By this time next week all tricks and treats will have been handed out as we get ready to take on November. November is a busy month - whether that be through work, business or family and friends - you barely have time to catch your breath. I don’t know about you but I always feel that once Halloween has passed its a speed race to the finish line (the end of the year).
November starts off with Day of the Dead celebrations. Similar to what you may have seen in the Pixar movie “Coco” - this is a celebration honoring a family member that is no longer with us. This traditional Mexican holiday is colorful and festive despite its context. You will see a lot of sugar skulls and bright jewel tone colors adorning altars of loved ones and ancestors who have passed away.
While I have always enjoyed “Dia de Los Muertos” as it’s named in Spanish, this is the first year where I will be celebrating in honor of my grandmother Francisca Llamas or Frances Flames as she used to call herself on occasion (IYKYK). On February 27th (the day right after my birthday) of this year, my 99 year old abuelita took her final breath while I held her hand. She was surrounded by a large family whose collective grief was palpable. My grandmother is the woman who raised me, gave me stability and undying love throughout my life. I didn’t have a mother in the traditional sense but I had my grandmother, that was more than enough.
A few days before her passing - we were able to exchange the last audible words we would say to each other. We knew this would probably be one of our last conversations. I thanked her for the foundation and support she gave me for the first 40 years of my life. Through tears I told her what a great life I have; I own a business I love, a healthy family and that I am well cared for and loved. She can rest in peace knowing that our ancestral legacy will carry on long after her absence. We held each other's gaze. The next phrase to come out of her mouth was so typical of her personality; “well you don’t have to cry about it”. I laughed. She smirked. Today, through tears, I can still laugh.
There is something about the Dia de Los Muertos tradition that can lend itself to healing. Rather than mourn- we celebrate their life and the ascension to the next level. Yes, I am sure there will be some sadness but I hope that the love, appreciation and memories outweigh the sadness. I don’t want to hear her voice telling me not to cry about it. :) I look forward to lovingly constructing an altar that would make her smile. I will try to remember to take pictures and share them here at some point.
On November 15th the circle of life continues as we celebrate my daughter, Natalia’s 17th birthday. Nine out of ten visits to my grandmother's house, Natalia accompanied me. Many of her childhood memories are with her, of her meals (albondiga soup was her favorite) and Mexican strawberry wrapped candy; it is the first major loss in her life as well.
Like many other legacies - ours is embedded in hard work and doing our best for the generations to come. My daughter is my grandmother's legacy. My grandmother lost her mom when she was 8 years old. She grew up in poverty most of her life - despite an enviable work ethic. She never had the opportunity to venture far from her surroundings. My daughter on the other hand has traveled between Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard every summer since she was 5 years old. She has been to France and Belgium and has had more enriching life experiences at her age than we ever did. In celebrating my daughters birthday this year - we are also celebrating my abuelita. I am her legacy, Natalia is her legacy and as such we will keep her alive through our wins and accomplishments.
After we celebrate my daughter's birthday there is only a week and a couple days left before Thanksgiving. This can be a stressful time for many as they prepare to travel, host, cook, shop etc. Not to mention getting through the holiday gift list. Hopefully as a Tinsel & Bow client/friend you have already started - if not yet completed - your holiday purchases.
To make things easier we have created a gift list planning spreadsheet to keep track of your progress. To make things even easier, fill out your spreadsheet, e-mail it to us and let us do the work for you. Use that time to spend with loved ones you don’t see often or partaking in activities that you would normally be too busy for otherwise. I am sure you can find plenty of ways to better spend your time - start planning for that instead :)
Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude not only historically but in practice too. There are reminders everywhere to enrich your life with gratitude. Research shows that a daily practice of gratitude can:
Gratitude allows celebration of the present.
Gratitude blocks toxic emotions (envy, resentment, regret, depression)
Grateful people are more stress-resilient
Gratitude strengthens social ties and self-worth
There are even gratitude journals & products to help make this as easy as possible. Check out some examples on Amazon. These make great gifts for hosts, neighbors, guests etc.
Speaking of gifts and Thanksgiving let’s talk about the do’s and don’t of host/hostess gifts during this season.
-DO ship your gift ahead of time - gives the host an opportunity to use or display the gift before the event.
-DON’T forget to send anything at all
-DO give flowers or plants in their own vases and pots
-DON’T make the hostess have to find a vase or pot while entertaining
-DO give something that is practical but also luxurious - a bottle of olive oil is universally used, one of highest quality and aesthetically pleasing, however takes it to another level.
