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Mindfulness and Gratitude Amidst the Frenzied Thanksgiving Shopping Season

Thanksgivingbrandingideas-thanksgiving-2016 is nearly here, and right after we’ll be observing a cluster of related events—many of which are consumer-focused, some of which are oriented towards social good: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at this moment, trying to figure out where you should be focusing your attention, don’t feel bad. A lot of people are! Here at branding ideas℠, we’re here to help you make sense of the dizzying area of events that are coming up so you can figure out which ones to participate in, as well as how to stay balanced and centered amidst the holiday frenzy.


Black Friday. This annual shopping megathon has become rather notorious for its focus on hyper-consumerism, and each year people get really worked up and stressed out trying to find deals on products they want to buy. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. You can use this post-Thanksgiving period to instead engage in mindfulness and emotionally prepare for the holiday season so that the hustle and bustle doesn’t define your experience. 

Small Business Saturday. If you are a small business, then it may be worth your while to participate in the yearly #ShopSmall campaign that encourages consumers to patronize their local businesses, thereby stimulating the local economy rather than sending their hard-earned money off to giant big box retailers. Small Business Saturday has a special appeal in that it fosters a sense of local community, which can be beneficial to everyone’s well-being.


Cyber Monday. The online counterpart to traditionally brick-and-mortar Black Friday, Cyber Monday is another massive shopping event. Some major chains are even unveiling their coveted deals a few days in advance, heightening the anticipation around the day. However, as with Black Friday, it’s wise to consider indulging yourself in a different way—with a mindful approach to spending that curbs unnecessary purchases. That way you can be sure that the items you buy will truly add meaning and joy to your life and others’ lives.

Giving Tuesday. Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, and Giving Tuesday aims to put that sentiment into action. You can help others by donating your time (as a volunteer), donations, or even goods to a social justice cause of your choice. Here at branding ideas℠, we have a related tradition (going on 10 years strong now!) in which we pick three or four charities each year and ask our clients to vote on the ones they’d like us to donate to. We then donate our charitable giving budget based on the breakdown of the vote tally.


Whatever your business or focus in work, this is a perfect time of year to take a brief pause and experience the gratitude of the season, then take mindful steps to express it to others with charitable giving or thoughtfully selected gifts. We at branding ideas℠ are your consultative partners, ready to make the process of choosing corporate holiday gifts smooth and even enjoyable.


Are you wondering how your company, nonprofit, school, association, or other organization can reward and acknowledge your staff, colleagues, business partners, clients, or honorees with the right gift this holiday season? Let us help you choose appropriate items for your organization that will thoughtfully express your gratitude and appreciation. Check out our holiday board on Pinterest, reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook, or call us at 877-881-6845. We’ll be glad to advise on ways you can make a positive impression through well selected gifts.

The History of Administrative Professionals Week

1950s reception deskAs we mentioned on our recent post, April Holidays, Events, and Awareness Dates to Keep on Your Radar, April is chock full of special events and awareness dates worth making a note of. One such event, set to take place later this month, is Administrative Professionals Week. Running from April 24 – April 30, with Administrative Professionals Day placed in the middle of that week (Wednesday, April 27), it’s a perfect opportunity to recognize the hard work and talent of the administrative professionals at your company and the many ways in which they support your business success.

How Administrative Professionals Week Got Started

Administrative Professionals Day began back in 1952, as Secretaries Day, which was part of National Secretaries Week. It was originally created to celebrate the important contributions of secretaries to the economy and encourage more women to join the profession during a postwar shortage in the US. While secretaries were typically women, in the following decades men slowly started joining the profession. Today, both men and women are among the proud administrative professionals and executive administrators.

Recognizing Administrative Professionals Today

In 2000, the name of the holiday was updated to Administrative Professionals Day (and Week) to reflect the expanded job responsibilities and additional roles that administrative professionals have taken on in the current business landscape. Businesses and organizations use the occasion to celebrate the many contributions of their staff of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and other administrative support staff with cards, flowers, or lunches. Other gift ideas that would be fitting might include a desk set, or an award or plaque if they have served in their position for a long time or with particular distinction.

