Last week, my son emailed me with thanks and joy when he read my last newsletter and learned of my plan to visit him in New York City, as his “big present in a small package” for this coming Christmas. (Well, I guess his gift won’t be a surprise after all, no matter how cleverly I wrap it.) Hearing his excitement led me think of all the people–beyond my immediate family–who have given me so much and in so many ways, both big and little, during 2016. Here’s my list of those who deserve some extra gratitude, especially around the holidays. Just as there is joy is receiving, there is joy in giving–even when it is as simple as a heart-felt thank you.
1. Thanking your host(ess) for a party or get-together is an absolute necessity and a measure of sincere gratitude. Handwritten notes by post are best, but an email will suffice–either one being a way to recognize all the effort they put into entertaining you. Take it a step further by bringing a host(ess) gift. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but just expressive of your pleasure that they invited you to begin with.
2. It’s not too much to give a wave to the flagmen who monitor traffic on your street with their revolving slow/stop signs as they dig up the pavement, or trim the trees. I always think of the inevitable boredom, and the tired arm, required for their job of keeping us safe.
3. How about tips? The stylist or barber in your hair salon will undoubtedly appreciate being thanked for the haircuts (or color treatments) so essential to you year round. Or your regular manicurist who always makes time for you, even when you want to change your standing appointment for the third time. Plus there are the restaurant servers and bartenders who deserve to be compensated for working endless hours during the holidays, while catering to an influx of rowdy patrons, large parties, and cranky families. Also tip worthy–for those with doormen–are the men and women who hold open that heavy door, receive your packages, and buzz guests up to your apartment.
4. It’s nice to say a special thank you to the checker or bagger at the supermarket when the line is long–or any old day besides.
5. Let’s not forget the Fed Ex, UPS or US Postal mailmen who brave the holiday traffic, bad weather, whiny customers, and tight deadlines in order to make sure all those holiday packages arrive at your–and your loved ones’–doorstep on time.
6. And what about the person on the phone who takes your catalog order for the holidays, often bearing up under your ire because you have been on hold for half an hour? It’s not their fault that the items you want are on backorder because you waited to call till too late in the season.
7. Those you work with, who make such a difference in your life, and with whom you spend so much of your time year round. Especially the ones who always turn up with the box of donuts in the mornings.
8. If you’re getting around via mass transit this holiday season, I urge you to express thanks to your bus, taxi, subway, tram, trolley, train, or Uber driver.
9. And then there is the effusive expression of gratitude you owe to the computer support person, who bails you out when your software or hardware crashes. After all, they are your true lifeline. And worth the ridiculously long time you spent hanging on the telephone.
10. And last, but not least, let’s remember to wave at the dogs and their owners who pepper our sidewalks and the sides of our roads, while they take their daily constitutionals. We may be acknowledging the people–but hey, the ones we really love to see are their canine companions as they sniff their way along.
Well, those are just a few of my suggestions. I hope you will find your own ideas. And don’t forget to thank yourself for a job well done when you do! Have a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a joyful time with any other holiday you may celebrate.