-DON’T buy a last minute gift at the gas station - it's more obvious than not that little thought went into the process.
-DO give us a call if you need a hostess gift - we have options online or we can curate a few options for you
-DON’T forget to do your gift shopping early
We wouldn’t be Tinsel & Bow without a little gift to give. So if you want to wow your dinner mates with some riveting conversation here are some fun facts to know and share about Thanksgiving:
Here are a few fun facts about Thanksgiving to share around the dinner table.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over a three day harvest festival. It included 50 Pilgrims, 90 Wampanoag Indians, and lasted three days. It is believed by historians that only five women were present.
Turkey wasn’t on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish were likely served, alongside pumpkins and cranberries (but not pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce!).
There are four towns in the United States named “Turkey.” They can be found in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.
The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500.
More than 54 million Americans are expected to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. That’s up 4.8% from last year.
Thanksgiving is a holiday intended to symbolize an alliance between European colonies and Native Americans
Nearly $1 billion dollars was spent on turkeys for Thanksgiving in 2021
Although Thanksgiving has a historical meaning, 67% of Americans say they view Thanksgiving as simply; a day to give thanks
The turkeys that get pardoned by the US president every year get treated like celebrities
It’s estimated that Americans eat 50 million pumpkin pies around Thanksgiving every year
In 2020, farmers raised 224 million turkeys and produced 5.7 billion pounds of ready-to-cook turkey. That’s an average of 26 pounds of meat per bird. Last year, total turkey production was worth an estimated $5.1 billion.
In 2020, the US produced 3.4 billion pounds of sweet potatoes. Farmers sold $588 million worth of sweet potatoes.
In 2020, the US produced 7.8 million barrels of cranberries, down 1.1 million from the 2018 figure of 8.9 million barrels. Barrels can hold 100 pounds of cranberries.
In 2020, the US produced 47 billion pounds of potatoes. The value of all potatoes sold in 2020 was $3.7 billion, an 8% decrease from 2019.
In 2020, the US produced 1.7 billion pounds of snap beans. Eighteen percent of snap beans produced in the US are for fresh use, while the rest are processed by canning or freezing.
Before we sign off and officially begin November I want to share some of the things Tinsel & Bow is grateful for:
Tisa- Projects and Operations - Actually Tisa does a little of everything around here. Since joining our team over a year ago, we have all the workflows and SOP’s we didn’t know we needed. She has automated so many of our processes, saving us time and money! However, the skill I am most grateful for is her ability to take the madness in my head and organize it in a way that isn’t maddening to everyone else :)
Rachel - Production Manager - when it comes to fulfillment, gift assembly you name it - Rachel knows the ins and outs of spreadsheets, shipping labels, krinkle, boxes, and tissue paper like no one else. Rachel has been part of the Tinsel & Bow team for a few years now. Whether it's a handful of gifts or hundreds - she gets the job done quickly and efficiently. The trait I am most appreciative of is her ability to use technology without crying about it like I might :)
Daniela - Social Media - Daniela has been one of the best recommendations I have received from a colleague. She is a California native who recently moved to her home country of El Salvador where she and her team handle a variety of social media and administrative projects. What I most appreciate about Daniela is her entrepreneurial and giving spirit. She took her skills and taught them to others not only providing them with new skills but jobs as well. She is a perfect example of women helping women! l
Kari & Natalia - my significant other and my daughter. They have jumped in when needed and have helped me save the day on more than one occasion. They’ve assembled boxes, taken trips to FedEx, worked on spreadsheets, critiqued marketing materials, and anything else that might be needed. What I am most grateful for is their patience with me as I grow this business. Owning a business is full of uncertainty, there are ups and downs that can’t be predicted. I can’t even begin to think about the many times my stress level has been all but manageable. They have been through it all, have had to put up with me and that energy more than they probably care to admit - for that I am incredibly grateful.
The biggest thanks of all goes to you; our clients, friends, vendors and colleagues. There would be no Tinsel & Bow without you. I have fumbled this business into existence and your loyalty throughout it all has been what keeps us alive. Whether it's in the form of orders, likes, referrals or comments - every last one of those mean so much to me. Because of your support over the last seven years I might finally be able to shed that imposter syndrome. You are the reason that in my Pinocchio voice I can confidently say “I am a REAL business!”