26 Dec2006

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Today is “Boxing Day” in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries. There are several explanations for the origin of “Boxing Day,” but the one I like is that it is the day that the lords of the manors pack up food and goodies for their staff to take home after the holiday festivities have peaked. Mind you, a little more research into the holiday delves into the uncomfortable side of lord/serf arrangement not unlike the feudal set-up that is still so common in the Philippines in some form or another. While the 13th month bonus that is now mandated by law is perhaps a modern equivalent of this custom of helping those who help us, I generally believe it just isn’t enough to make ends meet. Our crew at home is part of the family in many ways, and we try to take care of them far, far better than my parents generation ever did. You have all been witness to what I put them through in a given year… if you could see our market forays, refrigerator contents, prep work, general kitchen output, baking line-up, set-up for photos, clean-up, dinners, lunches and special events, food-gift cooking and wrapping, preserves, pickles, etc. you would understand why they are so much a part of this website without your ever knowing them…

While I do love the concept of Boxing day, I don’t like to make it a “leftovers” kind of event the day after the holiday. Instead, we throw a staff party a few days before Christmas crew4and invite staff, their families and assorted relatives and make sure they go home with heaving “boxes”… This year we had our staff party on December 23rd and we had close to 30 guests. On the dinner buffet was a 20 kilo lechon, cebu style, a couple of large baked lapu-lapu, a whole ham, pancit, a paella a la Marketman, tomato salad with red egg and tuyo and macaroni salad. On the dessert table was a huge fruit basket, homemade cassava cake that I made the night before, homemade budbud kabog and purple suman, butter cake and a chilled fruit salad with broas… The crew set up tents in the garden, arranged the tables, lighting, buffets, etc. (they do this like it is second nature now).

After the meal, games and Christmas presents, we prepared our version of the “boxes,” sending home with each family or guest large portions of lechon, queso de bola, cakes, ham, budbud, etc. to ensure that they also had a wonderful crewbChristmas eve meal the next day. And as we drew the event to a close, we thanked them all for another great year and expressed our gratitude…and we handed out our final present for the holidays… an 8×10 inch “silver” frame with a photo of each of our crew by this year’s Christmas tree. I had asked them to pose the day before but they had no idea that I would rush to get the photos enlarged, cropped, developed and framed the next day while all the cooking and preparations for their dinner was going on… (Their faces distorted on purpose here for privacy.) Daghang salamat sa tanan!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. wysgal says:

    It sounds like a lovely idea to have framed photos as giveaways, and nice that you give them food presents for their own celebrations. Good ideas right there for us at home — for a few years now we’ve thrown a Christmas party for our household help and drivers … to stretch the fruits of our efforts we invite the household help of our first cousins as well. So we have lechon, hire some waiters (so they get a break from setting up for once), organize games and hand out giveaways. =)

    Dec 26, 2006 | 11:10 pm

     
  2. fried-neurons says:

    Wow! I am very impressed. Can I come work for you? ;)

    It’s very heartening to know that some employers like you treat their staff very well. Especially for household staff, the typical situation in the Philippines is very feudal indeed, and it’s great to hear that once in a while you see employers going the extra mile to bring some happiness in the crew’s lives.

    When we were still in Manila our household staff stayed with us for years and years on end, and we tried to treat them with as much dignity as possible. We even paid for departing long-term staff to go to vocational school, so they could learn a trade (like sewing) before leaving our employ… and typically gave them a “parting gift” like a sewing machine or something.

    One never realizes just how much they make our lives easier, until one moves to another country and has to learn to do everything that the staff did on a daily basis.

    Kudos!

    Dec 26, 2006 | 11:29 pm

     
  3. Laura says:

    congratulations to the very festive look of your annual buffet treat. it’s a blessing to have an employer like you who really care…more success to your business and looking forward to more great ideas and informative topics from you in 2007! happy new year!

    Dec 27, 2006 | 12:45 am

     
  4. MRJP says:

    That lechon made me hungry!!!! And the lapu-lapu just made me want to fly back home at once…. I’m sure your staff enjoyed the foods and the party. You’re such a generous boss to work for. Bless your heart!

    Dec 27, 2006 | 1:26 am

     
  5. sha says:

    my ex boss at the English Estate with a vast farmland host an annual Harvest Dinner with all the farm staff and family invited maliban yata sa akin noon I was the one leading the food service….

    Am sure you keep staff for a long term MM

    Dec 27, 2006 | 4:24 am

     
  6. asunta says:

    We do the same thing for our staff on Christmas Eve. My hubby and I consider our long staying staff family.

    Dec 27, 2006 | 8:51 am

     
  7. noemi says:

    I remember how my parents (we used to own a bakeshop in cebu) would often give staff parties. It’s true they look forward to this. I enjoyed the parties because I could see their joyful faces. My dad often wore a santa claus suit . It was really fun. I like the framed gift idea. I might use it next year for my household. Cheers!

    Dec 27, 2006 | 9:20 am

     
  8. Tiffany says:

    Merry Christmas!

    Dec 27, 2006 | 9:26 am

     
  9. fely barcelon says:

    Mr & Mrs Marketman and the entire crew.

    Kudos to you. That was excellent.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND LET US ALL PRAY FOR A PEACEFUL 2007.

    Dec 27, 2006 | 11:05 am

     
  10. jam says:

    That was really a great party MM=). I worked as an administrator before in the Philippines in a residential and commercial project. Every year, aside from Company Party we have also a Christmas Party for every project together with our staff- janitors, security guards and gardeners with their families. Your right, every staff/crew is part of the family. This is the time of No MAM/No SIR!!=) We prepare foods, games and of course a raffle wherein all of them will definitely win, aside from individual grocery and CASH!!!=) All of these things came from our yearly budget for the staff and to all the unit owners living in the condo. It really feels great to see the smile in their lips and the glow in their eyes; you can feel the happiness in them, for the party, for the time we spent for them, and for the gifts that they received no matter how small it is.=)
    I wish you more success in life MM=)

    Dec 27, 2006 | 11:56 am

     
  11. Lei says:

    I appreciate that you consider your crew as part of the extended family and opening your own home for the Christmas party. Your sincerity in sharing your blessings is truly inspiring. They say that to judge a man, look on how he treats those that are under him instead of checking out how he treats his colleagues.

    Dec 27, 2006 | 2:29 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    aridelros, these are my crew at home. They help me with no other business but our meals, home and marketmanila.com…

    Dec 27, 2006 | 2:37 pm

     
  13. emz says:

    that’s a nice spread you prepared for your staff, marketman. geez, i wish my boss were as generous as you but that would be wishful thinking hehehe. everything looks great especially the baked lapulapu.

    Dec 27, 2006 | 10:34 pm

     
  14. issa says:

    bless your heart MM. i wish you and your family a happy, and prosperous, 2007!!! as fely said let’s pray for a peaceful new year.

    Dec 28, 2006 | 6:49 am

     
  15. linda says:

    You are special!!

    Dec 28, 2006 | 9:31 am

     
  16. Katrina says:

    What a touching gesture, MM! No wonder your crew does their job so well — they feel valued and are well-rewarded for their efforts.

    Dec 29, 2006 | 12:05 am

     
  17. izang says:

    i think, it’s much more rewarding to receive gifts of food because you know that much more thought have been given to them…..

    bless you MM and your family……

    Dec 29, 2006 | 9:47 am

     
  18. rose aka sofia says:

    I admire you, MM. People like you make the world a better place.

    Dec 30, 2006 | 9:17 pm

     
 

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