Each year, we celebrate the season of gratitude in the Hunt Institute with a Thanksgiving spread. Typically, I would make a huge pot of stew with homemade rolls and all the side items that help students connect with a home-cooked meal. This year, we are celebrating Thanksgiving with gratitude in our hearts and kindness toward our fellow man. We are finding new and creative ways to break bread together in a hybrid work environment. Some of our team members are fully remote, while others are in the office with a flex schedule. Instead of a turkey with dressing, we are doing chicken a-la Chick-fil-A! JuliaGrace even found a bakery that made mini pies individually wrapped. With that and a cup of joe from around the corner, we are set!
Our in-person workers are making a craft for our remote workers to add to the farm table centerpiece. We are calling them “trees of gratitude.” In the past, the highlight of the party would be when we would sit around the big farm table, scrunching our chairs to make sure everyone could fit, and share our different family traditions and what we were grateful for. Today, we are not just sharing our traditions, we are sharing our recipes with promises of pictures of our holiday spread later in the week to post on our Slack channel. Manuela might even make a recipe book! Mariana from the communications team created a Thanksgiving-themed Zoom background for our group picture. I even compromised my hard-line rule and we played Christmas music, which typically must wait until Black Friday. The room was full of laughter, music, and for a brief moment – no deadlines or stress.
Heartfelt expressions of gratitude were spoken as we gave each team member an opportunity to share what they are grateful for. Scott said, “I am grateful for all the medical workers and the companies that help develop the vaccine for COVID-19; hopefully that will be the solution and ending for this pandemic.” Well said, Scott.
After the party, we displayed our crafts in the middle of the table as a constant reminder of our gratefulness for one another as we push hard to wrap up work and ease into Thanksgiving break. We embrace our nostalgic memories and then create new ones – together. One thing this pandemic has taught us is to not take each other, our family, our friends, our liberties, or our country for granted. If you get the opportunity, find a neighbor and show a random act of kindness. Many are unable to be with family this year. Small acts of friendship could be what warms their hearts this Thanksgiving holiday. Then ponder and share what you are grateful for. We would love to hear from you.
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