This isn’t so much a good deed as something nice to do for someone, and a little surprise, to boot.
Cousin Mimi and I have developed a lovely routine of turndown service.
We come from an etiquette family. Everyone checks with each other on the dress code before a family event, people know a shrimp fork on sight (and how to use it), you call to say thank you for a dinner party before 10 a.m. the next morning, and if you come to stay overnight, you bring a hostess gift.
But now Mimi and I have gone crazy and dispensed with the hostess gift rule. It’s Mimi’s doing, really, though the bedtime gift has long been a favorite of mine. As a little girl, Mrs. Claus always brought me a dress for Christmas, which was delivered on my bedroom chair by her husband. (Occasionally I’d awake on Christmas Eve in the middle of the night and see its outline in the dark, but never, ever caught Santa delivering). Also, I’d be so undone by the end of the day on Christmas, in such a state that it was all over, that Santa was always thoughtful enough to leave something small under my pillow. In a way, Mimi has found a way to adultize the tradition.
For the last year, Mimi has been working at a very fancy hotel, where there is a luxurious turndown service. Often there’s a beautiful art book on the guest’s pillow. Bath salts are replenished. The lights are lowered. It’s a tres romantic place. So as a funny thing, when I come to visit, Mimi has begun to sneak into my bedroom when I’m not looking and plump my pillows, fold down the duvet…and leave a treat. Chocolates, a little hat she knew I’d like, some delicious mints. It’s so fun, and I look forward to it every evening. But of course she’s the hostess, so when I went to visit last week, I brought her treats, too: cute socks, a lovely jar of tapenade, lemon cookies.
Now that we’re old enough to love going to bed — look forward to it, actually — how great to get a reward when you climb in at the end of a long day.
So, just a thought — instead of the same old hostess gift…how about turndown service? A different way to say thank you.
Just a little something.