GAMES, GRATITUDE, ANDGOOD TIMES WHY THANKSGIVING IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY A few times each week , Steve Damron, an attorney here at Emery Law Office, brings me a diet lemonade. I never asked him to do it; he simply noticed that I enjoy the beverage and got in the habit of bringing me one. It’s not a grand gesture, but I’m so grateful for it. Steve saw that a little kindness could have a big impact on me, and he acted on it. It’s one of the many qualities that makes him an excellent attorney and a compassionate coworker. I relay this story because I think it’s aligned with the spirit of Thanksgiving. Over the years, other holidays have become heavily commercialized, forcing you to cut through the noise to get at the true meaning of the day. Thanksgiving hasn’t been totally immune to the trend — just ask the retail employees who have to start their Black Friday shifts before the turkey is cold — but the actual event itself remains pure. There’s no pressure to buy the coolest present or throw the grandest party. Instead, it’s all about spending time with loved ones and expressing your gratitude in personal ways. To me, it’s the perfect embodiment of the holiday spirit. In my family, Thanksgiving is always a weekend for playing games and laughing. Much like the late 18th century celebrations, we also take several days to eat together and be thankful. Throughout the weekend, which we spend with my extended family in St. Louis, you can always find a few of us playing a game of some sort. We’re working together to battle a deadly outbreak in Pandemic, competing against each other to scoop the next pot in poker, or downloading Trivia Crack on our phones to see who possesses the most useless knowledge. In between gaming sessions, you might find me bingeing on those cheesy Hallmark movies, much to the nausea of my children. Another one of our family traditions during Thanksgiving is to create a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, a program created by the Samaritan’s Purse charity. The program asks people to fill shoe boxes with small gifts, candy, and other items, which are then sent to needy children
throughout the world. It helps make a young person’s holiday season a little brighter, and it’s a great way for us to give back as a family. We’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, and I hope the tradition continues for many generations to come. Of course, Thanksgiving also involves plenty of eating, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some recognition to my dad’s smoked turkey. In the rare instances when I’ve eaten somebody else’s turkey on Thanksgiving, it’s never measured up to his. I’m also particularly fond of our family’s pretzel jello salad and corn flake potatoes, though some of you may know them as funeral potatoes. As I look back on what I’m thankful for this year, I have to express my gratitude to our incredible team and clients. It’s taken a while, but I really do feel like we have a dream team at Emery Law Office. Similarly, I get to serve the greatest clients in the world. The chance to hear your stories and help you through difficult times is something I’ll never take for granted. I hope you have the chance to spend a relaxing Thanksgiving with your loved ones this year. And, like Steve, I hope you find a way to spread the Thanksgiving spirit no matter the time of year. -Melissa Emery
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BEST DIY GIFT IDEAS
Looking for gift ideas that don’t break the bank but still show the special people in your life how much you care? Do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts are the way to go. Here are a few ideas to put together on a chilly night. Pull out your crafting supplies, turn on some holiday tunes, and get creative. FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST
BEST DIY GIFT FOR YOUR BESTIE: Personalized Mug
You only need a mug and an oven-safe or porcelain marker to create this personalized gift. Use a mug you already own, pick one up from the dollar store or thrift store, and get expressive! You could write a sweet or funny message (“but first, coffee” or “two shots, hold the chatter”) or list their favorite beverage (“coffee, no sugar” or “green tea”). Write something that makes them think of you, or create a simple drawing. Enjoy the artistic freedom as much as they’ll enjoy your thoughtful gift. Utilize a map, a pair of scissors, some glue, and your memories of meaningful places to create this sentimental gift. Choose map locations that are meaningful to you and your special person — where you met, where you celebrated special moments, where you first lived — and cut them out in geometric or heart shapes. Then, glue the cutouts to a piece of matboard. You can add kind words at each point, or let the places explain themselves. Place in a frame and gift to your loved one. BEST DIY GIFT FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL: Memory Map
BEST DIY GIFT TO MAKE WITH THE LITTLE ONES: Handprint Apron
Aunties, uncles, and godparents will love a gift that incorporates their favorite little ones, and it’s a great way to get the kids in on the project. Choose some unadorned aprons from your local craft or home goods store and some acrylic paint in a variety of colors. Then get crafty! The kids can use their handprints as a starting point and add other decorations as they like. You can also find some fun ideas on the blog Little Page Turner, like painting a butterfly from your kids’ stamped footprints. Have fun with it!
WINTER ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR CAR
DON’T TRAVEL WITHOUT THESE ITEMS
ROCK SALT OR KITTY LITTER Traction can be the difference between spinning your tires and moving down the road. Coarse material like salt, litter, or sand will help propel your vehicle out of a winter rut. GLOVES, BLANKETS, AND WINTER CLOTHING While you may think you’ll be wearing these anyway, it’s smart to keep extras in your car. Let’s say you run a quick errand to the grocery store and end up stalling out. Without proper clothing, you’ll be fighting hypothermia in a hurry.
Driving during the winter presents unique challenges. Freezing temperatures affect car performance, and road conditions are at their worst during the season. Sadly, these factors can result in you winding up in a snowbank, stalled on the side of the road, or worse. Getting stuck or stranded in the winter is nobody’s idea of a good time, but it’s a lot less frightening if you keep your car well-stocked with supplies. With that in mind, here is a list of essential items for winter driving. GOOD ICE SCRAPER AND BRUSH We’ve all struggled to scrape ice and snow off the car with a dime-store scraper that can barely do the job. It stinks, right? Nobody should have to struggle to clear their windshield, especially when quality scrapers and brushes are so inexpensive. Given that you should always clear your car before driving, this one’s an essential that will save you a lot of frigid headaches. SHOVEL Clearing a path without a shovel is like cooking soup without a pot. Sure, you can do it, but it’s going to be a hassle. No matter how small your car is, there’s a shovel that will fit in it. If you ever end up stuck in the snow, you’ll be thankful you have it.
