The Tradition of Giving & Gifting
Turkey & Ham, Pumpkin Bread, and Calendars
As the Holiday season fast approaches, it brings a variety of cultural, business, and familial traditions. In our fast-paced and ever-changing lives, and a world that appears uncertain at times, traditions are more important than ever before. Traditions offer constancy, stability, predictability and give us comfort and a sense of belonging. In business, tradition offers a chance to say, “Thank you” for the contribution that employees have made to the company the past year and allows the company to reinforce the values and beliefs they hold because traditions positively impact our lives.
The Holiday Season is a time full of traditions. At Thanksgiving, we have special food, and we spend time with people dear to us. Christmas is also full of customs, festivities, celebrations, decorations, treats, and time with family and friends. In every business, culture, and family, you will find traditions that are important to repeat year after year, and we all look forward to them.
Did you know…Thanksgiving is America’s oldest tradition, and turkeys are uniquely American as well. By the time President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, Americans had already celebrated Thanksgiving for two centuries! We associate the turkey with Thanksgiving, and it has become the iconic symbol of gratitude and a bountiful harvest.
In 1947, the National Turkey Federation (founded in 1940 to lobby on behalf of turkey farmers) began the tradition of presenting a prize turkey to then-President Truman. This tradition remains to this day.
A turkey evokes the joy of the holidays, and the aroma of a roasting turkey brings back a lifetime of family memories. It might take us back to Grandma’s kitchen, watching generations laugh together as they prepare the feast and the great feeling of being surrounded by loved ones. The Thanksgiving Tradition knows no religious, ethnic, or class boundaries. All Americans love celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey centerpiece.
Wow…that is a lot of Turkey!
You may be shocked at these numbers, but Americans eat 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving! We also consume 22 million at Christmas and about 19 million at Easter!
In 2020, U.S. consumption of turkey was 5.26 billion pounds! That is roughly 16lbs per person! But turkeys are more than just a popular meal. Businesses have traditionally given employees a bird during the holidays to reward hard work and dedication to a successful year. Turkeys embody the grateful spirit of the season, and when employees sit down to enjoy their turkey, your company and your appreciation will be on their minds. Giving a turkey to your employees is a meaningful yet cost-effective way to thank them.
Early adopters of the employee turkey tradition might have stemmed from the classic tale written by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol,” published in 1843. A story of redemption where the employer Ebenezer Scrooge buys the prize turkey in the butcher’s window for his hard-working employee Bob Cratchit and his family as a gift of appreciation and thanks.
It’s time to make your company traditions indicative of your respect for your employees, customers, community, and the world. Positive professional traditions will help improve brand awareness and employee respect and morale. 65% of millennials rank a company culture as more important than salary, so keep in mind it is crucial to maintain a positive culture with a shared sense of belonging, values, and vision. Giving a turkey is smart business.
A&I EMPLOYEE TURKEY GIFTING TRADITION
We sat down with A&I owner Kathy Moylan and asked why, many years ago, she adopted the tradition of gifting a turkey to her employees. What she had to say is, “A&I is a family-oriented business, and over many years I have adopted the tradition of giving a turkey to our employees. We found that a cold turkey conveys warm feelings. Our employees look forward to it every year, and I could never disappoint them. Every year we send a notice around so the employees can pick a turkey or a ham, and I hunt for the best price and send my dad to pick them up. We put special note tags on each one for every employee, along with a thank you. Sharing a holiday turkey or ham is a way I say “thank you” personally. Some people have suggested gift certificates, and to that, I say, “it somehow wouldn’t be the same if Ebenezer Scrooge handed Bob Cratchit a gift certificate, right?”
HOW A&I THANK OUR CUSTOMERS
Kathy was glad to tell us about a couple more traditions she does for her customers. “Another tradition we do at A&I is baking my mom’s famous pumpkin bread. Over the years we have added more and more loaves to the order because our customers love it. We usually start baking in October, and this year we made over 120 loaves of bread! We wrap them up and put them in the freezer to stay fresh, and my sales team and I deliver the goodies in November and December. The bread has been such a welcoming tradition and gives us a chance to get out and see all our wonderful customers and say thank you for your business and support.”
Kathy shared yet another wonderful A&I tradition. “A tradition that has grown very popular over the years is our beautiful small color calendar and our large black and white desk calendar. The small color one is filled with beautiful pictures and information, and although it is small, it still has plenty of room to write in the space. Our large desk calendar has more than enough space to write all your important notes and also contains information about our services and how to contact us. Both of these calendars are custom designed and printed by our production team and are available to anyone who asks for them. We also distribute the calendars when we visit customers to make sure they have this special gift before the year ends.”
THE A&I CALENDARS TRADITION
To appreciate our tradition of handing out the A&I calendars, a brief history of how the Calendar Tradition started at A&I is necessary. In 2006, Alhambra Reprographics (our former name before merging with Inland Reprographics ultimately into A&I) distributed a 12×16 B&W calendar to our customers, the only version. Then in 2007, our owner, Kathy, asked to create a “contractor’s calendar.” Sadly, this version only lasted three years.
The demise of the contractor’s calendar led to the creation of the current B&W desk calendar. It was designed blotter size at 18×24 with space in each day to write notes or appointments. It also contains a Notes section for additional handwritten information. This calendar is our most popular with Architects, Engineers, and Contractors; however, customers of every type request it.
In 2012 A&I acquired a new color printer with a much lower cost of operation, enabling us to produce an economical 12×18 color calendar. In the same year, we stopped printing the original 12×16 B&W calendar. A&I then rolled out the color calendars in 2013 with three versions; travel, architecture and cars. We have continued to create two or three calendar versions per year mainly to give customers a choice. Since introducing the color calendars in 2013, the most popular version has been the calendar themed with cars. This year’s themes are architecture, gardens, and cars.
Who knew our annual calendar series involved so much thought? It makes them even more special when you receive one!
IMPLEMENTING A CULTURE OF THANKFULNESS
In addition to the items already mentioned, Kathy shared a few more special treats throughout the year. “More traditions for our company include our annual Holiday party, Birthday month celebrations and morale boosters. I feel that our company traditions are important for morale and productivity, and it brings our employees closer. We enjoy giving throughout the year and feel employee and customer appreciation has made our company one of the most sought after in our industry, and we are very grateful for all the opportunities.”
“I wish all of our employees and customers a very happy holiday season full of joy, traditions, and wonderful memories.”
– Kathy Moylan
What traditions have you come up with for your employees and customers? If you haven’t we hope that what we have shared will inspire you to create some traditions for your company, customers, and clients.