In This Spirit of Thankfulness

It’s Thanksgiving. We gather, break bread together and remember all we are thankful for. That’s the day at its core. It had a rough go at first, Thanksgiving did, and almost didn’t make it this far through history. It was President George Washington who, in 1789, in his very first presidential proclamation, declared a day of national thanksgiving. But interest waned, as it sometimes does, and Thanksgiving became a mostly forgotten holiday until President Abraham Lincoln felt compelled to revive the tradition. When he did, he proclaimed the last Thursday of November, 1863, as our national day of Thanksgiving. It was something we needed as a nation, back in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. And still we need it, in the midst of whatever it is we are going through now. Many seem to think it is ok to be rude and belittling and not civil toward each other, an example set before them by the highest office in the land. This is not something with which I agree. This is not the way things are supposed to be.

With Thanksgiving, we get a day to reflect and to take pause. To think about what is important to us. It could be nothing more than the pumpkin pie on your plate, and that’s ok. But it could also be all the people who are gathered around you at the table, and all the people who lift you up, rather than weigh you down, and all the things in life that bring you joy and peace and solace. For me, it also includes all of you who read this Book of Days and all who take time to comment and engage with it, and all the people we meet at pop up markets and all the people we never meet, but tell us things that sometimes make me so emotional, like this comment that came from a reader who, just a couple of weeks ago, ordered one of our vintage German Chimney Sweep ornaments. I made the chimney sweep our cover star for today (photo above), and here’s what our reader had to say, a few days after his order arrived in Virginia:

We received our order today and couldn’t be happier!!! Thank you so much. Just so you know why this is such a nice purchase for us. Me and my wife were both military brats and grew up overseas in Germany. We met in Berlin Germany, my wife has been looking for this type of ornament for some Time now, this is very similar to a Christmas ornament that her parents had when she was growing up. The chimney sweep ornament was her father’s and he always hung it last. Well this year my father-in-law passed away and my wife wanted to get this in remembrance of him and the traditions her family grew up with. I can’t tell you how much having this ornament will mean to her for the rest of our lives. She thinks her father may have gotten the ornament in east berlin when she was a child. Either way we will love and cherish it forever.

Stuff like this chokes me up, because I get it, I understand those feelings exactly. And so I am thankful that we get to be part of this journey with you, sometimes in these very strange ways. From Seth and me, to all of you: Happy Thanksgiving.

We’re popping up at quite a few local South Florida venues in the next few weeks!

City of Lake Worth Tree Lighting
Saturday November 30 from 6 to 9 PM
at the Cultural Plaza in Downtown Lake Worth, right behind the City Hall Annex
414 Lake Avenue in Lake Worth
This is not, at the time of this writing, a confirmed venue for us, but there’s a very good chance (let’s say… 85% likely) that we will be there in a tent on the plaza with a pop up shop of our Christmas artisan goods from Sweden, Mexico, and Germany, as well as traditional sparkly German advent calendars and advent candles, and a few of my mom’s famous candy wreaths. (And yes, our town was recently re-christened “Lake Worth Beach” by a slim margin in the last election… but I’ve not yet been able to bring myself to utter a name that contains both “Lake” and “Beach.” But you know where to find the tree lighting and us, should we be there in our tent, this Saturday evening: Good old Downtown Lake Worth, right behind the beautiful City Hall Annex and across from the Library.)

Real Mail Fridays: Winter Card Writing Social
Friday December 6 from noon to 6 PM
at Jaffe Center for Book Arts in the Library at Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road in Boca Raton
There’ll be a mini Makers Marketplace at this annual event so you can do a little shopping, but also bring your Christmas cards and Hanukkah cards and New Year cards and get the task of writing them started (or tackled) in a festive environment with other like minded souls. Great fun!

Saturday & Sunday December 7 & 8 (2 to 9 PM on Saturday; 1 to 8 PM on Sunday)
at the American German Club
5111 Lantana Road in suburban Lake Worth
Convivio Bookworks will be part of this old time German Christmas market at the American German Club, west of the town of Lantana. At our booth you’ll find traditional handmade German Christmas items, and we’ll throw in some other handmade items from our Swedish and Mexican collections, too, as well as Shaker herbs & teas, some letterpress goods, and my mom’s famous handmade candy wreaths.

