• How to Cook, Glaze and Carve a Holiday Ham

    Few centerpieces are more anticipated than a perfectly pink holiday ham, glazed with a spiky coarse mustard and sweet fruit preserves, and sliced into lovely petals.
    But if you’re cooking a ham for the first time, getting from the package in the grocery store to that beautiful Christmas Day dinner-table picture can seem like a daunting journey. So, for the newbie, this is our ham primer.

    Nueske's spiral sliced bone-in ham

    Nueske’s spiral sliced bone-in ham

    Choosing and Cooking Your Ham

    Start with a cured or smoked (precooked) ham. (You can definitely make a fresh one, but today let’s leave that to the more experienced cooks.)
    The most popular kind of ham is a city ham. Much like a brined Butterball turkey, city hams are wet-cured, injected with a mixture of salt, seasonings and curing agents. An article on Real Simple claims that “bone-in city hams tend to be moister and more flavorful than the boneless variety,” though both come ready to eat.

    Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Ham

    Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Ham

    Country ham is favored in the south. These hams are dry-cured with a salt/seasoning rub, then smoked and aged. Real Simple explains, “salty and chewy, the intensely flavored meat is usually served with biscuits or incorporated into casseroles and salads. It’s sold both uncooked and cooked, and mostly bone-in.”
    Bon Appétit recommends getting a ham with “some kind of bone in it. It will give you a sense of where to take the ham’s temperature to determine doneness (see below), plus, that leftover bone will bring a soup or pot of beans to the next level.”
    According to a Rachael Ray how-to, “spiral hams cook faster because the heat penetrates better.” Either way, if you have a whole ham, be prepared to dedicate your oven to it for a good chunk of time.
    Alton Brown, the lovable science-geek chef on the Food Network, recommends warming a precooked ham for three to four hours at a low temperature (250°F) under foil, then increasing the heat, adding a brown sugar/bourbon glaze and then upping the heat (350°F) for a final hour.
    A classic holiday ham recipe on Chow.com estimates five hours of cooking and prep time, using a temperature of 325°F. The Neelys’ recipe is a little faster, about three hours for a 14-pound ham at 350°F. Choose a recipe that fits your time frame; remember that the ham will smell wonderful while it cooks!

    how-to-carve-ham-1

    Photo by Zach DeSart

    Glazing Ham

    Choose a glaze for your ham, usually a combination of something savory or spicy, like mustard, cloves, garlic or ginger, and something sweet, like orange juice, pineapple, fresh or dried figs or even Coca-Cola. The glaze usually goes on in the last 60 to 30 minutes of cooking.  Check out our recent post, 5 Ways to Glaze a Holiday Ham, for more recipe ideas. And our FREE Holiday Ham Guide is full of glaze and recipe ideas!

    Carving Ham

    Finally, carve your ham. If you have a spiral sliced ham, that’s already been done for you. If you don’t, look to a step-by-step guide like the one Jeffrey Elliot put together at Huffington Post, or this one from Hunter Lewis at Saveur.
    For a video, watch Ron Stapleton from Stapleton’s Quality Meats demonstrate how to carve a holiday ham. And avoid some common mistakes, like drying out the ham or burning the glaze, by reading this tip sheet from Bon Appétit.

    Free Ham Cookbook

    Be sure to download our FREE “Holiday Ham” Cookbook for more tips and recipes for the perfect holiday ham dinner.  Click the image below to download your copy now!

    The Ultimate Holiday Ham Cooking Guide by gThankYou

    We hope these tips and resources for cooking a Holiday Ham help you enjoy cooking yours.  Happy Holidays!

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  • Take Back the Holidays

    The craziness of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, make it easy to lose the joy and spirit of the holidays. Feeling tired and stressed with the holidays looming ahead? You are not alone.

    Your colleagues likely feel this way too. When it comes to sharing year-end employee appreciation, no one wants yet another holiday trinket.

    Take Back the Holidays

    You can take back the holidays with gratitude.

    Gratitude is transformative – it lifts spirits, reminds us of the goodness in others and inspires hope and happiness. It changes our focus so we see more clearly what’s really important.

    What employees want most is your personal attention and appreciation for all they do.

    Let Gratitude be your Guide for Holiday Appreciation

    Help colleagues and friends reclaim the spirit of the season with gestures of kindness and gratitude. In the process of making a memorable holiday for others, you’ll rejuvenate your holiday spirit too!

    Plenty of time remains to show employees you care about them and value all that they do.

    Ideas for Sharing Holiday Workplace Gratitude:

    • A card written from the heart.
      Put your sincere and heart-felt appreciation in writing. It is the most memorable gift you can share.

      Employees often say private or public recognition is more memorable than monetary rewards. (For card-writing inspiration, check out our guide, “Writing Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure.”)
    • A gift that enriches employee holiday celebrations.
      Focus on what makes the holidays special and memorable – sharing them with loved ones.

      A gift that contributes to the holiday meal such as a gThankYou! Turkey Or Ham Certificate is a way to make your appreciation especially meaningful.

    • Unexpected “no strings-attached” time off.
      Who wouldn’t love a few unexpected hours to help manage holiday demands?

    • Host a simple holiday work break.
      With the stress of the holidays, sometimes what people want most is real connection and a little kindness. Create an opportunity for colleagues to enjoy time together without the pressure of rushing back to work.

