This Christmas, a friend of mine had a problem: she planned a Christmas Eve soiree, but at the last minute, everything went sideways. She came to me in a state of near-panic. She’d done everything right. She mailed invitations early, planned a creative gourmet spread of food and drink, and knew exactly how she wanted her house to look.
That was the problem: the house.
See, she was moving. Anyone who’s moved house knows it never goes exactly as expected. There are always glitches. She thought she’d planned far enough ahead, but the move got delayed so much that the lovely, comfortable new home she wanted to share with her friends was filled with piles of clothes and stacks of boxes.
She didn’t know what to do. She wanted the party to be special, and she didn’t see how she could pull it off surrounded by unfinished drywall and furniture still covered in plastic. There wasn’t a holiday decoration in sight.
The Person Makes the Place
In this situation, most people either cancel or spend so much energy apologizing—and being grumpy—that they ruin the mood for everyone. They expect the party to be a let-down, they act let-down, and they greet people at the door with a litany of excuses and qualifications. The party turns out bad, and it’s no surprise.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I didn’t want my friend to go down that road.
I let her freak out for a minute, then took her by the shoulders and said, “Listen. You could draw a Christmas tree on a piece of paper and put it on the wall and it wouldn’t matter.”
“I know. You want to make the space sacred, right?”
“Then hold it sacred. It’s all about your energy. Your spirit will make the party special, not any external factor. If you act like you’re at the Taj Mahal, your guests will feel like they’re at the Taj Mahal. Just tell everyone the move got delayed, and get on with it.”
“Trust me. We’re coming to see you. You’re going to make the experience, not any tinsel or garland or fancy tablecloth.”
She changed her perspective, and a week later, hosted a magical event with poise, grace, and dignity. It was a hit. Everyone was amazed at her courage, transparency, intent, and honesty. This should be a lesson to us all: when circumstances aren’t ideal for what you’ve planned, it doesn’t matter.
Because at the end of the day, you’re the life of the party.