Undiscovered: An Inclusive Arts Festival
Saturday December 14 from 10 AM to 4 PM (but we have to pack up by 3!)
at Palm Beach Habilitation Center
4522 South Congress Avenue in Lake Worth
We’re so excited to take part in this inaugural arts fair at the Hab Center, which does such wonderful work helping folks with disabilities become more independent through training and employment. There are art projects that EVERYONE can participate in, and there’s a pop up market; we’ll be there with lots of great artisan goods from our catalog.

Holiday Night Market
Saturday December 14 from 4 to 8 PM
at Social House
512 Lucerne Avenue in Downtown Lake Worth
It’s always a special night at Social House. We’ll be showing our Christmas artisan goods and Shaker teas (and my mom’s famous candy wreaths). One of our favorite markets at one of our favorite places!

Midwinter Makers Marketplace
Sunday December 15 from 10 AM to 4 PM
at Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road in Boca Raton
It’s full swing yuletide and we’ll be showing our handmade artisan Christmas ornaments and decorations from Germany, Sweden, and Mexico and our full line of Shaker herbs & teas and more (like my mom’s famous candy wreaths). Plus there’s live music almost all day: Ella Herrera from 10 to 1 and Rio Peterson from 1 to 4. Look for the blue & white MAKERS MARKETPLACE signs on FAU campus roads.

Revelry Sip & Shop
Sunday December 15 from 1 to 6 PM
at Revelry Lake Worth
17 South J Street in Downtown Lake Worth
Find us in the courtyard with our handmade Christmas artisan goods and Shaker herbs and teas and more (including my mom’s famous candy wreaths again!). They’re serving mimosas!


14 thoughts on “In This Spirit of Thankfulness

  1. Merike says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family John. I’m sure there will be a full table at your mother’s house today. Enjoy!!

  2. Dixie says:

    A lovely start to Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful that you share your thoughts with us and so often hit the nail square on the head. Peace and Light to you and yours. May kindness and justice fill your home and your heart to day and always.

  3. Maggie von Grote says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and a big THANK YOU for being there for all of us with your beautiful, uplifting, and interesting stories throughout the years!
    I, too, still have a little chimney sweep ornament, sent to me by my parents in Germany for good luck on my first Christmas here in the USA many years ago.
    Many Blessings, Maggie.

    • John Cutrone says:

      How wonderful, Maggie! Are the chimney sweeps meant to bestow good luck? Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Maggie says:

        Yes John, especially for New Year’s we send cards with the “ambassadors for Good Luck and Prosperity”:

        Chimney sweeps, piglets, four leave clovers, and the red mushroom with the white dots (sorry, don’t know their botanical name).
        A nice 1st of Advent to you and yours.

        • John Cutrone says:

          Thanks, Maggie; now the chimney sweep ornament makes more sense. Red mushroom with dots: I don’t know the botanical name, either, but in our new collection of Christmas items from Sweden, there is just such a thing. We call it just what the Swedish artisans called it when they sent it to us: Toad Stool.

          A good Advent to you and yours, too, Maggie! We wish you light.

  4. Marjorie Hollis says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Seth and your families. I join the chorus in thanking you and praising you for your wonderful posts. They are so valuable in that they switch attention from the very dismaying state of our country to the simple things that we should always treasure – family, friends, history, stories and love. Thank you!

  5. Bev Markowitz says:

    We do have so much to be grateful for and it’s a great day to take time and reflect. Our best wishes to you and Seth and your families for good things today and all through the year(s).

  6. Nancy Palmer says:

    Another eloquent post, John. I’m thankful for your eloquent messages throughout the year. Yes, this is a strange time for us. Children model the behavior they see, and I’m particularly concerned about what the current political system and its manifestation in daily life is teaching them. I’m angry that bigotry feels it doesn’t have to hide in the shadows these days. And it’s frustrating that all I can seem to do putting good into the world, amounts to so little as a barrier against that tide of hate.

    But we’re stubborn, very stubborn, in all the best ways. Old oak stump stubborn. We have deep roots in compassion and love, and it will take more than that dark wave to remove us. So I’ll end in brightness, the better to summon it forth from our world.

    Love and light to you and Seth and your magical mom and sister, and all the rest of your family of birth and of choice. Bright blessings as the year turns; may they follow you into the new year. And may all of us find joy in the new year.

    • John Cutrone says:

      Amen, Nancy, and thank you. I appreciate your wishes immensely and wish all these good things for you, too. Keep setting a good example. Advent has come now: let’s all keep being light bearers.

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