Gratitude Goes a Long Way

Though our work lives are often fast-paced, it’s often worth taking a moment to share gratitude with our colleagues and those around us. In fact, expressing gratitude and engaging in thoughtful acts of kindness can benefit us just as much as the people whose days we seek to brighten. Administrative Professionals Week, as well as other special events taking place throughout the month of April, is a perfectly good excuse to do just that.

As we enter spring, are you wondering if there are promotional gifts or other products that might be a good fit for the season or a special project or campaign you might have on your radar? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for advice. If you have an idea in mind that might benefit from some creative brainstorming, we’d be happy to share some recommendations. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be glad to advise you on custom branded promotional products that can represent your brand with style and grace.

At Thanksgiving, Being Grateful for Our Good Fortune

This week we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S., and with the arrival of the holiday many of us have gratitude on our minds. It’s a great moment to pause and share appreciation for the positive things or wonderful people who have influenced our lives over the past year, whether at the dinner table or while taking a quiet walk in the cool autumn air.

In an always-on, sometimes overwhelming world filled with smartphone notifications and a seemingly endless to do list, it’s worthwhile to remember how fortunate we all are and how many instances of beauty and kindness surround us on a daily basis. Interestingly, the act of centering one’s thoughts on gratitude may provide more than just a simple emotional boost—thankfulness has been linked to several positive health indicators as well. In a 2003 study, people who regularly wrote down about what they were grateful for in a journal reported feeling more optimistic and indicated a higher level of self-esteem as well. Such a simple act of reflection can have profound benefits.

Although Thanksgiving is a key holiday when Americans come together to express their thankfulness for the people and aspects of life that have brought joy to them in recent months, it’s not the only time when we can express or focus on a sense of gratitude. And apparently, many of us regularly experience this feeling: according to a new Pew research study, 78% of Americans feel a strong sense of thankfulness on a weekly basis. Perhaps some of this gratitude is under the radar and being kept private rather than being communicated with others.

What makes Thanksgiving unique is that it offers us an opportunity to experience and share gratitude with the people who are important to us. Some people simply take turns naming one thing that they are thankful for on the holiday; others may get creative and create a Thankful Tree, similar to a Christmas advent calendar, on which they place a note of gratitude each day leading up to the event. Sharing thankfulness in such a communal way no doubt multiplies the benefits that gratitude otherwise offers us individually, for it gives us a chance to hear and appreciate what is most meaningful to our loved ones as well.

If you are traveling to be with family or friends this Thanksgiving, best wishes for a safe trip! However you spend your holiday, we hope that it’s a joyous occasion filled with warmth, good food, and gratitude shared by all.

Are you wondering how you can best express your appreciation to someone with a thoughtful gift this holiday season? We’d be happy to recommend some tasteful choices that will make a positive impression. Reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook—or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be glad to advise on ways you can share your gratitude through well selected gifts.

Surprise and Delight with the Right Gift This Holiday Season

Thoughtful Gift

photo credit: Present via photopin (license)

With the arrival of the holiday season, many businesses are beginning to plan holiday parties and end-of-year festivities. You may also be thinking of giving gifts around this time of year. Gifts are a wonderful way to improve employee morale, reward someone for a job well done, show appreciation to a client, or simply to keep your business top of mind in a tasteful way. Though a well-timed and well-chosen gift can be a wonderful gesture, there are a few guidelines worth considering so that your expression of appreciation is well received.

