If you are lucky enough to have a warm home to go to this Thanksgiving, filled with the mouthwatering smell of roasting turkey and the happy chatter of family and friends, then you have plenty of reasons to be thankful. It’s easy to get swept up in the hubbub of cooking and decorating and family squabbles, and to lose sight of what’s most important on this uniquely American holiday.
Everyone has their own Thanksgiving family traditions, such as helping out at a food shelf or participating in a fun activity like an annual touch football game, but when everyone finally settles around the table we all share one thing: our thanks. Some families appoint one person to say grace, others join hands in a prayer or a song. Still other families go around the table and ask each person to share something they’re thankful for.
Having been put on the spot a few times, some of us at Pear Tree thought it would be a nice idea to create note cards especially for this purpose. These little Thanksgiving notelettes ask the question “What are you thankful for?” with a blank area beneath the message or inside the card to write in your answer. You could also use simple thank you cards. We love this idea, for lots of reasons.
First the activity is meaningful for both kids and adults. The notes can be filled out in advance and read aloud, or passed around the table. You can even make a game out of guessing who wrote each one. Best of all, they can be kept! Send each guest home with their note as a remembrance, or give them to the hostess or the eldest member of the family. Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, and these little notes are a tangible reminder that we have a lot to be thankful for. It may even become a new Thanksgiving family tradition.
If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner for a group, large or small, you know how much planning, cleaning, shopping, prepping, baking, chopping, and basting goes into pulling it off. At the end of the day, of course, all that hard work is forgotten as you bask in the praise from your stuffed and contented guests. You are happy to make the effort because a successful Thanksgiving is not as much about the food as it is about being with your loved ones, catching up on each other’s news, playing games, watching football, and sharing the family traditions you’ve established over the years.
On those occasions when we are not hosting but attending as an invited guest, however, it’s important not to take your hostess’s efforts for granted, no matter how calm she appears or how many years she has “done” Thanksgiving. Aside from offering to bring something to the gathering and lending a hand while you’re there, another way to show your appreciation for the hospitality is to follow up with a handwritten thank you note.
Every hostess loves to hear that her gathering was as successful as she’d hoped it would be. A thank you card is doubly appreciated if the hostess is someone you speak to often, such as your mom, your sister, or your best friend. Often we neglect such social niceties with our closest relatives and friends, and those are the people who will most appreciate your honest and unexpected words of thanks. If you’re lucky, she just might share her recipe for that delicious pecan pie in return.
Some of the most thoughtful ideas we hear from our customers have to do with thanking others around the holidays. One mom we know encourages each child to choose an extended family member and write a thank you note to express their gratefulness for that person or for something they did that meant a lot to the child. Sure, there will be notes like “Thank you for the Legos you gave me last Christmas,” but if expressing thanks is a practice you want your child to learn, this sounds like a good way to start. In this family, Mom would then encourage the family member to send a personalized note card back, so the child would experience the joy of hearing how much others care about them, as well as the simple pleasure of getting a personal note in the mail.
Do you know someone serving in the military, or someone who has family serving in the military? Thanksgiving can be a difficult time of year for our service members to be away from home. It is an all-American holiday, a day that brings families together to celebrate the freedom and abundance we enjoy in this country—in stark contrast to conditions in war-torn countries overseas. What better way to give meaning to your Thanksgiving celebration than to reach out and thank these men and women for their sacrifice?
We encourage you to join us in getting out the personalized note cards and writing a few words of thanks to let a military service member know we appreciate the work they are doing and the sacrifice they are making. As we sit down to a Thanksgiving meal with our loved ones, we will spend a moment remembering those who are not with us.
A hostess gift is a little something you bring along to a party to give to the hostess when you arrive. It is not required, but is a lovely gesture that says, “Thanks for having this gathering and inviting me—I know how much work it is!” So what do you bring?
Some of our favorite go-to hostess gift ideas are a bottle of wine, her favorite coffee, a bouquet of her favorite flower, cooking herbs, flavored oils or vinegars for the cook, seasonal dish towels or fingertip towels, the sequel to a book she loved, pretty soaps, candles, and chocolates. We also love the hostess gift idea of personalized stationery or thank you note cards for the hostess. Okay, maybe we’re a little biased, but wait until you hear this idea.
One of our team members ordered several styles of thank you notes in fun colors she loved. Then she mixed and matched the colors and styles to make several little packets of note cards, tying them with a ribbon. Not only have they been a big hit, but now she always has a gift ready whenever she needs one. Because that’s the other thing about a hostess gift—you never remember to pick one up until you’re on your way out the door.