Gift Baskets….The New Thank You Note

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No doubt sending a “Thank You” note is a wonderful thing. Wouldn’t it be great if more people took the time to put pen to paper and write a thank you note, even a brief one.  A hand written thank you note is far better than an email and hands down better than just verbal thanks.

Even better than a thank you note is a thoughtful Thank You gift that will both surprise and delight the person you want to thank. If you want to raise the bar and say ‘Thank You’ in a most memorable way, consider sending a gift basket with your hand written thank you note.

Personalize It

The best thank you gifts, and all gifts included, are matched to the recipient’s particular interests and tastes, and also to how well you know them. The more you know about the recipient, the more specific the gift you can send. The goal is to send a gift that will be sure to please. The “gift basket thank you note” could also be tailored to the relationship you have with that person and to the specific reason for the thank you.

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Send What They Love

When choosing a gift basket, be sure to really think and consider what the recipient truly loves. Chocolate Lover?  By all means, send them a chocolate gift basket like our  “Sweet Thanks” chocolate gift basket as a token of your appreciation. Yum!

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Your thoughtfulness will really be appreciated when you send a thank you gift basket that matches a person’s dietary restrictions or preferences. If you know someone is diet conscience, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, heart-healthy, low Glycemic, or low carb then you can send them our “Heart Healthy Snacker” gift basket or our healthy & delicious “Fruits for Your Labor” gift basket. Think of a gift that shows your friend or colleague how well you know them.  And, there are gift baskets to suit every persuasion.

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Send What You Love

Sometimes you have discovered something so fabulous that you want to share it with friends. You know them well enough that you are quite certain they will love it, too. So, the next time you want to thank your neighbor for bringing in your mail, watering your plants, or watching your cat why not send them a thank you gift basket full of goodies that you love.  In your thank you message, you can describe what you love about the gift and why you think they will find it irresistible too!

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Thank You Gifts that Satisfy All Tastes

Sometimes you want to say thank you to a business colleague who referred a new client to you, for example, but you don’t know about their personal interests or tastes. A fresh fruit or fresh and dried fruit basket will please every palate and make a universally good gift basket to convey your ‘Thank You’, especially when the contents are of the highest quality and are stylishly arranged. Your “gift basket thank you note” will also be appropriately formal.

When sending a thank you gift to a family or an office, you can’t go wrong with a fun basket filled with lots of treats and snacks. Everyone has different tastes and variety can be the best approach in this particular situation. Think about finding a gift with products that are easy to share; that can be put in an office lunchroom or in the family room in front of the TV like an always popular “Movie Night” themed gift basket.

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Writing Gift Basket Thank You Notes

Of course, any gift basket will be accompanied by a thank you note. Just because you are sending a thank you gift, does not mean you should put any less thought into the note attached to it!

There are some tips to writing good thank you notes. First and foremost, keep the sentiment appropriate to the situation. You will want to be more formal with colleagues that you don’t know very well, but that certainly does not mean you have to be cold and impersonal. Obviously, you can be goofier or more casual with good friends.

The body of the thank you note does not necessarily need to be long, but it should be as specific as possible. If there is an identifiable deed, act or accomplishment that deserves a ‘Thank You’, make sure you mention it in your gift basket thank you note.  Otherwise, your recipient may wonder whether you really know what they did! Sometimes your thank you gift won’t be attributed to any specific reason so your thank you note can express a more general sentiment such as “Thank you for all you’ve done for me this year!”

Finally, do carefully consider the closing when writing your gift basket thank you note. “Sincerely”, “With Gratitude”, and “With Thanks” always work well in a thank you note, especially with business associates. These are more formal, but expresses the sentiment perfectly. With friends, naturally, you can be as informal as you like.  Always remember to communicate your true appreciation.

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Real Estate Closing Gifts…Not Just for Realtors

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Real estate agents, property managers, brokers, developers, and lenders – this is for you!

Whether selling a home, building their dream home, or renting an apartment to tenants, it always feels great when you close that sale.  You have tirelessly worked with the client to reach a successful end. However, when you do make that sale, don’t just sit back and relax… Go the extra mile and give your client or tenant a closing gift such as a “New Home” gift basket.

