The temperature inevitably drops to zero around here so to stay warm I've been sporting a hat that a friend gave me when he came for a visit. The weather was very mild when he was here so I didn’t think much about the significance of the hat until now. First, it is thoughtful for him to bring each person in our family a gift and second, he’s consistent about it. Every visit he brings gifts. At first I just thought he loved to shop at airports. Then I thought maybe he knows we miss CA and the stuff he brings is to remind us where we came from. But after wearing the hat several times this holiday break it finally hit me. He comes bearing gifts because he knows my kids look forward to it and these gifts are his version of a “thank you for the hospitality” card. Two birds - one stone. He doesn’t have to think about sending anything AFTER he gets back from a trip. Instead, he just pre-thanks us.
Are you thinking: Duh, that’s not new, everyone does that? Heck, you probably never show up without a gift if you are staying over at someone’s house. I may be preaching to the choir. Please excuse me if this is so “been there done that”. I guess I haven’t thought about doing that in years. Perhaps, for the last nine years, I have been considered anti-thoughtful since I haven’t been bringing gifts when I stay at someone’s house. Can I blame it on having young kids? I’m just lucky that I can pack for all three of us and make it out of the house. The thought of packing gifts in addition just daunts me and the thought of airport shopping makes me anxious. I’m barely making it on time for the flight so there is no extra time to shop. Or there is no way I can slide extra stuffed animals and t-shirts into my hand carry because I’m packed to the max. Not to mention, the prices at airports make me want to cringe sometimes. But I’ve decided that I’m going to try this “pre-thanking” method. And I have a feeling that I’m going to like it a lot. I’m up for the challenge to find some cool things that are small enough to pack yet mindful enough to give. I am going to approach this as if I’m finding stocking stuffers but instead they will be hospitality pinches. Let the shopping fun begin!
I also think pre-thanking will be good for me because re-entry into our routine after we get back from a vacation is always tough. Remembering to say thank you for the hospitality can add to the load. However, if we just can’t get our *&^% together in order to pre-thank we’ll just go back to the post visit thank you. Sending a pinch, a card or even texts and emails as your thank you are simple ways to show thoughtfulness. A recent hospitality gift I sent AFTER a visit were these wine glasses. Our favorite Summer hosts needed some because their glasses broke. Even though I sent them 6 months after our visit (of course they had already replaced them) they appreciated the gifts. Who doesn’t need more of these wine glasses? As a bonus, the glasses arrived in time to celebrate the Holidays. Merry Christmas AND thanks for the hospitality. You’re welcome. Another idea for a post-thank you are fruit bouquets from Edible Arrangements because they’re fun and semi-healthy. And for those who host and really need a break, I’ve sent Lou Malnati’s pizza packages. Tasty and unique.
Thoughtfulness is always appreciated whether it is before or after a stay at someone’s home. Pre or post thanking, whatever you can do - just keep it going strong.