      It is as simple as sharing coffee and a treat while everyone has a chance to unwind and share stories. Not everyone can do this easily, but if you can, it builds bonds and company spirit. 

    • Throw a party employees love.
      While holiday parties are time-honored, they are not always a beloved workplace tradition. Catered meals and open bars are generous, but what employees remember is authenticity. A story that’s always resonated with us is that of  “The Nicest Party I’ve Ever Been To.” The author shares what was most memorable to him – how much his employer wanted to throw the party.

      Host an event that makes employees feel like the stars of the show. Invite families, if you want. It doesn’t need to be glitzy or fancy. Your authentic gratitude needs to shine through.


    With anything you choose, let gratitude and appreciation take center-stage. It will focus everyone on what’s really important – families, friends, health and good fortune.

    There is still time to give the thoughtful gift of Certificates of Gratitude for the center piece of a special meal or a special treatOrder online or call us at 888-484-1658.

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!

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  • How to Flavor a Christmas Ham

    Preparing a Christmas ham, especially if it’s been conveniently pre-smoked or cured for you, is about the easiest thing you can do for a centerpiece. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little something to it—namely, a sweet, decadent glaze to make your ham that much more delicious.
    Here are four tips from food bloggers we love on how to make your Christmas ham even more dazzling this holiday.

    4 Ways to Glaze a Holiday Ham

    1. Blackberry- and mustard-glazed ham, from The Cottage Home

    With just four ingredients (blackberry preserves, whole-grain mustard, apple cider, and a precooked ham), this holiday entrée couldn’t be simpler. Blogger Lindsay reports that it’s “a great crowd-pleasing ham … even my husband, who would much prefer some type of red meat, absolutely loved it.”

    ColesHam

    Credit Curtis Stone

    2. Roasted fresh ham with maple spice glaze, from Leite’s Culinaria

    This recipe is for a fresh ham, but you could use the maple glaze with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg on a precooked one, too. Prepared simply by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, this ham is roasted in the oven with little fuss. One 8- to 10-lb. ham will feed “6 teenage boys, 16 adults, or 26 twenty-something models.”

    3. Red currant-pomegranate glazed ham, from Taking On Magazines (One Recipe at a Time)

    The Mom Chef ham

    From The Mom Chef

    “I may not make ham in any other way again,” writes a blogger who calls herself the Mom Chef, describing this recipe. Pomegranate juice “infuses” the ham with flavor, with an assist from red currant jelly, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard.
    Also, it’s made in a slow cooker, which frees the oven for other pursuits.

    4. Pineapple mustard-glazed ham from The Bitten Word

    “Ham and pineapple is, of course, a classic combo,” write the Bitten Word boys, venerable magazine-recipe-testers and entertaining blog hosts. “Adding country-style whole-grain mustard keeps this glaze from being too sickly sweet, and using fresh pineapples rescues the ham from Kennedy-era cliches—or at least it clears your conscience.”
    As originally printed in Martha Stewart Living magazine, this glaze is made with fresh pineapple cooked in a simple syrup (sugar/water), and the ham itself is drizzled with white wine and studded with cloves. Perfect.

    Just think about the delicious leftover ham you’ll have from these recipes….
    Your biggest challenge is which of these delectable glazes to choose – enjoy and happy holidays!

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  • New Cards – Bundle Your Employee Gifts in Gratitude

    Photo by Aaron Burden

    One of our favorite moments is when we unveil the new Enclosure Cards for Christmas and the winter holidays. It’s our own little version of the traditional tree-lighting. ?

    This season, we have some exciting new designs to help you offer a meaningful “thank you” to your hardworking team members.

    Write a Note of Appreciation

    What do employees want most for the holidays? Your appreciation and thanks for their efforts, loyalty and contributions.

    When you bundle your employee gifts, include a sincere and heartfelt note of gratitude. It will transform your gift-giving – lifting spirits, making your gift memorable and ensuring recipients feel valued and appreciated.

    It’s why we offer attractive Enclosure Cards for the holidays and everyday occasions – free with every purchase so all gThankYou gifts are wrapped in gratitude.

    New Holiday Enclosure Card Designs

    Whether you prefer elegant or playful, snowy scenes or strings of lights, “happy holidays” or “peace and joy,” there’s an appealing holiday-themed Enclosure Card to fit your company’s style. Create your own message of appreciation or use one of ours – Click to see all our Christmas and Winter Card Designs.

    Here are our newest additions for your holiday note of cheer and gratitude:

    Want a PDF of our popular designs to share with colleagues?

    Download our updated Christmas and Winter Enclosure Card Design Catalog now.

    Download Your Free "Winter Holiday Enclosure Card Design Catalog" Now!

    As always, gThankYou Enclosure Cards come free with any purchase of our Certificates of Gratitude. Choose your favorite Enclosure Card design, include a thoughtfully-crafted message of appreciation and sign it in text or with a logo. We’ll gladly send you a proof to approve, and we’ll make edits until you love it!

    There’s still time to give the workplace holiday gift everyone loves. Order your gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude now – for ham or turkeypieice cream or groceries and let your holiday gratitude bring joy and appreciation to your workplace.

    Wishing you and your colleagues a wonderful holiday season.