FIRST AID KIT, FLASHLIGHT, AND JUMPER CABLES As with spare warm clothing, these will prove super useful in the event you experience a winter accident. Come to think of it, you should have
these in your car year round. They’ll always come in handy when you’re in a tough spot.
CELL PHONE CHARGER Panic will set in if you’re in a crash and can’t call for help. Charge your phone before any long journeys and keep a charger in your car just in case.
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HAVE A LAUGH!
WONDERFUL CHARITIES TO SUPPORT DURING THE HOLIDAYS 3 Giving back is part of the holiday spirit. As I mentioned in this month’s cover, my family has participated in Operation Christmas Child for as long as I can remember. The project, run by Samaritan’s Purse, is just one of the many awesome ways to support a great cause during the holiday season. Here are a few more incredible causes to consider donating to this year. COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL Sponsoring children through Compassion International helps eliminate child poverty across the world. The organization is dedicated to “helping children of all faiths, cultures, backgrounds, and races” escape poverty and have a brighter future. I can tell you from personal experience that Compassion International is a fantastic charity, and providing aid to a child is an experience unlike any other. You can go to compassion.com to learn more and find a child to support. ST. VINCENT DE PAUL I’ve known about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) for a long time, but it was a member of our Client Advisory Board who let me know just how special the organization is. This person had been homeless and knew countless others in the same predicament. They told me that of all the charities fighting poverty and homelessness in our area, SVdP had helped them the most. Since hearing their stories, supporting this wonderful organization has been a priority for our firm. DARE TO CARE FOOD BANK Dare to Care Food Bank provides over 19 million meals per year to hungry families in Kentucky and Indiana. The charity was founded with the mission “to lead our community to feed the hungry and conquer the cycle of need.” They’re particularly busy during the holidays and need all the volunteers they can get. You can also donate food or money to Dare to Care or organize a food drive in your area to benefit the organization. Check out daretocare.org to find out how. These are just a few of the many charities doing inspiring work in our community and beyond. This year, if you have a little extra time or money to spare, please consider giving back to somebody in need. I promise you won’t regret it.
CREAMY SWEET POTATOES Inspired by The New York Times
• 5 pounds sweet potatoes • 1 cup canned coconut milk • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
WE WANT YOU TO THINK OF US AS YOUR LAW FIRM. If you have a legal matter that needs attention, let us know. If we can’t handle the matter, we will refer you to a firm that can. Please feel free to refer us to your friends and family for their legal needs. We welcome the opportunity to help. We’d love to feature your recipe in our newsletter. Submit a recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org before Thanksgiving for a chance to be featured in the January edition of our newsletter. The winner will also receive a $100 Kroger gift card. 2. Let potatoes cool until they are safe to handle, then peel and mash. 3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine coconut milk, salt, half the sugar, and half the butter to potatoes. 4. 30 minutes before serving, heat oven to 425 F. Spread potatoes in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. 5. Uncover potatoes and dot with remaining butter and sugar. Broil until brown, crusty, and delicious. Serve hot. 1. Heat oven to 375 F. On a large sheet pan, bake potatoes until very soft, approximately 75 minutes.
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THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF THANKSGIVING 1 THE BEST DIY GIFTS PREPARE YOUR VEHICLE FOR WINTER 2 MELISSA’S FAVORITE CHARITIES CREAMY SWEET POTATOES 3 HOW THANKSGIVING BECAME AN OFFICIAL HOLIDAY! 4 INSIDE
T hanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays celebrated throughout the United States. One of the first documented Thanksgiving celebrations took place in 1621 when Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast together. But the banquet, which celebrated the colonists’ first successful harvest, wasn’t just one large meal, nor did it last for only one day; in fact, the feast lasted for three days. HOW THANKSGIVING BECAME A NATIONAL HOLIDAY SARAH HALE
published in her 1830 collection entitled “Poems for Our Children.”
In later years, Thanksgiving also lasted for longer than a single meal. During the time of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress chose several days throughout the year to celebrate giving thanks. Then, in 1789, George Washington made the U.S. national government’s first Thanksgiving proclamation. He used this to speak to his fellow American citizens about the Revolution’s satisfactory conclusion and encouraged them to show their thanks for the freedoms they gained. Thanksgiving became a national holiday more than 200 years after its first celebration. It gained this status largely due to the persistence of a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Hale was a successful magazine editor, prolific writer of novels and poems, and author of the famous nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” which was first
In 1827, Hale began a campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. For the next 36 years, she wrote numerous editorials and countless letters to state and federal officials expressing her desire that it gain official status. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln finally declared it a national holiday, hoping that it would help heal the wounds of the country. Lincoln decided that the holiday would take place on the last Thursday of November. It was celebrated on that day until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving a week earlier in the hopes of increasing retail sales during the Great Depression. However, this plan was very
unpopular, and in 1941, the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. Without the efforts of Sarah Hale, we might not have the pleasure of the Thanksgiving feast we know and love to this day. This year, give thanks for family, good food, and the resolve of one woman who recognized the importance of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
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