Cultivating a Culture of Gratitude


While the value of employee gifts, bonuses or parties during the holiday season should not be underestimated, companies who cannot afford these expressions of appreciation can still cultivate a culture of gratitude.

Building a culture of gratitude at work is not easy, but the science says it’s worth it.  Proof abounds that expressions of thanks and appreciation have measurably beneficial effects on employee job satisfaction and retention. Not to mention that we are happier, more satisfied with life, and have a higher resilience to stress and illness when we feel appreciated in our jobs.

Simply put, we invest ourselves and our emotions into our jobs. The need for a paycheck is only one of many motivations that bring us to work. Other intrinsic motivations include respect, a sense of accomplishment, and a feeling of purpose.

Creating a culture of gratitude takes leadership and dedication. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Gratitude is most influential when it starts at the top and is promoted throughout the organization with policies and programs that encourage appreciation.
  • Acknowledge employees who work behind the scenes.  Salespeople are often the subjects of praise but praise for the unsung heroes is equally important.
  • Personalized acknowledgements have the greatest impact. A handwritten note of thanks for a job well done, identifying the specific admirable qualities or actions, is a golden opportunity to inspire excellence in not only the individual but the team.
  • Create a fun tradition for the holiday season, such as a gift grab, Secret Santa or day of the week to be a “Treat Day” every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
  • If you cannot afford bonuses, extra time off with family during a slow period can be just as meaningful for employees.
  • Say thank you often. Fortunately, “thank you” doesn’t cost a dime.  Showing your genuine appreciation for hard work and contribution goes a long way in creating an environment rich in satisfaction, cooperation and loyalty.

We would like to thank all of our clients, partners, friends who continually support Affairs with Flair and wish you all a very meaningful and happy Thanksgiving!

Top Pics from Fall Events


Fall is the favored season for Benefits, Fundraisers and splashy events around the country.  It’s always fascinating to see the decor interpretations that are created to fit the event’s theme.  I’ve selected my top choices for interesting decor from  over 30 events covered and featured in various publications:

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra hosted their ball with a concert and dinner dance at the Fairmont Chicago.  Their “Seize the Night” theme featured lit centerpieces with glowing fiber optics designed by Jeffrey Foster.


A Moulin Rouge theme took on a different twist at a gala held at the Ritz Carlton in Washington for a  Knock out Abuse Gala.  Designed by Andre Wells table tops featured black sequined linens and centerpieces of red roses nestled among black plumes and hanging crystals.



I always love hanging crystals and these make a stunning statement at  Miami’s Marriott Marquis to benefit the Children’s Hospital Foundation.   “A Frosted Masquerade” was interpreted by the wow factor to include tall structures dripping with crystals and centerpieces of chandeliers enclosed in lucite boxes and lucite candelabras holding  white floral balls.


Here is an interesting Halloween inspired reception with my favorite Chameleon chairs and tall black candlesticks.  Brown Hot Events created this look at the Mayor’s house in Santa Anita.

I find that the “Elle”Women in Hollywood events always offer sleek, classic design and this year was no different.  Caravents created a minimalist look with floral colored arrangements set on matte Persplex rectangles.


All photos courtesy of

Food as Art

Now, more than ever, we see evidence of our fascination with food.  Celebrity chefs, competitive cooking shows, farm-to-table freshness, artisanal products, readily available ethnic ingredients and fusion cuisines all speak to food as fashion, art and entertainment.

Business and social occasions should capitalize on the ability that food has to unite and excite us. The power of serving and sharing food creatively has taken on a greater strategic importance in the meetings and events world as a means to engage attendees and enhance their overall experience.  

What better way to increase engagement and support your event’s overall goals and communication process than with your menus and presentation?


Tips for creating a memorable food experience:

Stimulate each of the senses! Food and drink can appeal to our sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing to raise our experience to the extraordinary, so…


Be artistic — Deliciously prepared food is enhanced when served in imaginative ways. Use unique serving pieces that are consistent with the event theme. Serve lunch in picnic baskets, bento boxes or do something unexpected like paninis on a posicle stick. Don’t forget to refine the atmosphere with lighting and decoration.









Be fashionable — Use local ingredients, traditional recipes or feature a celebrity chef preparing their signature dish. Transform the mood with distinctive music.   







Be entertaining —  Invite the chef to demonstrate recipes with your guests. Hold an interactive food preparation task, form small groups of guests who do not know each other. Suddenly, the food and the activity cultivates conversation and new connections.


From start to finish use each opportunity to engage with your guests. Greet your guests with a drink. Not only does it create a welcoming atmosphere, it avoids those nasty long lines at the bar. Whet your guests appetite with at least one tray- passed food item circulating as they arrive.  This ensures  that everyone has something to eat and drink as they enter and frees them to relax and mingle.

No matter how large or small your gathering is, careful presentation sets a tone and makes your gathering truly distinctive.  Cheers!


Tired of Floral Centerpieces?

Floral centerpieces  will always stand the test of time and serve as lovely reminders of your event for several days afterwards.  But if you are ready to try something a little different, how about using food as a centerpiece?

Check out these three ideas for different sources for centerpieces.  Florist Eddie Zaratsian created this elegant centerpiece of chocolate cosmos, raisins and champagne grapes in stunning shades of blues and purples.

Occasions Catering put together a sweet centerpiece of chocolate banana pops sprinkled with nuts and cocoa nibs,  perfect for a kids table.

A combination of  vintage copper cookware with an assortment of custom baked bread sticks, flatbreads and heirloom produce, from Neuman’s Kitchen looks like a painting straight from the renaissance masters !  A look like this can be had by combining fresh produce and artisan breads artfully arranged in your own dishes for a specialty look.


1 Nutella Pops


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