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  • Focusing on Gratitude Adds Meaning to Holidays

    From “The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series”, author Melody Beattie.

    As we approach celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, this quote from Melody Beattie beautifully reminds us of the transformative power of gratitude at the holidays – and every day.

    Beattie knows about the transformative power of gratitude having survived a traumatic childhood, addiction and the loss of a child but emerging from this to live a a full and rewarding life. After having an epiphany in rehab that got her to focus her energies on “the right things,” she became a renowned self-help author (she literally wrote the book on codependency, followed by many other bestsellers) and remains a celebrated writer and an inspiring beacon for many struggling with addiction and grief. The daily meditations on her website (or apps) are a good way to start or end your day!

    Let’s break down what she said in this quote because while it’s the perfect quote as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, it’s also a powerful reminder for us to look at every day through the lens of gratitude.

    Gratitude:

    “Unlocks the fullness of life…”
    Who doesn’t want to live their life fully, experiencing the maximum of satisfaction and joy at both home and at work. Gratitude opens our eyes to the beauty and goodness of the world around us. It energizes us and brings hope. Sharing gratitude brings out the best in those around us too.

    “Turns what we have into enough…”
    Gratitude allows us to be thankful for the abundance of good things in life and not be driven by societal or selfish needs. Gratitude helps us realize we are, and we have, enough.

    Research finds that “just acting grateful can make you feel grateful” says Arthur C. Brooks in “Choose to be Grateful. It will make you Happier.” He goes on to say:

    “If you want a truly happy holiday, choose to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not.”

    “…turns denial into acceptance…”
    Gratitude let’s us enjoy relatives and friends for who they are – imperfections and all. And, most importantly accepting ourselves for doing the best we can. Gratitude heals.

    In a recent Forbes article on gratitude, positive psychologist researcher and author Robert Emmons “cites research showing the effectiveness of gratitude in buffering stress and building resilience. He even recommends a strategy he calls “Remember the bad.” The point is not to dwell on the negative, but to look back and reflect on difficult experiences and how we got through them. In doing so, we learn not to take our current blessings for granted. We are also reminded of the resources that helped us weather past storms.”

    “…chaos to to order, confusion to clarity…”
    Stopping to take a breath and reframing stress that can come at the holidays (or any day) is an opportunity to clear your mind and re-prioritize what’s important. Being grateful helps put what’s really important in perspective.

    “…turns a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger to a friend.”

    No matter the scale of the meal, gratitude for the bounty and those we share it with turns any occasion into a “feast”.

    Thanksgiving is a holiday uniquely steeped in a history of gratitude. It’s the one time of year we treat everyone as family. It’s gratitude that allows us to open our hearts and our homes.

    This holiday season share your gratitude and share in the joy you spread.

    Wherever and however you celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope the meal becomes a feast of gratitude for you and your loved ones.

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  • Gratitude in Action: 6 Thanksgiving Traditions

    Thanksgiving traditions worldwide celebrate gratitude and the bounty of the harvest.

    Holidays celebrating gratitude, communal harmony and harvest bounty are common around the world. (Photo via Faith Goble, Flickr)

    Did you know that our American Thanksgiving is just one of many gratitude-related Thanksgiving traditions celebrated around the world?
    Traditions differ from country to country, but gratitude in action is cause for universal celebration.
    The spirit and significance of giving thanks is the same wherever you go — with or without roast turkey and cranberry sauce. So what does giving thanks look like around the world?
    Celebrations worldwide of “thanks-giving” share several elements, no matter what people are eating, wearing or singing. We all honor:

    • harvest bounty
    • communal harmony
    • gratitude in action

    That last one, gratitude in action, is an important one. Simply thinking about gratitude isn’t a cause for celebration. It’s about how we act on our gratitude. We’re giving thanks, not having thanks!

    The French word for Thanksgiving is action de grâce. Translated literally, then, Thanksgiving is a day for “actions of grace.”
    Read on for six “actions of grace” traditions from around the world.
    (more…)

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  • Write a Holiday Thank You Note to Remember

    Learn how to write a holiday thank you note to your workplace with gThankYou!

    Your organization flourishes and grows thanks to the commitment, creativity, and, most of all, hard work of loyal team members – do they know that???

    Two BIG words — “thank you” — make a world of difference in the workplace. Study after study shows employees work harder, work smarter, and are retained longer when they feel appreciated.

    Holiday employee letters are an annual tradition for major corporation CEOs, directors of government agencies, and university presidents.

    Why? Because thank-you notes work! (Research proves thank-you notes work even better than cash bonuses, say HR experts.)

    6 Tips to Writing Meaningful Employee Thank-You Notes

    A well written note of thanks can be a memorable keepsake for employees.

    When you write your letter of appreciation this season — whether for the first time or as part of your yearly ritual — here are tips to help you put your sincere gratitude on paper:

    • Go beyond recognition, which focuses on employee performance, to appreciation, which acknowledges an employee’s character and intrinsic worth. People want to feel valued for who they are.

    • Describe specific ways employees have contributed to your organization’s success this year.

    • Speak from the heart. Be honest. Be sincere. Avoid sentimentality which can come off as fake.

    • Reflect on the meaning of the season. Thanksgiving is a treasured American tradition that has meaning to everyone.

    • Deliver your letter on paper, in person. With today’s overflowing inboxes, no one wants another email.

