Holiday Traditions of Sending Gifts to USA
1st Sunday after the first full moon that follows the spring equinox
First Monday in September
Fourth Thursday in November
December - dates vary based on Hebrew calendar
Gift delivery to the USA or any country can present difficulty at times: What does one send, when does one send it? The proliferation of holidays and gifting traditions in every country of the world proves that no matter where you are, a gift is always welcome; gifts may very well be a universal language. However, as with any language, there may be subtle, but important, differences in the way one gives gifts depending on one's current region. It is important to understand the meanings behind holidays and gifts in every culture, so that when one decides to honor a friend or family member from a different culture, they can be sure to send the appropriate and intended message. Sending the right gifts to the USA can be a challenge if one isn't familiar with the holidays and how they're celebrated.
In the United States, gifts are almost always welcome and many people love to look for reasons to celebrate. Having a new friend over for dinner the first time is just as much a reason to celebrate as an important religious or federal holiday, and an exchange of gifts would be completely appropriate on either occasion! Americans feel that gifts are for everyone: teachers, co-workers, bosses, friends, family, and even strangers; indeed, on certain holidays, some Americans make it a point to give to someone they don't know (i.e., with "Secret Santa" celebrations and volunteering on Thanksgiving). To this end, gift basket delivery to the USA has become one of the most popular ways to show you care or to celebrate a special occasion.
It's no secret that the United States represents an incredible range of palettes, tastes, regional foods, and types of cuisines. From burgers and fries to exotic international choices; from New England clam chowder to Baltimore Blue Crab Soup; and from soul food to health food Americans love great food. Is it any wonder that some of the most popular gifts for birthdays, family gatherings, New Year's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas are Gourmet Gifts overflowing with delectable treats and Fruit Baskets bursting with healthful, mouth-watering selections from nature's bounty?
In the United States a flower is worth a thousand words and a bouquet can speak volumes. There are flowers for friendship (pink roses), inspiration (irises), for remembering (white carnations), and, of course, for passion (red roses). Indeed, flowers speak their own language without words: white tulips say, "I forgive you," any color of yarrow says, "Get well soon," and gladiolus says, "Be strong." For this reason, any special occasion is the perfect time to send your message in the secret code of flowers. Men and women alike will enjoy Flowers on Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.
As of 2004, it was estimated that Americans worked 50% more than their European counterparts, so it's easy to see that Americans enjoy playing as hard as they work (Prescott, E. C., 2004). In America, any special occasion - such as a birthday, anniversary, or wedding - is ideal for sending a Spa Gifts or a Wine Gifts to help any hard worker wind down and relax. Such hard-working people also often celebrate business partnerships and achievements, and these occasions are also perfect for Tea-Coffee Gifts and baskets brimming with Sweets.
Prescott, E. C. (2004). Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans? Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Quarterly Review, 28, 1, pp. 2-13.
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Most Celebrated National Holidays
1st Sunday after the first full moon that follows the spring equinox - Easter
Easter - Date varies - the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the spring equinox
Easter in the United States is one of the major festivals of the year; traditionally, during this time, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus three days after his death. Since the date of the Christian holiday also corresponds to the timing of pagan rites that celebrate fertility and spring renewal, Easter eggs, games, feasting, and fun activities have all become a part of the festivities, even though the main celebrations take place in churches. One of the most important secular symbols of Easter in the U.S. is the Easter Bunny. He "hides" Easter eggs in houses and gardens, and children search for these treats on Easter Sunday. This holiday celebrated with a wide range of customs, folklore, and traditional foods. Families often gather for great feasts, and it is appropriate to exchange gifts - often in the form of Easter baskets filled with eggs, sweets, and delicious treats - with friends and relatives on Easter.
Second Sunday in May - Mother's Day
Mother's Day - Second Sunday in May
Mother's day is celebrated all over the world to honor motherhood and maternal figures. On this special day in the United States, devoted children often make adorable gifts and cards for their mothers, serve her breakfast in bed, and give her the day off by helping with chores. Older children may celebrate by treating their mothers to a special brunch or dinner, and spouses make sure to honor their wives and the mothers of their children with affection and lavish gifts.
July 4 - Independence Day
Independence Day - July 4
Independence Day, also called the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday that commemorates American independence from Great Britain via the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Although most delegates actually signed the document on the 2nd of July, it was on this date in 1776 that America's freedom from Britain was much-publicized, and it is this date that has remained in the culture's consciousness. For Americans, this is a day to gather with friends and family and celebrate being free; many families organize barbecues or other big feasts, many play or watch sports - especially baseball - and most cities organize stunning fireworks displays to celebrate.
Third Sunday in June - Father's Day
Father's Day - Third Sunday in June
Father's day is celebrated to honor fatherhood and father figures. On this special day in the United States, devoted children offer up "Number 1 Dad" gifts and home-made cards for their fathers, serve him breakfast in bed, and help with chores around the house. Adult children may celebrate by treating their fathers to a special brunch or dinner, and spouses make sure to honor their husbands and the fathers of their children with affection and endearing gifts.
First Monday in September - Labor Day
Labor Day - First Monday in September
Long before there was the television show "Dirty Jobs" Americans were celebrating Labor Day in order to honor the hard work and sacrifice of the American laborer, to remember the laborers who died in the struggle to create protections for workers, and to celebrate the advent of the Labor movement. The holiday has also become synonymous with the end of summer and the beginning of the school year (a welcome sight for parents, but not so fun for children). Workers celebrate with a day off from their jobs; many people gather together for cook-outs or other feasts; and still others use the time for visiting friends and relatives, playing or watching sports, and indulging in other hobbies or fun activities. It's also a great day for back-to-school and department store sales and many people celebrate by shopping.
