If you’ve ever been curious about why the employee turkey gift tradition matters, the reasons are many: it’s practical, meaningful, affordable and a gift everyone values and enjoys sharing with family and friends!
For decades, company leaders have been giving turkeys to their employees at Thanksgiving as an expression of appreciation. The gesture is a nod to tradition and gratitude. It’s an affordable gift, but one that is truly appreciated. It’s also smart business.
It is already that time of year to think ahead. How will you celebrate your employees this holiday season?
gThankYou makes turkey gift giving easy, regardless the size of your organization. Start planning ahead now and contact us to find out about our simple, easy and personalized process. Visit us online or call us today: 888-484-1658!
Employee Appreciation is Crucial
Employee appreciation is more important than ever as we see droves of people changing careers after a lot of conversations about “what really matters” during COVID. Retention is key right now!
The core fact is what we’ve been saying for a long time: employee appreciation builds relationships beyond a paycheck. Thoughtful gestures and authentic appreciation go a long way in retaining and engaging employees.
Holiday turkey gifts, when accompanied by a written “thanks for all you do” from leadership, authentically serve up cheer and goodwill. When you order gift certificates from gThankYou , we offer an accompaniment that’s sure to please: a free guide that helps with preparation of turkey, recipes, tips and more.
Download it here:
The Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Cookbook and Guide.
How Did the Employee Turkey Gift Tradition Start?
So how did turkeys become America’s favorite workplace gift for Thanksgiving? Turkey — a uniquely American bird — may or may not have been part of the first Thanksgiving, but by the mid-1800s, it was quickly catching on as the Thanksgiving centerpiece.
The turkey tradition took off after President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 to celebrate “blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”
Turkey naturally became the iconic American symbol of gratitude and a bountiful harvest. By the 1940s, the National Turkey Federation was presenting the White House with an honorary bird for Thanksgiving.
Companies were quick to recognize the value of sharing turkeys with employees at Thanksgiving. Historians date the employee turkey tradition to the manufacturing boom of the 1800s. It served as a way to introduce immigrant workers to American culture.
Some companies carried on the practice even when turkeys were rationed or in short supply. During World War II, one creative Long Island company bought turkey eggs and had them hatched and raised in time for holiday gift-giving.
Early adopters of the employee turkey tradition may also have been following the precedent set in Charles Dicken’s classic tale of redemption, “A Christmas Carol,” published in 1843. The turning point of the story comes when Ebenezer Scrooge buys the “prize turkey” hanging in the window of the neighborhood butcher and sends it as a gift to the family of his clerk, Bob Cratchit.
Historians speculate that 19th century bosses were inspired by this grand gesture of goodwill that transformed Scrooge’s reputation from miserly to bighearted. Scrooge’s “prize turkey” has since become an iconic company gift and a heartwarming symbol of holiday cheer.
Why the Tradition Continues…
Sharing a turkey holiday meal reminds us of the importance of our social connections. Food, family, friends and gratitude are always welcome at the table.
By the numbers, turkeys are popular. In 2020, U.S. consumption of turkey was 5.26 billion pounds and 16 pounds per person. But turkeys are more than just a popular meal.
Want to share the turkey holiday tradition in your organization? Check out our “10 Reasons to Give Employees a Turkey for the Holidays” PDF and share with your team.
Sharing an old or new tradition is meant to be special to employees. It undeniably lets them know you really care. Plus, with gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates, they have the flexibility to choose the turkey they want, at the store they choose, whenever they have time!
Lisa’s Story: ‘Everyone Wins!!’ When We Share Appreciation
Several years ago we asked customers to share their answers to this question, Why is it important to give employees a Thanksgiving turkey?
We received many heartfelt responses, but one from Lisa, an administrative assistant in California, really resonated with the team at gThankYou. Her eloquent reflection on the employee turkey gift tradition she experienced as a child focuses on an important lesson in gratitude that she learned from her father and his boss.
“When I was a young girl, my Dad worked as the maintenance supervisor at the General Electric plant in my small Midwestern hometown.
“On the Wednesday before every Thanksgiving, Dad would come home from work with a nice, big turkey. Every year he would tell me that it was a gift for ME — from HIS boss. I recall to this day how that made me feel. My Dad’s BOSS actually cared about ME. How cool was that?!
“I started sending a ‘Thank you’ note for my Dad to give his boss on the Monday following Thanksgiving, every year … until his boss passed away.
“That was the year that MY DAD became THE BOSS. When he came home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that year, he did not have a turkey with him. I was a little upset with him; I remember telling him that his boss would have been upset if he found out that my Dad had not carried on his tradition!
“My Dad calmly sat me down and told me that the company HAD bought turkeys for all of the employees, but that they had run short so he gave our turkey to one of the people who would not have gotten one. Besides, he said, he and Mom had already bought one for us.
“Then, he told me that he DID have something to give me; a gift from his OLD BOSS. I was perplexed; I knew that his boss had passed away earlier that year …
“Dad pulled a large envelope out of his pocket and gave it to me. We sat together on the front porch and looked inside…
“There were ALL of the THANK YOU notes I had sent to his boss over the years! My Dad put his arm around me and told me that his boss always looked forward to receiving my homemade Thank You cards — just as much as I looked forward to seeing my Dad come home with those beautiful turkeys every year.
“So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that not only is it rewarding to be able to show some of your appreciation to the people you work with, but when they in turn take the time to show THEIR appreciation, EVERYONE wins!!”
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your story!
Accompany your Thanksgiving turkey gift with a heartfelt note of appreciation. Download our free eBook, “Put the Thanks in Thanksgiving: How to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees” and learn from workplace leaders how to write a Thanksgiving letter of gratitude that will be memorable for years to come.
The gThankYou! Team looks forward to helping you celebrate your hard-working employees this holiday season!
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