When it comes to gifts, I am NOT the best at giving the people who are close to me a significant gift. Whether the occasion is for a birthday or Christmas, I pretty much suck. I am filled with anxiety. I totally over think it. Or worse, I wait til the last minute and try to throw the Hail Mary pass.  No matter what, the results are always the same: crappy gifts. 

HOWEVER, if you want to see a grown woman giddy about gifts, ask me what I am giving the teachers for Earth Day or Thanksgiving.  I LIVE to give small, tiny tokens of appreciation gifts. I love everything about these little gestures of thanks for people who do so much for me and my children.  While I primarily think of teachers, I usually pick up extra gifts to let my neighbor, housekeeper, mail carrier and piano teacher know that I’m grateful for their help too.  

The thrill of these gifts, to me, is getting something great at the right cost.  Enough not to be cheesy cheap but also not over-the-top because I need to pace myself.  I want to show this appreciation the whole year long. I try to include every teacher and some administrators so it adds up for every holiday.

I call these gifts THOUGHTFUL PINCHES.  They are just a pinch of thoughtfulness. Not the pressure to give a WORLD of thanks, only a pinch. I find holidays to be the best bench markers of when to show my appreciation, but showing this gesture anytime is what makes saying thanks a stress-free activity.  

If you don’t have children in school but have a hair stylist, a dog walker, a barista or an office assistant, these are all people who love to be told that you appreciate them as well.  Of course tipping is encouraged but adding a pinch is more of a "Thank-You" vs. a "Here's-Your-20%."   

Whatever you do to let your “village” know you appreciate them, feel good about it and look forward to the next time you can show them again.



A pinch about me...

                                                                PHOTO BY THOMAS PELLICER

                                                                PHOTO BY THOMAS PELLICER

I loved, loved, loved Home Economics at Esperanza High School in Southern California. Not sure what they call Home Ec these days but back in my day we learned to sew and cook and I loved it!  Funny how watching Joan Collins in the show Dynasty, changed my path from wanting to be Holly Hobbie to wanting to be a rich bitch (Alexis Carrington Colby) in the business world.  Honest truth: I did not take the typing course at school because I really thought my secretary would do all my typing.  My whole focus from high school thru college was BUSINESS!!  So my shot at the business world ranged from a nice long stint as a media buyer, a year as a talent agent in Chicago and working at a TV station selling airtime in Miami. Business burnout. Decided teaching pre-schoolers was going to be my life-long passion.  To be a teacher takes a lot more than just knowledge, which is why I will always respect teachers - I only lasted 2.5 years!  I decided to go back to my first love, Home Ec. I made it to the second round of tryouts for Martha Stewart's TV show called Domestic Diva.  Every time I look at Bethenny Frankel I think, that could be me - she made it to the finals for the one and only season of the show.  Then she hit GOLD.  Sigh.  

Soon after becoming a Weight Watcher member, I became a leader and I decided I needed to write a book for children. So I wrote a series of 5 interactive health books and hoped that once the kids were old enough to go to school, I would be a majorly published author hanging out with J.K. Rowling. As I continued to work on the series, I became passionate about living a sustainable lifestyle; buying local, organic and/or free-trade products and reclaiming everyday household items. My books take a preventive approach to addressing childhood obesity and encourages children to form healthy eating and daily routine habits. I will let you know when I'm published. 

Today, as the mother of Bella and Beau, I strive like millions of other mothers, to re-define myself.   I don't want to be the person I was pre-mama days - I am much wiser now.  I want to be a person who contributes to my family, to my community, to my society.  Friends tell me to start a business with all the gifts I give to teachers. A business? Selling what - thoughtfulness and gratefulness?  Writing a blog in hopes to inspire people to spread thoughtfulness and gratefulness seems like a better fit for now.

Holly Hobbie. Alexis Carrington Colby. Martha Stewart. J.K. Rowling. I'm no where near any of these gals but this is definitely my kind of re-defined.