I am a big Downton Abbey fan, admittedly hooked on the TV drama.  And because I don’t have live television, I need to watch it at a friend’s house on Sunday nights or wait until later in the week to stream it at home.  I have opted to do the former every Sunday for the 9-episode season.

Last Sunday was the season finale, thus it was also the end of my regular Sunday social visits.  While sad to see both end, it was a night I looked forward to with anticipation.

When I arrived at my friend’s house, I was greeted at the door by “an usher” who asked for my tickets.  The lights were off and the “aisle” was lined with (flash)lights.  There was a reserved seat sign where I usually sit.  Signs were posted: “Please turn off cell phones” and “Addicted Downton Abbey Fans Only.”  Popcorn was served in special bins.  And a tray of theatre candy was spread out with choices for 10 cents each.

What a creative way to make a special evening actually feel and be special.  More care and time than money went into setting the ambiance, and it added an excitement to the air.  It wasn’t high tea, but I think even the Dowager Countess would be proud.

I have friends in student activities whose motto is “make an event an event.”  Take their advice and add some special touches to make your next event memorable.  It is good advice for anyone planning a social gathering — even if it is TV night at home.  

— beth triplett

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