    • Package your letter with a thoughtful gift that reflects the spirit of Thanksgiving.

    gThankYou offers free gift Enclosure Cards with all purchases of gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude.


    gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates easily fit in an envelope alongside your thank-you note.

    Or, choose to customize your Certificates with a Free Enclosure Card featuring a heartfelt message of gratitude and your logo.

    Check out our full line of Thanksgiving Card Designs and download the Catalog to share with colleagues.



    Real-Life Examples of Thanksgiving Employee Letters

    For real-life employee holiday letter examples, DOWNLOAD our popular free guide, “How to Put the ‘Thanks’ in Thanksgiving.”

    Download FREE eBook, "Put the "Thanks" in Thanksgiving" Now!

    When you express genuine appreciation with employees, they share it back not only with you – but also with colleagues and customers.  That’s what’s so remarkable about gratitude –gratitude is contagious and makes givers and recipients feel great!

    End the year with your workplace feeling valued and appreciated. Brighten everyones’ holidays with your thoughtful holiday letter of gratitude. 

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  • Generosity at Work: 8 Benefits

    By Cheryl Baker, Co-Founder and Director of Social Capital, Give and Take, Inc.

    When you hear the term “contagion,” what image comes to mind? Disease. Panic in mass crowds. Viral social media trends. Perhaps this time of year, you think of the flu. 

    Scientists have found that within groups, thoughts and moods can be just as contagious as physical diseases or behaviors. In a phenomenon called emotional contagion, researchers have observed that “individuals tend to express and feel emotions that are similar to those of others,” seeming to “catch” the feelings of those around them. 

    While the word “contagion” often carries a negative connotation, research on the benefits of emotional contagion has shown that this ripple effect may be a secret workplace weapon for productivity and engagement. If you have a culture of generosity and appreciation, you’ve likely seen this in action.

    Not sure if you have a generous workplace?
    This free quiz will give you some idea of where you stand today. 

    If you still have some work to do in terms of building a generous culture, it may help to educate employees on the benefits of generosity in the workplace. It’s more than just giving to United Way during the annual drive. It’s about making a commitment to share your time, talent, expertise, connections, advice, and help in ways that don’t overextend throughout the year.  

    Why should we give?

    Here’s the good news for leaders: creating a culture of giving is great for your workers, but extensive research shows why building a sustainably collaborative culture is good for companies. It makes companies more efficient, innovative and productive. It increases profitability and revenue. It improves customer satisfaction and employee retention. It’s the classic win/win. 

    Sometimes, if we’re going to encourage employees to participate more fully and wholeheartedly in a culture of productive generosity, we need to show them what’s in it for them.

    A willingness to ask for help and give help to others at work is not just a fluffy, feel-good concept. There are real, tangible, measurable benefits to being a giver at work:

    1. Giving makes us happy

    There have been countless studies that suggest helping others improves the helper’s own mood as much, if not more, than the recipient of the help. A study at University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that altruism in the workplace had relatively large effects on happiness.

    Professor Donald Moynihan says, “Our findings make a simple but profound point about altruism: helping others makes us happier. Altruism is not a form of martyrdom, but operates for many as part of a healthy psychological reward system.”

    2. Giving increases gratitude

    Doing favors for others increases gratitude, which in itself is a positive emotion that can improve an individual’s health and well-being. In a study evaluating interventions for lasting happiness, founder of positive psychology Martin Seligman found that a daily gratitude practice was one of only two ways participants were able to increase happiness and decrease depressive symptoms over the long-term.

    3. Giving inspires more giving

    Paying it forward pays off. Contagion researchers James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis found that one person’s initial generosity can spark a chain reaction of benevolence up to three times as large as the original contribution. The single act can begin what social scientists call a “virtuous circle,” where one person’s generous behavior triggers another’s and so on. People are grateful for help received and are motivated to pay it forward according to research by Dr. Wayne Baker and Nathaniel Bulkley.

    4. Giving makes us more well-liked

    When you help others, you become someone that others can trust and rely on when they have a future knowledge, resource or connection need.

    5. Giving grows and strengthens our networks

    Offering help to others helps you make connections within your organization that you may not have otherwise made, which will increase your resources next time you need help.  Moreover, these connections are more likely to be high-quality connections. So while we may not be givers for the express purpose of getting a reward, there are possible career and financial advantages to doing so.

    6. Enjoy greater happiness and good health

    Research shows that people who are givers are happier and healthier both mentally and physically. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post on the health benefits of being a giver at work.

    7. Be the change you wish to see in the world

    Giving back to others by offering your knowledge, connections and resources makes your world and your work environment a little better. Work environments with givers breed more generous behavior in others. The whole culture of a company can start to change.

    8. Boost your career

    According to Wharton professor and Give and Take co-founder Adam Grant, corporate “givers” are ultimately the highest performers and the most successful.  Givers are able to tap into a network of knowledge and resources that provides them with greater resources and knowledge than those who try to succeed in isolation. If you’re interested in this aspect of generosity, Grant wrote a whole book on it, called Give and Take: How Helping Others Drives Our Success

    Pay it forward

    The positive emotions generated through giving and receiving spreads through groups by way of emotional contagion and ripples through the entire organization. Research on groups experiencing positive emotional contagion found that more than good feelings spread. These groups experienced less interpersonal conflict, more successful cooperation, and felt they had performed better on their task than the control group. 