Better than “Thank You” Notes

Sending a “thank you” note is great ~Many companies do this to show appreciation, and it is certainly better than doing nothing at all.  But, imagine how your client will feel if a unique gift is special delivered to their home or presented to them at closing. This is what closing gifts are all about – a way to say “thanks” and be remembered for years to come.

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Who Else Gets a Closing Gift?

Clients should not be the only ones who should receive closing gifts from your company.  You should also consider all those you have worked with throughout the sales or rental process.  There are closing lawyers, lending institutions, mortgage companies, home improvement specialists, appraisers, insurance agents, housekeepers, etc.  All those who contribute to making your real estate sales possible should receive a closing/thank you gift from you.  Also, do not forget to send a gift to those who refer others to you!

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Marketing Benefits of Real Estate Closing Gifts

The benefits of giving closing gifts are tremendous.  One reason you will want to make this a normal practice is it will increase your real estate referrals dramatically.  Imagine the increase in leads of potential buyers and sellers if you suddenly have everyone you work with regularly referring you to others!

*The client refers you because the purchase went smoothly AND they received a lovely closing gift from you.

*The closing attorney works with many people in real estate, even potential real estate buyers or sellers.  You are the real estate agent who stands out because you show such appreciation for the attorney.

*The person who cleans the homes or apartments for you may have family and friends who are interested in buying, selling or renting a home.

*The home improvement specialist makes repairs for you, and also for others who might be getting ready to sell their home.  Because of your thoughtfulness, you always come to mind when real estate conversations arise.

Another benefit is the potential of repeat business when your clients get ready to buy, sell, build or rent again.  How you treat clients during and after the sale will make an everlasting impression.  A closing gift makes the final impression.

More Benefits for Rental Property Managers

If you are a rental property owner or manager, giving a housewarming gift basket to a tenant is a great way to say “thank you” and to let them know you will be there when they need you.  This helps with both new tenant referrals and resident retention. You can also give gifts to those who work with you to clean or repair the rental property.  Your thoughtfulness will go a long way.

Closing gifts can be an effective tool in building a solid foundation for your business!

Valentine’s Day is Coming!

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It is hard to believe that we are almost at the end of January and we must start thinking about our Valentine and the special gift they deserve this year, or better yet…a special gift basket you both deserve!

We have updated and added to our Valentine’s Day gift basket selection ~ We’re ready for the mad rush of sending the perfect sentiments to the ones you love…..Are you?

We look forward to helping you give your Valentine the most wonderful gift that says

“Be My Valentine”!

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“All you need is love, but a little chocolate now & then doesn’t hurt”

~Charles M. Schultz

Veterans Day – In Memory of Many…In Honor of All

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Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans – Not only to remember those who died in service to our country, but to also recognize those who continue to serve today.

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History of Veterans Day

Although World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, the end of hostilities of World War I occurred at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.  Therefore, Veterans Day (originally Armistice Day) is recognized on November 11th.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

On May 13, 1938, the 11th of November was made the legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, however, in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history, and after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

October 8th that same year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

Eisenhower signs Vets Day resolution

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

On June 28, 1968 The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.  Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975 President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97, which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major Veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11th preserves the historical significance of the date, and helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

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Happy National Pie Day!

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Pies…..They are simple and delicious, and come Thanksgiving, everybody will try to save room for them. The pies we have come to enjoy today are a fairly recent addition to the pie history that goes back as long as mankind has had the dough to bake a crust and the stuff to put inside it.

Contrary to those elementary school plays across the United States, there was no “modern-day” pie, pumpkin, or otherwise at the first Thanksgiving celebration.  Pilgrims brought English style (meat-based) recipes with them to the colonies. Pumpkin pie, first recorded in a cookbook in 1675, originated from British boiled and spiced squash, and was not popularized in America until the early 1800s.  Because of their crusty tops, pies acted as a way to preserve food, and were often used to keep the filling fresh during the winter months. The colonists cooked many a pie….And they didn’t make bland pies; documents show that they used dried fruit, cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg to season the meats in their pies. As the colonies expanded, the pie became a way to showcase local ingredients and with that came a growth of new, sweet pies. A cookbook from 1796 listed only 3 varieties of sweet pies; a cookbook written in the late 1800s featured 8 varieties of sweet pie; and by the 1947 the Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking listed 65 different varieties of sweet pies.

