Twelve Days of Christmas, Six Gifts at a Time

We will take a winter break, roughly parallel to the twelve days of Christmas. (Posting will be light.) Here are six gifts for colleagues and friends, none of which is a partridge:

1. Appreciation for that 80% of your personality that gets things done and is completely successful.

2. A gentle word or two for the 20% that is less effective and powerful.

3. Something luxurious, whether a massage or a box of Bellocq tea. (I’m eyeing the $25 sampler pack.)

4. The ability to laugh at yourself. Is your office a mess? Hang up a sign that melds together ‘chaos’ and ‘order’ in humorous typography.

5. A commitment to listen closely to someone you work with who is upset. The power of the listening ear cannot be overstated in business.

6. A good biography and time to read. (Try Tina Fey’s Bossypants if you haven’t read it already. I’m opting for Grace: A Memoir, about Grace Coddington of Vogue.)

Six more, coming soon.

When the Butcher Hosts the Party

My husband and I visited a friend in Tuscany last spring and were entertained, along with a passel of college friends, by Dario Cecchini, butcher and regional phenomenon. Since our host didn’t tell us exactly where we were going, we were happily surprised when thrust into the neighborhood party that Cecchini hosts every night on the side street by his restaurant in Panzano, Chianti. Samples of meat, stories of famous chefs, and loud rock music got us into the Tuscan Saturday night spirit pretty quickly. Sometimes it’s better not to be the trip leader.

True, Specific, and Positive

Like so many others would approach an elementary school for any reason this week, I walked into Boston’s Blackstone School yesterday with a heavy heart. After I finished a brief volunteer stint and prepared to exit the building, I saw a motivational sign, hung at eye level for a child: “Give Two Compliments a Day: True, Specific, and Positive.” My heart floated back up, filled with admiration for little children and those who guide them.