    When we give, the benefits are amplified and multiplied, as the positive emotions created by giving and expressing gratitude spread from one person to another. Even if we don’t give, we reap the benefits by being around people who are givers themselves.  Barbara Fredrickson reports that people who merely witness or hear about a helpful interchange may experience positive emotions as well. 

    Benefits of asking for help

    If Adam Grant wrote the book on giving, Wayne Baker wrote the book on asking for help (All You Have to Do is Ask, coming out January 2020). In his forthcoming book, he argues that asking for help at work is the most important skill for success. 

    It can be hard to ask for help at work. But it’s really important that we encourage our teams to do so (and help them learn how to do it) because the benefits are legion.

    Studies show that asking for help makes us better and less frustrated at our jobs. It helps us find new opportunities and new talent. It unlocks new ideas and solutions, and enhances team performance. And it helps us get the things we need outside the workplace as well. 

    And yet, we rarely give ourselves permission to ask. Luckily, the research shows that asking—and getting—what we need is much easier than we tend to think. 

    When you ask for what you need, you are:

    1. Building team camaraderie and cohesion. You are reinforcing the idea that it takes a strong team to make a difference.
    2. Making other people feel better.. Don’t think you are burdening someone else by asking for help, people enjoy helping each other!  It is really a win-win: you get help and you make someone else feel good.
    3. More likeable. We like people who dare to show their vulnerability and ask for help on things that are challenging for them. You’re also setting a great example for your teammates.
    4. Getting smarter: A willingness to ask for help makes it easier to do your job, providing you with an answer, advice, or a different perspective or a connection to someone outside your network who has the knowledge or resources you need.
    5. More successful. No great achievement can be done alone, and asking for help makes us more productive.  No one has all of the resources, connections and knowledge to be totally self-sufficient and maximally effective.

    Besides, we’ve already established that being a giver is good for so many things. The best offers of help occur when someone has asked for it. 

    All of this starts with leaders setting a good example. Leaders should be generous with their own teams, sharing both time and talent as well as recognition and appreciation for a job well done. 

    About the Author

    Cheryl Baker is an innovator in the field of social capital and an expert in the translation of social science principles. She’s also the co-founder of Give and Take Inc., along with Wayne Baker and Adam Grant. Give and Take makes Givitas, software that connects any group of people to exchange help, including employees, customers, members, donors, students, alumni, and more. By fostering a giving culture, organizations of all sizes drive positive business outcomes like increased efficiency, productivity, loyalty, and engagement. 

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  • Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees

    Download your free gude, "How to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees" by gThankYou.

    Ever notice how people save and collect the holiday cards they receive? A holiday message of gratitude is memorable and meaningful. (Photo via slgckgc, Flickr)

    Learning how to write a Thanksgiving letter to employees can be a transformative experience — for you, your staff and your company.
    Take it from Brian Buffini, founder and chairman of the real estate training and coaching firm Buffini & Company.
    In a recent column for Entrepreneur, Buffini writes about why sharing Thank You notes “should be as automatic as brushing your teeth.”
    Buffini got the idea early in his career to write 10 notes a day to people he’d recently met, to business contacts and friends, or simply to those who came to mind.
    Note-writing has been part of his routine over a quarter century. He writes thousands of notes in any given year.
    “I’m a prolific note-writer to my clients, staff, family and friends. I firmly believe that the cumulative effect of all that goodwill over time has been one of the key ingredients for my success,” he writes.
    One of the most important times to show appreciation through notes is at the holidays. At Thanksgiving in particular, we’re naturally drawn to gratitude, expressed and received.
    Learn how to write a Thanksgiving letter to employees with gThankYou’s free guide on writing the perfect holiday Thank You letter. This step-by-step guide teaches all of the basics. It also includes lots of real-life examples written by CEOs and other leaders to inspire you.
    Read on to find out more, and to see how Buffini has helped build his company culture through Thank You notes.

    FREE eBook: How to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees

    (more…)

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  • Secrets for Employee Gift-Giving Success

    Holiday gifts for employees

    Delight Employees This Holiday Season

    Research backs up what successful organizations have known all along – that appreciating employees day-in and day-out feeds productivity, retains employees and transforms workplace culture.

    In other words, as Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely says, “recognition drives engagement and engagement drives productivity.”

    Gifts are a tangible way to express your appreciation for each employee’s contribution to your organization. It may seem like a simple gesture, but expressing genuine appreciation matters more to recipients than you may think.

    Consider this: among workers who feel valued, 88% feel engaged and 93% say their motivated to do their best. (American Psychological Association).

    And, when gratitude is regularly expressed, employee engagement, productivity and customer service ratings are 14% higher (Bersin by Deloitte).

    Gifts Send a Powerful Message

    What makes an employee gift successful? Hint: It’s not about the money.

    The average employer spends $79 per employee on gifts, but most workers say they would be just as happy with lower-cost (or even no-cost) alternatives. What matters most is the spirit in which the gift is given.

    The essence of workplace holiday gift-giving is gratitude: your gratitude for employees’ contributions over the past year and employees’ gratitude toward you for showing your appreciation.

    Gift-Giving is an Opportunity to Show You Care

    Workplace leaders understand gift-giving is an important opportunity – to show you care and make employees feel valued.

