Business Matters: Thanksgiving

By Glen J. Dalakian, Sr

There are many stories in history that could be seen as the catalyst for the American Thanksgiving holiday, made official by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. But in recent years, it seems this, like many other holidays, has lost its roots and become commercialized. Roasted turkey abounds, and the overeating throughout the day leads to long naps and, no doubt, an increase in sales of Rolaids and Alka-Seltzer. But is this what this family day is all about? We’ll wrap up with some history, but in staying true to the theme of this column, let’s talk about the business perspective.

The holidays offer a strong opportunity to evaluate your relationships and reflect on all we have to be thankful for, which can lead to a better perspective on life. All of us could use more kindness and appreciation. What can you do this year to let clients, employees, friends, and family know just how much you care for them? After all, most entrepreneurs know (or should know) they are not in it alone and a solid team effort is key to profitability and long-term stability.

Have you been appreciative to clients who have been loyal and provided the revenue to keep your business on track?  Have you given recognition to your employees for their support during the day-to-day operations that keep your customers happy and your company in the black? Even if it’s been a tough year, focusing on the successes, no matter how small, can renew your spirit and help to open the doors of new opportunities.

The next time you interact with a client, employee, or anyone you encounter, think about things you are grateful for that relate to them. I understand that in some cases this could be difficult, but I have witnessed firsthand how gratitude will serve you well.

Historically, we can go back to the Pilgrims and Indians in 1621 and presumably the first actual Thanksgiving meal, or take it up to the American Revolution, when the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year. In 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the U.S. national government. As for when it became a national holiday, Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to President Lincoln in September 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens

Have a happy, healthy, and blessed Thanksgiving!  Thanks for reading “Business Matters” and for your many encouraging comments over the years.