There are few things as American as apple pie (as the saying goes), but like many of America’s pie traditions, the original apple pie recipes came from England. These apple pie prototypes were made with unsweetened apples and encased in a not so light and flakey nor edible crust. Still, the apple pie developed a following, and was even referenced in “Menaphon” (1589) by poet Robert Greene: “Thy breath is like the steeme of apple pies.”  Pies have come a long way since the days of magpie and pepper, and are made with everything from apples to avocados, but many bakeries say a classic apple pie remains their top holiday seller.

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Whether you prefer apple, pumpkin, berry, pecan, or sweet potato….

Don’t be shy….Have a piece of pie!

Thank You Gifts…Say it With Gourmet Goodness

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Do you have someone in your life you would like to show some appreciation to?  Whether it is a client, friend, family member, or someone who could use an appreciation pick-me-up…Exquisite Gift Baskets has the perfect gourmet thank you gifts to put that ol’ thank you note to shame.

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In the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives good deeds tend to go unnoticed…it is easy to take people for granted, forgetting to show our appreciation for them and all they do.  Say thank you in a most thoughtful and delicious way with an Exquisite Gourmet Thank You Gift Basket.  We offer a variety of gourmet goodness to say “Thanks A Million”, “Warm Thanks”, or simply “Thank You”….completely customizable for the coffee lover, sports fan, snacker, gardener, book lover….so many possibilities, and we always add your personal note to the recipient….handwritten just like the old days.  Showing appreciation is always a beautiful thing!

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

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“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was a manifestation of hope that humanity might one day get out of its own way by finding the courage to realize that love and nonviolence are not indicators of weakness but gifts of significant strength.”
Aberjhani, Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume I.

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A Baptist minister and social activist, Martin Luther King Jr. played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. Inspired by advocates of nonviolence such as Mahatma Gandhi, King sought equality for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged, and victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind history making events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 

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The Early Years

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood, then home to some of the most prominent and prosperous African Americans in the country.  King was a gifted student, at the age of 15 he was admitted to Morehouse College, where he studied medicine and law. Although he had not intended to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the ministry, he changed his mind under the mentorship of Morehouse’s president, Dr. Benjamin Mays, and after graduating in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree, as well as winning a prestigious fellowship and being elected president of his predominantly white senior class.  King then entered a graduate program at Boston University – While in Boston, he met Coretta Scott and in 1953 upon earning his doctorate in systematic theology he married Coretta, settled in Montgomery, Alabama where King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

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The Montgomery Bus Boycott

Less than a year after the Kings settled in Montgomery, the highly segregated city became the epicenter of the burgeoning struggle for civil rights in America, energized by the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus and was arrested. Activists coordinated a bus boycott that would continue for 381 days, placing a severe economic strain on the public transit system and downtown business owners. They chose Martin Luther King Jr. as the protest’s leader and official spokesman.

By the time the Supreme Court ruled segregated seating on public buses unconstitutional in 1956, King, had entered the national spotlight as an inspirational proponent of organized, and nonviolent resistance.  Invigorated by the boycott’s success, in 1957 King and other civil rights activists (most of them fellow ministers) founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a group committed to achieving full equality for African Americans through nonviolence, with its motto being, “Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed.”  He would remain at the helm of this influential organization until his death in 1968.

Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1956 Time & Life Pictures/Getty Imags

Martin Luther King Jr. – Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1956
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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Southern Christian Leadership Conference

As SCLC president, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled across the country and around the world, giving lectures on nonviolent protest and civil rights as well as meeting with religious figures, activists and political leaders.  In 1960 King and his family moved to Atlanta, where he joined his father as co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.  King’s new position did not stop him and his SCLC colleagues from becoming key players in many of the most significant civil rights battles of the 1960s.  During the Birmingham campaign of 1963 their philosophy of nonviolence was put to a particularly severe test.  It was during this campaign activists used a boycott, sit-ins and marches to protest segregation, unfair hiring practices, and other injustices in one of America’s most racially divided cities.  On April 12, 1963 King was arrested for his involvement – While in jail King penned the civil rights manifesto known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” an eloquent defense of civil disobedience addressed to a group of white clergymen who had criticized his tactics.

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Marching for Freedom

Later that year, Martin Luther King Jr. began working with a number of civil rights and religious groups to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – A peaceful political rally designed to shed light on the injustices African Americans continued to face across the country. Held on August 28 and attended by some 200,000 to 300,000 participants, the event is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of the American civil rights movement and a factor in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The march culminated in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a spirited call for peace and equality.  Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King shared his vision of a future in which “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” The speech and march cemented King’s reputation at home and abroad – Later that year he was named Man of the Year by TIME magazine and in 1964 became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

King’s elevated profile drew international attention to the violence that erupted between white segregationists and peaceful demonstrators in Selma, Alabama in the Spring of 1965, where the SCLC and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had organized a voter registration campaign. The brutal scene was captured on television and outraged many Americans and inspired supporters from across the country to gather in Selma and take part in a march to Montgomery led by King and supported by President Lyndon Johnson, who sent in federal troops to keep the peace. That August, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed the right to vote (first awarded by the 15th Amendment) to all African Americans.

Martin Luther King Jr. - March on Washington 1963 Image credit: Bettman/Corbes

Martin Luther King Jr. – March on Washington 1963
Image credit: Bettman/Corbes

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The Final Years

The growing rift between Martin Luther King Jr. and young radicals who repudiated his nonviolent methods and commitment to working within the established political framework was deepened in the wake of the events in Selma.  As more militant black leaders rose to prominence, King broadened the scope of his activism to address issues such as the Vietnam War and poverty among Americans of all races. In 1967, King and his SCLC colleagues embarked on an ambitious program known as the Poor People’s Campaign, which was to include a massive march on the capital.

Tragically, on the evening of April 4, 1968, King was fatally shot while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, where he had traveled to support a sanitation workers’ strike. In the wake of his death, a wave of riots swept major cities across the country, while President Johnson declared a national day of mourning.

After years of campaigning by activists, members of Congress and Coretta Scott King, in 1983 President Reagan signed a bill creating a U.S. federal holiday in honor of King – Observed on the third Monday of January, it was first celebrated in 1986.

Happy New Year!

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New Year’s Morning

Only a night from old to new!
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year’s heart all weary grew,
But said: “The New Year rest has brought.”
The Old Year’s hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but trusting, said:
“The blossoms of the New Year’s crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead.”
The Old Year’s heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: “I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year’s generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all my failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet peace where I leave strife.”

Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.
Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year’s morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

~Helen Hunt Jackson (1892)

1819 New Year’s Carrier’s Address

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Believe me, dear patrons, I have wand’red too far,
Without any compass, or planet or star;
My dear native village I scarcely can see
So I’ll hie to my hive like the tempest-tost bee.
Hail home! sacred home! to my soul ever dear;
Abroad may be wonders but rapture is here.
My future ambition will never soar higher
Than the clean brushed hearth and convivial fire;
Here I lounge at my pleasure, and bask at my ease,
Full readily sooth’d, and desirous to please,
As happy myself as I happy can be,
I wish all the circle as happy as me.
But hark what a clatter! the Jolly bells ringing,
The lads and the lasses so jovially singing,
Tis New-Years they shout and then haul me along
In the mdist of their merry-make Juvenile throng;
But I burst from their grasp: unforgetful of duty
To first pay obeisence to wisdom and Beauty,
My conscience and int’rest unite to command it,
And you, my kind PATRONS, deserve & demand it.
On your patience to trespass no longer I dare,
So bowing, I wish you a Happy New Year.

~Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

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Christmas Bells

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I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken sonC
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas Bells