    So how does one choose a successful employee gift?

    Find out in our new eBook, “Making Employee Gifts Count, Secrets for Gift-Giving Success”!

    In this free eBook, you learn from workplace experts not only why gift-giving is so important, but also how to do it well and effectively.

    Download your FREE copy of gThankYou's "Making Employee Gifts Count, Secrets to Gift-Giving Success"!

    Inside this eBook you’ll learn:

    • Why workplace gifts matter
    • Understanding what workers value
    • The best workplace gifts
    • How much is enough
    • Gift-giving do’s and don’ts
    • How to make your gift memorable

    Why wait? Download your FREE COPY Now!

    Make Your Workplace Gifts Memorable

    Sharing your sincere gratitude is what will make your gift truly memorable.

    Just ask Sheldon Yellen who as CEO of BELFOR Holdings Inc. writes over 9,000 employee thank you and birthday notes a year. “Yellen has found taking the time to write out a card for each and every person has created a culture of compassion through the whole company.”

    Whenever possible, put your appreciation in writing. It will not only be memorable but will likely become a keepsake. Think about those times someone took the time to pen a note of thanks to you. Chances are you kept that note.

    Whether you intend to write a holiday letter to your entire workplace or have plans to hand-write a thank you note to your team, we applaud you and encourage you to take advantage of our resources for inspiration and real-world examples.

    How to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees

    Put the thanks in Thanksgiving

    Your FREE guide to putting the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving for your workplace.

    gThankYou’s popular resource for writing a thoughtful Thanksgiving or holiday employee letter. Full of examples of real employee letters and how-to insight for crafting a meaningful letter employees will treasure.

    Download this FREE guide now!

    How to Write Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure

    Writing ThankYou Notes

    Our go-to resource for writing meaningful employee and customer thank you notes – anytime!

    Understand the basic pillars of praise and the anatomy of an effective Thank You note. A great resource for anyone new to workplace thank you notes or who wants to learn how to make them more impactful.

    Download this FREE guide now!

    The holidays can be the most rewarding time of year for gift-givers and receivers alike. We hope you find our gift-giving guide useful now and throughout the year, and we wish you and your entire team all the best this season.

    Download your free guide to "Making Employee Gifts Count, the Secrets to Gift-Giving Success"!

    Should your holiday gift-giving plans involve the much loved gift of a Turkey Or Ham, we would be honored to serve you.

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  • Frozen Turkey vs. Turkey Gift Certificates

    Beautiful Thanksgiving Turkey Spread

    If you’re still ordering frozen turkey gifts for your employees, this should be the year that you replace that burdensome and onerous approach with Turkey Gift Certificates from gThankYou.  We assure you that this easy process will literally and figuratively lighten your load.
    Turkeys remain the quintessential holiday employee gift.  Always the star on the table at Thanksgiving gatherings across the country, turkeys are a welcome and appreciated gift.  They are the perfect way to underscore how thankful you are for your employees’ contributions and loyalty.
    There is no longer a good reason to struggle with frozen turkey gifts. gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates are good for any brand and size whole turkey, at major grocery chain stores nationally. Recipients love having the ability to choose the turkey they want for their family. Instead of having your team spend time on frozen turkey logistics, they can spend it on what really matters – engaging employees and sharing heartfelt appreciation.

    (more…)

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  • Employee Appreciation : Digital Feedback Platforms

    Employee Appreciation Really Matters - Digital Feedback Platforms can help make it a workplace habit.If you’re reading this blog post, it’s probably because you care about employee appreciation and you may be wondering how digital feedback platforms can help (and which ones could be a good fit for your company).

    Why Employee Appreciation Matters

    In a Workplace article on Gallup’s website examining the impact of employee recognition, writers Annamarie Mann and Nate Dvorak point out:

    Beyond communicating appreciation and providing motivation to the recognized employee, the act of recognition also sends messages to other employees about what success looks like. In this way, recognition is both a tool for personal reward and an opportunity to reinforce the desired culture of the organization to other employees

    Three words are key when it comes to employee appreciation according to Gallup’s results:  honest, authentic and individualized. Read on to learn how digital feedback platforms can help make employee appreciation a daily work habit.
    (more…)

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  • 9 Easy Ideas for Halloween Team Building

    Carving pumpkins is a great halloween team building project!

    A pumpkin-carving party is a fun, affordable Halloween activity for workplace team building.

    A fantastic opportunity for easy team building is….Halloween.
    If the extent of your company’s Halloween celebration is a dish of candy corn and a few streamers, you’re missing out.
    Engagement, not passive entertainment, is key to successful team building. Halloween is one of the easiest holidays to engage employees in fun activities that everyone will enjoy and that don’t need to break your budget.
    (more…)

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  • 8 Easy Halloween Employee Engagement Ideas

    Halloween is a great opportunity to foster employee engagement and workplace camaraderie — are you taking advantage of it?
    Here’s what makes Halloween such a standout engagement time:
    It’s popular. According to a 2015 Harris Poll, Halloween ranks third among U.S. adults for favorite holiday. Only Christmas and Thanksgiving rank higher! Halloween outranks the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and even “my birthday.”
    It’s participatory. From pumpkins and costume parades to trick-or-treating, Halloween gets people moving, talking and connecting with one another.
    It’s creative. Nearly everything we do to celebrate Halloween encourages creativity, from carving the perfect pumpkin to sewing a one-of-a-kind costume.
    It’s fun! Yes, a little fun plays an important role at work! Regular opportunities for play in the workplace break down barriers, boost creativity and optimism, lower stress and increase motivation.
    Read on for quick employee engagement ideas for a successful workplace Halloween!
    (more…)

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  • Everyday Employee Thank You Ideas

    Thank you mugs

    Any time is a good time to say thank you to employees! Workers who feel valued and appreciated will be happier, more productive and more loyal.