Fourth Thursday in November - Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day - Fourth Thursday in November
For many Americans Thanksgiving Day celebrates the victories of the earliest settlers to the New World in their struggle to survive; their first year was wracked with many hardships, but Thanksgiving traditionally commemorates the success of their first harvest. Tragically, for modern Native Americans this same date is called The Day of Mourning, and it is remembered to commemorate the beginning of great suffering and subjection of Native American tribes at the hands of the settlers and the growing United States. For those who perceive it as a happy day, though, there is much celebration and feasting as families and friends come together in a spirit of gratitude for life's blessings. Traditional dishes may vary according to what is available at harvest time within a given region, but one most commonly sees turkey (usually roasted, but also prepared in many ways) stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and other fall vegetables on the Thanksgiving table. Large cities, most notably New York, hold giant parades for Thanksgiving; the most famous of these, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan's Herald Square, is a nationally televised, highly anticipated event that many families gather around the television to enjoy. Many Americans also enjoy one of the year's biggest Football days of the season after the big meal, since in the professional and college leagues it is customary to play some of the fiercest match-ups on this day.
December - dates vary based on Hebrew calendar - Hanukkah
Hanukkah - December, dates vary based on the Hebrew calendar
Hanukkah, or The Festival of Lights, is an eight-day holiday celebrated by those of the Jewish faith to commemorate the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd Century BCE. During the dedication a miracle occurred; although there was only enough oil to burn the lights in the temple for one day, they actually burned for eight days. The holiday officially begins at Sundown of the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (this can occur at any time between the end of November and the end of December on the Gregorian calendar), and is celebrated for eight consecutive nights during which one of eight menorah candles is lit and the Brachot blessings are spoken over them. The candles must be allowed to burn for thirty minutes after sundown. Jewish families gather together during this time to share blessings and read from the Torah and other edifying spiritual tomes; they also exchange small gifts with one another and enjoy foods fried in oil (particularly olive oil) such as jelly-filled donuts (pontshkes, in Yiddish), potato pancakes (latkes), fritters (bimuelos), and sufganiyot as a reminder of the miracle of the oil at the Temple.
December 26 to January 1 - Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa - December 26 to January 1
Kwanzaa is a celebration observed in the United States dedicated to honoring African culture and heritage. The holiday lasts for seven days during which celebrants ponder their achievements in (and plans to continue) upholding the Principles of Kwanzaa - Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith) - each principle is connected with a single day of Kwanzaa. Families celebrate by decorating their homes with art that reflects African ideals, by dressing in colorful and beautiful kente cloths, and by gathering together for feasts that include the sharing of libations from a common chalice, a traditional harvest cake, and joyous music and dancing. While Kwanzaa celebrates African heritage, the holiday is celebrated by African Americans as well as non-African Americans who value the holiday's celebration of strong values and strength in community.
December 25 - Christmas
Christmas - December 25
In the United States, Christmas is perhaps one of the most-anticipated celebrations both for people of the Christian faith as well as secular celebrants. The holiday commemorates the birth of Jesus, although the date originally corresponded to the Pagan holiday of Yule. These days, many people from a variety of faiths celebrate the spirit of peace, joy, and togetherness that Christmas connotes. Christmas activities in the U.S. include caroling, feasting, praying, and gift giving. Many people spend this holiday with family members, with whom they exchange gifts and cards. Many children wake up to find a sock or stocking filled with small gifts and chocolates on their bed or somewhere else in the house. The delivery of these gifts is attributed to a mythical figure called "Santa Claus" who is said to bring gifts to good children all over the world. Later in the day, people may attend special church services, even if they do not usually go to church. Nearly everyone prepares and eats a special meal and gathers to open their presents.
January 1 - New Year's Day
New Year's Day - January 1
In the U.S. many people actually ring in the new calendar year on New Year's Eve; they throw huge midnight celebrations; eat, drink, and act merry. They wait for midnight on the clock to cheer, make noise, and welcome the opportunity of a new year. Lovers hope to kiss at the stroke of twelve, as tradition tells that whatever one is doing at midnight on New Year's Eve predicts what one will be doing for the entire year. People often make resolutions about bettering themselves or their lives on this date. Celebrants often serve and indulge in a wide variety of foods and spirits and take the time to rest the following day.
February 14 - Valentine's Day
Some popular sources indicate that the Valentine's Day Festival originated in pagan times when people celebrated the fertility rite of Lupercalia on February 13th-15th; other sources credit the date to a celebration of the sacrifice of a Christian martyr named St. Valentine. All sources agree that it was Geoffrey Chaucer who connected the celebration with lovers in his poem Parlement of Foules in 1382. These days, Valentine's Day is essentially regarded as festival that celebrates love between both lovers and individuals. People wish "Happy Valentine's Day" to parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and any other special person in their lives. Though there are various traditions and customs associated with the festival, the most popular way of celebrating Valentine's Day in Australia is by expressing love to sweethearts and dear ones with an exchange of gifts. Some of the most traditional Valentine's Day gifts are fresh flowers, chocolates, and cards.
October 31 - Halloween
Halloween - October 31
Halloween is a holiday celebrated every year in the United States on October 31. Some people hold Halloween parties on or around this date, at which the hosts and guests often dress up as skeletons, ghosts, super heroes, or other scary (and even comical) figures. Many parties are aimed at children, although some have a distinctly adult nature. In some areas, children go trick-or-treating. This means that they dress up in costumes and go to other peoples' houses where they knock on the door and demand a "treat" - usually sweets or a snack. They threaten that if they do not get a treat, they will carry out a trick on the inhabitant of the house, but do not normally make good on the threat (even if a household has run out of candy).