It’s unusually warm here in Los Angeles for the fourth week in November – some of us call this “earthquake weather.” The sun is so strong that it burns our skin, but the leaves are dropping all around us.

It’s Thanksgiving in Hollywood. It has a life all its own. There are those folks who can’t wait to get out of town. The best excuse for skipping out a few days early is to say that you’re going east to have Thanksgiving with your family and then disappear the previous Friday. Then there are those who have the annual ritual of spending Thanksgiving in Hawaii. It’s 90 degrees here and they’re off to Hawaii?

And then there are those who slug it out and try to emulate a tradition that we remember from our childhood – but those memories have started to really get fuzzy because the food was never very good and sitting on the piano bench at the end of a long table with a bunch of cousins you never saw wasn’t all that fun either.

Nevertheless, my husband and I are part of that “determined” crowd to have the traditional feast – and good gourmet cooking – all at once. And jockeying for a position at the table of the few who are great cooks and have room for a few more is no easy feat.

“We only have room for nine,” said our dearest friend when we called to say that we are suddenly available and want to join their evening. “Maximum 11 with you,” she said. “So we’re full.” Maximum 11 and that includes us – husband and I are thrilled. She is one of the best cooks we know.

“Because it has to be a sit down,” she continued. “Or it’s all a mess. You can’t eat good food in buffet style, I don’t care what holiday it is.” 

Now I know that this friend is very meticulous about what we can and cannot do but I inquired tentatively, “what about a second table on the patio? Or a temporary table in the hall?”

“The dining room only seats 11,” she said. Eleven chairs, eleven people. That’s all there is to it. Not a person more.”

Now I’m not nearly as formal as this dear friend of mine when it comes to squeezing a few extra mouths around a table. A few less pieces of cutlery, removal of the big floral centerpiece and BINGO – you’ve gone from 11 to 14.

So I inquired around. “Do you add an extension or ‘kids’ table’ to your dining room like when we were kids I ask? Do you eat on the ping-pong table with a tablecloth thrown over it? Do you put two kids on a piano bench? Do you even have a piano?”

I received puzzled looks all around.

“We don’t even have a dining room,” one replied. “We eat on the patio out by the pool. Everyone comes into a buffet on the kitchen island and then we go out to tables in the yard. We have room for 30.”

“We take everyone to a restaurant,” another responded. “My kitchen could never hold a Thanksgiving feast, much less the house.” We’re tight when one person comes over to watch Monday night football.”

“I live in a townhouse,” said another. “There’s no dining room, there’s no kitchen to eat in. We usually have our breakfast on kitchen stools at the counter and eat most of our other meals out. On Thanksgiving it’s all one big room. You just put the table in the middle and leave the rest to the imagination.”

“We’re remodeling,” said another. “Our kitchen won’t be ready until Christmas or later. Who can even think about having anyone over, much less for Thanksgiving?”

I pondered all of these responses and realized that I am on to something. Thanksgiving is a great time for lead generation!

So Mr. and Ms. real estate agent, I have some great insight for you. Instead of heading off on a “quiet week” to Palm Springs or Mexico, call your old clients and ask them what they’re doing for Thanksgiving. I’m certain you’ll get enough leads in your coffers to last way into the New Year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Julie Brosterman has spent the past 15 years in the real estate and mortgage technology industry and is on hiatus in her new life as founder and owner of Women & Wine. She can be reached at juliebrosterman@womenandwine.net. She also notes that there are still villas in the wine country available for rent through the holiday season.

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