    The transition from spring to summer presents a wide variety of established opportunities to show appreciation that naturally fit into this season, but don’t lose sight of the impact of saying thank you and showing gratitude any day of the year.

    As American philosopher and psychologist Williams James astutely observed:
    “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
    Saying thanks in the workplace matters really does matter to the success of your business!  Check out these numbers from O.C. Tanner’s “The Business Case for Recognition”:
    • O.C. Tanner revealed that 94% of regularly recognized employees said it motivates them to do great work
    • WorkHuman shared that 89% of regularly recognized employees are highly engaged
    • The Wall Street Journal reported that 81% of employees say they work harder for a grateful manager
    • Glassdoor disclosed that 53% would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss

    (more…)

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  • Secrets to Being a Great Place to Work

    Happy Diverse Workers
    An insightful Forbes article described culture as the backbone of a happy workforce.  That’s a great metaphor because a positive company culture favorably impacts recruitment, increases job satisfaction, inspires collaboration, boosts morale and reduces stress.  It’s the secret to being a great place to work. A referenced Deloitte study examining core beliefs and culture revealed there’s a link between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by their company” and those who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture.
    Speaking of culture, cultureIQ gathered their “favorite culture and employee engagement statistics” into one handy spot.  Their statement about the impact of culture is a strong reminder that:
    Culture impacts every corner of your business. Leadership stays on the same page. Employees are happier and, therefore, more engaged and productive. Prospective employees are more interested in joining and staying with your company. Perhaps most importantly, all these components work together to give your company its competitive advantage.
    In today’s extremely tight labor market, you need every competitive advantage that you can get!

    (more…)

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  • The #1 Best Tasting Way to Prepare Ham

    Delicous, juicy sliced ham

    A nicely cooked ham is beautiful to behold. But how do you prepare the absolute, #1 Best Tasting Ham?

    Borrowing advice from the ham-savvy Serious Eats Food Lab, it’s easy:
    1) Buy the right ham, and
    2) Don’t screw it up.
    Fair enough.
    But, seriously, ham needn’t be a complex dish. With these simple tips, you’re guaranteed to have success. 

    Know your ham

    Many are probably unaware of the different types of ham available. Most of the hams sold in grocery stores are of the city ham variety (there are also country hams and fresh hams). You’ll recognize them filling chilled meat cases everywhere you look this month as people shop for their Holiday Ham. City hams are brined then either smoked or boiled to be moist and tender. Most are partially or fully cooked and come in a variety of choices – bone in, spiral cut, etc.

    What to buy

    Since most people in the U.S. choose city hams, we’ll focus on them here. There are many fine city hams to choose. One absolute: bone-in hams are more flavorful. Period. Plus, the bone makes a great soup stock.
    What’s the word on water content? The more water added to the product, the less your ham will taste like a ham and it will have less of a meat-like texture. Aim for the highest protein to water ratio that you can afford, and remember this is the season for great ham deals at many markets.

    Cook it right

    You might think there’s little to cooking a ham. You’re mostly right, but a couple simple tips will help you nail it perfectly the first time. Note that regardless whether you choose a fully or partially cooked ham, cooking it is essential. For the former, it will enhance its flavor and juiciness. For the latter, it’s necessary.
    Baking your ham is the hands-down best way to prepare it. Wrap your ham in aluminum foil, and place it in an oven bag cut side down inside a roasting pan. This method helps prevent you from inadvertently drying out your ham and is worth the effort.
    If it’s a spiral-cut ham, it’s particularly important to place the ham in your roasting pan facing cut side down so the cut slices do not flop apart, dry and ruin your dish.
    A partially cooked ham will need to cook 20 minutes per pound at about 350 degrees (175 celsius).A fully cooked ham will take less time, about 10 minutes per pound, to heat through.
    Since ovens and hams vary, use a meat thermometer to gauge exactly when the ham is done. For accuracy, it’s important to know exactly where to insert the thermometer probe in your ham. Choose the center of the thickest part of your ham avoiding the bone. I usually go in at an angle from above,
    You’ll know your ham is ready to come out of the oven when your thermometer reads about 140-degrees. It will continue to cook while it rests and stopping at this point will keep your ham juicy. The recommended rest period is 30 minutes, tented under foil, prior to slicing and serving.

    Answers to Some Frequently Asked Ham Questions

    To help you calm any other jitters and concerns about ham here are some FAQs.

    Can you cook ham in an aluminum pan?

    Yes! Just make sure that the disposable foil pan is up to the job.

    Reynolds Kitchens’ website (the company behind Reynolds Wrap foil) mentions that their disposable roasting pans “make classic holiday recipes like Thanksgiving turkey and Easter ham easy and let you spend more time with your loved ones” and can handle up to 24 lbs total.

