Happy Thanks for All the Gifts Week2010-08-20 by
Is that Thank You card burning a hole in your pocket?
Is Mom pestering you about calling your aunt?
How long have you meant to thank him for that locket?
you ‘I meant to do it’ divas,
you folks with good hearts and poor memories – This one’s for YOU!
What’s a Gift?
At first glance, what things come to your mind when you see the name of this holiday? Do you see brightly wrapped packages with glittery bows? Do you see an envelope with a card, but more importantly, a generous check?
Or do you see a caring friend or relative stepping in to help when you’re overwhelmed? How about an acquaintance or mentor who takes time out of their busy day to guide you through a problem? Then, there’s the clerk at the dry cleaners who went out of her way to get you something on time – or the service manager at your auto place who fixed things you didn’t even realize could have killed you. What about the teacher who spent extra time putting together interesting lesson plans so you’d want to learn? Remember the client or customer who came by with gift because they were so pleased with your work? What about that grocery clerk at the end of the day who smiles and banters with you and lightens your load?
Taken for Granted?
Often, you don’t think about the family members who are always there for you. The people who call you regularly so yo never feel you’re alone. Or the boss who gives you regular paychecks, on time, every month – or the bonuses that you feel are your right! Do you think about the IRS agent or other tax agent who went out of their way to help get you out of a tight fix? Have you thought about your co-workers who cover for you when you’re late, or give you a hand with your projects? How did you thank your spouse, lover or parents when they made sure you had food in the fridge, utilities always operational, clean clothes. In fact, did you remember to thank your parents for all that they did? Your home, your education, perhaps even your car?
When was the last time you said “Thank You” to all the people who make your life so good?
Often, you mean to, but time seems to pass so quickly, have you noticed? All of sudden, ‘I’ll write that card next week’ has turned into two or three months. If you send it now, it would be embarrassing. Or would it?
Oodles of Gift Occasions
Thanks For All The Gifts Week was created by me, Eva Rosenberg, at this time of year for several reasons.
First, By the end of August, you’ve lived through Valentine’s Day, Purim, Easter, Passover, Secretary’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, Fourth of July, and your country’s annual celebration, most birthdays, many weddings and showers, lots of new babies, lots of successes and celebrations.
By this time of the summer, if you’ve had the luxury of having one (say a big THANK YOU for that privilege), your enthusiasm and energy has wilted in the heat and the humidity. School hasn’t started yet, neither has the new job. The High Holy Days of the Jews and aren’t due for a little while. It’s still a long way to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years…when, of course, you want to position yourself to get more gifts, right?
Second, one of the lovely traditions of Judaism is that before the High Holy Days, people are supposed to seek forgiveness from those they’ve wronged or hurt. But there is no tradition for you to remember to say “Thank You” to those who always treat us well.
Third, doing something nice, for no apparent reason, will make both you and recipient of your thanks feel great. (And since you’ve been feeling guilty for neglecting them for so long, just imagine the burden this will lift from your shoulders!) After all, there is never a bad time to do something nice, is there?
For Every Thing There is a Season
Well, that makes this the perfect time to catch up on all those ‘Thank You’s.’
The people you send them to aren’t expecting these expressions of gratitude. They’ll be charmed and delighted to hear from – when you don’t have your hand out. In fact, they may have been harboring resentments towards you because of all the things they’ve done for you, that you took and took as though you were simply entitled. (Read Dear Abby and Ann Landers sometimes – you’ll see some of the pain and anger expressed by parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents,...)
This is also a great time to catch up on those birthday gifts you meant to send out on their birthday. Ok, so it’s three, or six months late. Won’t that make them like it even more? It could even revive relationships!
In fact, when I was in high school, I had a boyfriend whose birthday was in December. I missed it. And later, we faded apart. In the middle of the summer, I saw something that reminded me of him. So, I wrapped it up and sent it off with a birthday card. Naturally, he called, bewildered about my timing. It opened a door between us and we got closer than we ever had. In fact, it led to a marriage proposal. (Only he was just one evening too late.)
Over the years, I’ve done this to people, even people I saw every day. They’re always surprised, think I’m nuts, but go about feeling great all day. You never know when an unexpected card or gift can change a person’s life.
So, take this week to think about the people who’ve made you feel good all year. Send them a card, a note or a letter. You could send them a virtual card, but it has no permanence. Give them something they can save and cherish.
Maybe, like me, they’ve kept every personal card and letter they’ve ever received. To me, those are my most precious treasures. They are the history of all the love in my life – from friends, family, lovers, clients, and especially my husband…who seems to have squirreled away all the cards I’ve given him, too. I fell in love all over again when I found his stash one day.
And to you, my friends, I say thank you for reading my Ask TaxMama columns every week or my TaxQuips columns every day – my occasional Tweets. I thank you for your notes and comments, even when you disagree with me.
Just hearing from you spices up my day!
With warmest gratitude,