we appreciate them year-round. And remarkably–as we leave the dining establishment after exceeding our usual gratuity level—we will have enjoyed that meal, place and people more than ever.

Marvelous Seasonal Story About Parents and Children

Meet Karen Chace, an award-winning professional storyteller.

Every year Karen–known as “Storybug”–sends me, at my request, a heartwarming seasonal story to share with you. Here’s Karen’s 2022 contribution. I think it’s wonderful!

Snow Maiden
Viktor Vasnetsov, 1899

The Snow Maiden
A Russian folktale adapted by Karen Chace ©

Many seasons ago in the forests of Russia there lived a peasant couple Ivan and Maria. They were poor but content. They had a small, comfortable cottage to live in; enough food in their cupboards, wood for the fire, and many kind friends, but the one thing they wished for was a child. All of the village children loved them dearly and visited often but they always hoped and prayed for their very own child.

One winter day Ivan watched the village children build a snowman outside their window. He called out to Maria, “Come and see!” As they watched the children cheerfully play Ivan said, “Let’s build a snowman, too!” So, they put on their ushanka’s, (hats) pulled on their fur lined boots and gloves, wrapped themselves in their warm winter coats and stepped outside. Throughout the day and into the early evening Ivan and Maria had a grand time making a beautiful little maiden out of snow with the children, no detail was spared; they even dressed her in clothes from their homes, draping a beautiful brocade cape on her shoulders. As the sun began to set and the sky filled with gold they finished their creation; the children agreed that she was quite lovely. They all joined hands with Ivan and Maria and began to dance around her singing,

“Little Snow Maid so lovely and white
Come and play with us tonight!”

Before their very eyes Snegurochka became a real girl and when she spoke she said, “I come from the land of winter, ice and snow, I am your wish come true” and she ran and embraced Ivan and Maria. When word spread about the charming snow maiden all of the villagers spilled from their homes; a great celebration took place, with joyous singing and dancing. Throughout the long Russian winter Snegurochka played with the other children and the smiles never left the faces of Ivan and Maria.

When the first robins appeared in the trees and the crocuses began to bloom Snegurochka came to Ivan and Maria, and with tears in her eyes said, “Mother, father, the time has come. I must return to the North, to the land of snow and ice.” They begged her to stay. Ivan jumped up and bolted the door so she couldn’t leave. Maria embraced her, hugging her tightly, but as she held her the child gently melted away.

The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and yet not one smile crossed their faces; they found no joy, not even in the laughter of the village children. Spring turned into summer and soon the leaves were dressing themselves in the dazzling colors of autumn. Then, as the leaves began to fall winter slowly swept the land, soon the earth was icy and cold once more.

One clear, crisp night a soft snow began to fall, gently covering the land. All was still until Ivan and Maria heard a familiar voice at their door, “Mother! Father! Open the door! The snow has brought me back once more!” Ivan threw open the door and Snegurochka ran into their arms and happiness once again reigned in their home throughout the winter months.

All too soon the snows began to melt away, the robins appeared, the crocuses began to awaken from their winter sleep, and their child of snow returned to the north once more. But this time Ivan and Maria did not cry for they knew she would return when winter came again.

And so it was that the snow maiden brought warmth, joy and love to Ivan and Maria during the long, cold, Russian winters for many, many, years.

Ñíåãóðî÷êà (Snowmaiden) is pronounced as “snee-GOO-rahch-ka”; translit:


Many thanks to Karen Chace for this uplifting story.

To learn more about Karen Chace, visit her Website:

I wish you and yours a great holiday season!

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