The holidays are a time to extend hospitality — to show there is room at the inn. Here is a sampling of with whom Laguna folks would most like to invite share their Christmas or Hanukkah dinner, given the choices of anyone living or dead, fact or fiction, but not a relative.
"He demonstrated entrepreneurial style, protection of branding and hospitality training for staff before it was trendy," Philippsen said. "He was much smarter than any of us realized."
Businessman Mark Christie would share his Christmas dinner with Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. Ditto insurance broker John Campbell.
Thomas Jefferson was the choice of Mayor Toni Iseman, outgoing Mayor Elizabeth Pearson — those do see eye-to-eye on a lot of things and even when they don't good things happen when they collaborate — and Stephany Skenderian.
Golfer Freddy Couples wouldn't be a bad choice for a dinner companion, according to Councilman Kelly Boyd, but on second thought he would rather double his pleasure by inviting Nancy and Ronald Reagan.
"Now why didn't I think of that," said Martha Lydick, staunch Republican and president of the Laguna Taxpayers' Assn.
The big surprise was that Lydick didn't pick one of those Argentine polo players, whose talents she so admires.
Artist Scott Moore would invite Joaquin Surolla for dinner.
"He is the Spanish John Singer Sargent, who is my favorite American artist," Moore said.
Former Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman also reconsidered her first choice: race driver A. J. Foyt. Her second choice: Jesus.
"That is so obvious," Kinsman said. "I want to ask him if he really did all those things."
Pacific Symphony Maestro Carl St. Claire would dine with Leonard Bernstein. Anyone who wants to spend an evening with Bernstein should consider buying tickets to Hershey Felder's one-man show coming in January to the Laguna Playhouse.
Felder's has previously appeared at the Playhouse as George Gershwin and Chopin. He has also appeared as Beethoven.
Kris Thalman would share her Christmas repast with Elvis Presley.
Architect Lance Polster would invite the late Chris Abel. He could fill Abel in on all the changes the Design Review Task Force has made in the process that sometime irked the man who designed the Laguna College of Art & Design and the Lumberyard Mall, as well as other notable buildings in town.
The recently deceased Elizabeth Edwards was the choice of Village Laguna founder Arnold Hano. "She touched me," Hano said.
Arts Commission Chair and Pacfic Marine Mammal Center board member Mary Ferguson's favored guest would be John Cunningham. "He is my hero," Ferguson said. "He started the center."
Former Councilman Paul Freeman was torn between Shakespeare and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, to jumpstart his left and right brains.