By Noah Parks

Let’s talk about Milk and Cookies.  It’s like a hug.  For me it’s a cold chocolate chip cookie that’s very thin and came from the freezer.  My mom always made gooey cookies that were better frozen to keep their form. Some others like the cakey, fluffy cookies that soak up coffee.  No matter which kind of cookies you love, there’s one taste test they all have to pass: Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.  HMG+ prepares a lot of special meals, events, and cocktails but rarely do we have the pressure of the legendary toymaker. 

This is truly the first experience I have of true hospitality.  When I was young, I’d take time to make sure the plate was filled with cookies, and the milk I put in the glass in the fridge so it didn’t get warm in case he was late.  As I got older I added “guests” aka the reindeer or elves that may be coming along, adding carrots and even more cookies.  I also left notes inviting Santa and his reindeer to stay as long as they wanted.  My parents never said, “Don’t invite strangers to watch tv and make themselves a sandwich.”,  so I kept extending this kind of hospitality to Santa.  I think this kind of innate desire to be of service to others and make a guest comfortable was what led me to HMG+.

HMG+ is where so many others like me come to start their careers in hospitality.  We’ve built community by connecting over our shared desire to serve others.  This sense that we need to provide for guests and the fulfillment of doing it at a high level is a present to ourselves.  I know it may seem like work to the outside, and it is, but when you work in service to others or towards a greater goal then you leave open the possibility that you are part of that bigger whole.  It’s always this idea that feeds our willingness to work crazy hours during the holidays to provide high quality service.  Meaningful work that also makes us better hosts in our own lives.

In fact when I was trying to share with Santa, I was channeling generations of the tradition of providing for others.  My Grandparents grew up in the Great Depression where sharing with others was often the only way some families could have enough to provide.  It’s thought that giving Santa something of yours was a show of great compassion and families taught it to children.  Obviously there was something in it for the parents too since they ended up with the goods at the end of the night.  Spoilers, Santa is a great myth but there’s very little hard evidence to prove he exists. 

Or is there?  Every year there is a weather report for Christmas Eve from my local Radio Station, KIOW in Forest City, Iowa.  They also do live updates of Santa’s sleigh throughout the night until they go off the air around 12 am.  Also there’s been recent revelations that unidentified flying objects kept secret by the government are real and that the government cannot explain them.  I believe there’s always a possibility I’ve gotten old, and cynical like Buddy’s dad in ‘Elf”.   

I’m ready to be amazed, like HMG+ continues to amaze clients and guests by always pulling off incredible work with immense pressure.  Santa could be real, pulling off several billion stops in one night.  That is why I will put out some cookies, a glass of milk in the fridge (in case he’s “late”), and several carrots (for the totally, possibly real flying reindeer), because I want to be be hospitable to my guests even if they don’t attend.  If you want to amaze someone then join HMG+ today and get started on your career in hospitality!



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