Be Thoughtful and Aware

  • When writing the card to go with the gift, make sure to spell the recipient’s name correctly. You’d be surprised how often people miss getting this part right.
  • Consider the gift’s suitability for the recipient. You want to be sure that the gift will be well received and that it will be a match for them. Does the person have dietary restrictions, for example? If so, make sure the gift is suitable from that standpoint.
  • If you are gift giving across cultures, it is worth taking a moment to read up on the gift giving practices in the recipient’s culture. You could find that the cultural norms are quite different from your own. If you feel it is appropriate and comfortable to do so, you might gently ask if there are specific types of gifts that most interest the person to whom you’d like to give a gift.
  • Consider a charitable gift to honor an employee or client. This can be a great way to show appreciation for someone while also making a positive difference in the world.

Give the Right Impression

  • Above all, when giving a gift, particularly to a client, make sure that it could not be construed as a bribe. There should be no expectation of business, favors, or special consideration in return for the gift.
  • Depending on your industry, there may be specific rules and regulations governing gift giving and when it is permitted. If you think your business may be regulated in this way, make sure to familiarize yourself with the appropriate rules.
  • Some companies have set price ranges for gifts or have banned gift-giving altogether. Check with your company’s HR team to see what the policies are.
  • Timing is everything: to avoid the appearance of an ulterior motive, don’t give your gift during a sensitive business exchange. For example, giving a gift to a client during contract negotiations would be considered inappropriate. Likewise, giving a gift to an employee in lieu of a raise at the time of a promotion might not send the right message.

Are you wondering how you can surprise and delight someone with the right gift this holiday season? We’d be happy to recommend some fitting choices that will thoughtfully express your appreciation. Reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook—or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be glad to advise on ways you can make a positive impression through well selected gifts.

The Powerful Benefits of Kindness

The benefits of kindness

photo credit: Atlas Hands via photopin (license)

Have you heard of World Kindness Day? Celebrated across the globe each year in countries from Singapore to Nigeria, it’s coming up on November 13. Originally started by the World Kindness Movement in 1998, World Kindness Day is an opportunity to pause and witness the beauty that a simple act of kindness can bring to the lives of those around you. With Thanksgiving coming up in the U.S. later this month, it ties in perfectly with the themes of gratitude and compassion that may already be on some of our minds. Here are a few ways you can show kindness to others on this special occasion:

  1. Give the gift of listening. In our busy world, despite our best intentions, sometimes it can be challenging to stop and focus on what our loved ones, friends and colleagues are saying to us. We also know what it’s like not to feel heard. Listening is one of the most powerful ways in which you can show kindness to another person.
  2. Ask questions. The other side to active listening is asking thoughtful questions. You can show kindness simply by inquiring about how they are, what they’re excited about, or what their concerns are. It’s a powerful way to show that you care how they are feeling and what’s happening in their life.
  3. Show someone that you care. Share your appreciation for someone who matters to you with a nice gesture that will be meaningful to them. This could be something small, like giving someone a chocolate chip cookie when they’re having a rough day. A handwritten note is always appreciated and remembered.
  4. Praise someone. Sometimes our accomplishments or special moments in life can go under the radar. Other times we don’t even notice our own talents and special gifts as we’re showing them. If you see someone’s skills or positive qualities in action and appreciate them, let them know. It’ll brighten their day.
  5. Practice awareness. As you’re going through your day, is there someone who’s struggling to find a seat on the subway or straining to reach an item on the top shelf at the grocery store? Keep your radar up for what others are experiencing and how you can be of service.

Of course, kindness can have benefits to the giver as well as the recipient! Practicing kindness can increase one’s levels of health and happiness, strengthen relationships, and inspire others to show kindness in return. We wrote last week that a year-end party is a perfect occasion to share your gratitude with the colleagues and employees who helped make the year a success. You don’t have to wait for a major occasion or a holiday to share the gift of kindness with those around you, though. In many respects, kindness is even more powerful when expressed, even in small ways, as we go about the business of our daily lives.

Are you wondering how you can make an impact with a special gift that shows a thoughtful touch? We’d be happy to put our expertise to work for you. Reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook—or call us at 877-881-6845 and we’ll be glad to advise on ways you can make a lasting, positive impression through kind and thoughtful gifts.