Nine years ago, as I was preparing for my family's traditional turkey dinner, I suddenly thought about a neighbor. Her family had recently experienced a tragedy, and their Thanksgiving was not going to be about pumpkin pies.
Spur of the moment, I wrapped a loaf of bread in an apron and slipped a handwritten card in the pocket.
Still wearing my apron, I walked two blocks, nervously half-hoping no one would answer the door so I could leave my offering on the porch. But my knock was answered, and my neighbor was so grateful of a gesture of recognition, so appreciative of an in-person delivery and a few minutes of kindly conversation.
Walking home, I felt this unexpected joy. That such a simple act had made someone happy and my heart swell as well was an experience I knew needed to be shared. So I created Tie One On Day (...an apron, of course!) as a yearly encouragement to give from the heart through an act of kindness before giving thanks on Thanksgiving.
Celebrated the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 26 this year), Tie One On Day participants are encouraged to wrap a baked good in an apron or other cloth and tuck in a personal note; then deliver their offering to a charity, neighbor, co-worker, or nameless service clerk in need of physical or spiritual sustenance, a bit of recognition or just a kind word.
To encourage participation, I prevailed on entrepreneurs and national brands, who also believe that change can come through kindness, to provide giveaways during the month of November.
As more learn about Tie One On Day and adopt it as a new Thanksgiving tradition, the more who receive gestures of kindness. Each year, I am newly inspired by those sharing how they will reach out:
"I've gotten my husband involved and we decided Tie One On Day is something we will do every year with our son as a way to give back and teach him the joy of giving."
"I'm going to give 10 wrapped gifts boxes with an apron, art supplies and encouraging note in each to the Salvation Army Gifts for Kids."
I will make some police officers happy by having them for Thanksgiving dinner. Those who are working in our area know they are welcome at Ms. Jane's for Thanksgiving dinner. I have children who are police officers and would appreciate someone doing the same for them if they were in another area.
Never did I imagine that nine years later, there would be an even greater need for expressions of kindness from those of us with bounty and blessings to spare.
Tie One On Day™ is a win-win, for the participant and the receiver. And by embracing TOODay, you will make someone else's day brighter.
Tie One On (...an apron, of course!) and become part of this grassroots movement to put the give back into Thanksgiving.