    Do you put water in pan when cooking ham?

    Cooking experts disagree on this issue.

    Many cooks recommend adding a little liquid (about ½ cup typically) to the bottom of the pan, whether that is water, wine, fruit juice, stock or combo of those liquids to keep the ham from sticking to the pan.

    Mashed advises against it in an article about the mistakes made when cooking ham because “The fat from the ham will melt during cooking, keeping the meat plenty moist. If there’s too much liquid in your pan, your ham will boil instead of baking… and that’s not what we’re going for here.”  

    Either way, don’t go overboard with the liquid.

    How do I cook a precooked ham?

    Did you know that you don’t need to cook a precooked ham? That’s right, the ham can be sliced cold or at room temperature and served. It doesn’t need to be reheated.

    If you prefer warm ham, you can heat it. Be sure to have a meat thermometer handy to avoid overcooking your ham and drying it out.

    If you would like to add a homemade glaze, you’ll need several hours in a low temperature oven to make a delicious caramelized exterior.

    The helpful people at Southern Living provided these tips:

    • Put the ham cut side down in a heavy duty foil lined pan and sit at room temp for 30 minutes.  
    • Brush glaze over the ham and set an over rack at the lowest position.  
    • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Bake uncovered for 2.5 to 3 hours — or until the meat thermometer reads 140° when inserted into thickest portion.  
    • Baste every 30 minutes with an additional ½ cup of glaze.  
    • When you remove from oven, spoon drippings from the pan over the ham.  
    • Let the ham stand for 10 minutes prior to slicing and serving.

    That’s it! With these few simple steps you can choose, cook and serve the perfect Holiday Ham or Ham dinner any time. Share your tips with us here.

    Download gThankYou’s “Ultimate Holiday Ham Guide” for FREE!

    Check out our FREE “Holiday Ham Guide” and start planning your special ham dinner today. You and your guests will be delighted!

     

    The Ultimate Holiday Ham Cooking Guide by gThankYou

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  • 3 Holiday Ham Glazes to Delight Your Taste Buds

    Just Cooked Holiday Ham

    Helping your holiday ham taste its best!

    Sometimes foods with distinct flavors need counterpoints to bring out the best taste combinations. Whether it’s strong coffee in barbecue sauce, a pinch of hot pepper in Mexican cocoa, or a splash of balsamic vinegar on a bowl of freshly sliced strawberries, these culinary marriages will delight your taste buds!
    Such is the case with ham. . . salty, smoky, and succulent it pairs wonderfully with sour fruit (pineapple, orange, cranberries, currants, rhubarb), sweet elements (brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, even cola!) and spices (cloves, mustard, allspice, ginger, cinnamon).
    Whether you are cooking an Easter Ham, a Christmas Ham or just a special ham meal, your guests will enjoy your ham with a new twist, using one of these tasty glazes. Not only will it give your ham a delicious flavor, the glaze keeps it moist and juicy while it bakes.  Which one will you try first?

    5 Holiday Ham Glaze Ideas

    1. Honey gives glazes a sweet base.  Try these interesting varieties such as Honey Balsamic Fig or Pineapple Honey Adobo (right) from The Nibble.

    2. The perfect blend of sweet and spicy – and so easy to make!  This great recipe for Pomegranate Jalapeno Glazed Ham comes from chef Akasha Richmond of restaurant Akasha in L.A., care of Food & Wine Magazine.

    3. A gThankYou! favorite from Minnesota’s own Lucia Watson; Cider-Soaked and Brown Sugar Glazed ham from her cookbook, Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland.

    Let us know what’s your favorite and if we missed one you think should be on the list! Contact us at info@gThankYou.com.

    First Time Cooking Ham?

    If you are new to cooking ham, be sure to download our FREE “Holiday Ham” Guide. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to cook a juicy and golden browned ham for your meal centerpiece!

    You’ll learn how to choose ham, different methods of cooking and professional tips to ensure your ham centerpiece is juicy and delicious.

    Why wait? Download your free Holiday Ham Cookbook now!

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  • Every Day Can Be Employee Appreciation Day

    Employee Appreciation Day

    A sweet employee thank you! Via Flickr: CleverCupca

    While some may pick the official Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate their employees’ contributions, really any day is the perfect day to thank employees for their hard work and dedication to your business! (more…)

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  • March: Time to Build Workplace Happiness!

    It's easy to build workplace happiness with gThankYou's Employee Celebration Calendar.

    Check out gThankYou’s free 2019 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar! Every month is full of great ideas for sharing appreciation in the workplace.

    Get your calendar out and start scheduling some fun – happiness will follow! March is the ideal month to build workplace happiness – winter is dragging on and for most of us, spring seems a long way off. Luckily this month is FULL of opportunities to share workplace appreciation and inspire some easy fun.
    Hopefully you have already downloaded our free Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2019 so these celebrations may already be on your radar. If not, click the link above and let’s get started!

    (more…)

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How gThankYou Certificates Work

Step 1

Order Certificates

Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

Step 2

Ship directly to your business

Your order is delivered by UPS. Nearly all orders ship the day received. Overnight shipping is available.

Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

Step 4

Redeem at any grocery store

Recipients redeem Certificates at major U.S. grocery stores and select the items they want.