We're celebrating two awe-inspiring occasions: Easter Sunday and Passover. For Christians, Easter is about the miracle of the resurrection and the promise of eternal life. For Jews, Passover is a celebration of liberation from slavery as well as a reminder of resilience and their ability to overcome adversity.
The word "awe" fits these holidays perfectly. It's defined as the emotion we feel when encountering something immense that transcends our understanding of the world. It makes us feel good by connecting us to something bigger than ourselves.
Awe is critical to happiness and well-being. Researchers have found that like the emotions of joy and love, the sensation of awe calms us and triggers hormones that promote trust in our relationships.
Your sense of awe might be triggered by Easter Sunday services today or during Passover seders. But it also can be felt enjoying the personal traditions of the day, such as an egg hunt, watching a child enjoy an Easter basket, or having a conversation with a family member.
Last week, we shared some of our family's favorite Easter memories and traditions, and invited our community to submit their own. The response and the stories were awesome on many levels. Here are a few of our favorites.
The power of reconnecting with grandparents
Elizabeth shared a story about growing up in Upstate New York. In the 1950s, her dad worked in the General Electric factory in Schenectady, New York. Her amazing mom was a homemaker who fed her family, took care of the children, and found "ingenious ways to stretch the household budget," including making all the clothes worn by Elizabeth and her sister.
One Easter in the early '50s, my paternal grandparents came to visit for the weekend. The old photographs show them smiling and relaxed as my parents fed them and feted them and took them to church.
We were all dressed in our Sunday best. My mother had made my father a new shirt that he wore with a tie that she also made. She wore a new dress that she designed and sewed. My sister and I were dressed in the latest '50s fashion: new patent-leather shoes and adorable little girl dresses in tiny pink florals.
My grandmother exclaimed over us, telling us how cute and how pretty we were, and urging our grandfather to agree with her. At which point he would grunt, "Yup." Grandma would be dressed in her best, and she always wore a hat to church.
Even as a child, I was aware of the love and connection in the Easter season. Being with my parents and grandparents was the most wonderful part of the holiday.
The scramble for Grandma's kisses
Jane wrote about memories of visiting her grandparents' house for an Easter feast – and a great after-dinner tradition with her cousins.
After returning from church, we'd go to my grandparents' house, where the warm, sweet scent of ham, which to this day reminds me of my grandmother, wafted in the air. She would have several tables set, one with her finest china and crystal. Of course, as I was number six in the lineup to adulthood, I never did make it to the grown-up table with the fancy settings.
After dinner, Grandmom would sit in her favorite wingback chair at the front of the room, with all the furniture pushed to the sides to accommodate our big family. She reigned there, like the Queen of England on her throne.
In her hand was a bag of Hershey's Kisses. She tossed handfuls of them to all the cousins. There were 22 of us! She called it a "scramble." It was every man for himself, attempting to collect as many chocolate Kisses as possible while laughing and yelling. They are treasured memories for me.
Finding peace at Passover
Benji shared a memory of enjoying a seder with his girlfriend's parents, siblings, and their children – and how it brought out a side of the family he had never seen.
Holidays with her family were uproarious, since her five older sisters all had kids, but nobody could match the ruckus of her mother and father. They fought and bickered constantly. To give you an example, at Thanksgiving, her father motioned to her mother at the other end of the table and said, 'Pass me the potatoes.' Her mother glared at him, and without missing a beat said, 'God gave you two legs and two arms, come get them yourself.'
When I was invited for the first time for Passover dinner, I expected the same organized chaos, but that's not what happened. For the first time, they sat together at the dinner table, and as their grandchildren read stories, they held hands and gazed at each other with pride. That's when I saw a real-life example that Passover was most definitely about peace.
More Easter memories & traditions
Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their Easter and Passover memories with our community. The ancient events that inspire today's celebrations are indeed awe-inspiring, but so are the personal moments and memories associated with the holidays.
All the best,
Chris and Jim
Celebrating National Siblings Day
Monday is National Siblings Day, an opportunity to reflect on the special relationship between brothers and sisters. As two brothers who together run a successful company, we're lucky to be able to see each other practically every day.
Siblings Day provides us with a reminder to send a note or set aside time to get together or pick up the phone at the end of the day. Whatever it may be, just take some positive action to grow your relationship with your sibling.
The main thing for our family on Siblings Day is just getting in some caring communication. There are five of us, and on that day we make sure to clearly communicate to one another just how important each one is to us.
Nurses, Teachers, & Moms
The first two weeks of May promise to be very busy times for our thoughtful customers. Besides celebrating Amazing Moms on May 14, we're also looking forward to helping you celebrate nurses on May 6 and teachers from May 8 to May 12.
As part of our year-round celebration of amazing women, we thought it'd be fun to profile women who are moms, teachers, and nurses – the trifecta of roles that deserve our gratitude in early May as well as the rest of the year.
If you or someone you know is a mom and a nurse or teacher, please share your story with us. We'll highlight a few in an upcoming Celebrations Pulse and will surprise one randomly selected entry with surprises from our family of brands.
We're celebrating Earth Month in April by turning our attention to climate change and interviewing experts on topics related to what is happening to our environment. Understanding what others are doing is the first step toward creating a change.
One of the leaders in climate change is Ryan Panchadsaram, an adviser to the chairman of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and former deputy chief technology officer of the United States. He's also the co-author of the book Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now.
An engineer and investor focused on solving systemic, societal challenges, Ryan invests in founders and technologies that aim to change the world. He's operated in both the private and government sectors and served as a delegate to the United Nations and helped launch the Solutions Summit to support sustainable development and innovations.
Speed & Scale was written with Kleiner Perkins Chairman John Doerr and designed to give leaders measurable objectives and key results to cut greenhouse gas emissions. This best seller is one of the most talked about and essential books on implementing a climate change solution and achieving net zero carbon emissions.
Last month, Jim attended Worth Media Group's Techonomy Climate 2023 conference in Mountain View, California, where he had the opportunity to explore new ways organizations are redefining agriculture to continue the fight against the climate crisis. He also had an opportunity to meet up with an old friend, Ali Arbabi, a local florist who crafted the beautiful flower arrangements for the event.
Ali, who owns 1-800-Flowers / Rose Cart, is our franchisee in Sunnyale, California. He's one of the thousands of talented florists nationwide who make up our Bloomnet service and play a critical role in delivering smiles to our customers.
"I don't think I've seen Ali for about 10 years, and it was great to reconnect and get caught up," Jim says. "We're about the same age and have been working together for over 30 years. He's a special guy and a talented florist!"
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Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. From sharing stories to welcoming your ideas, we want to help you to express, connect, and celebrate the important people in your life.