Monthly Archives: December 2012

Celebrating “Hi Neighbor” Month

Good-NeighborsWe couldn’t let December slip away without making sure you knew that in addition to New Year’s Eve and the holiday season, that this is also National “Hi Neighbor” Month.

This is actually the perfect month to think about your relationship with those in near proximity to you.  We’re busy with parties, dinners, gift exchanges and counting down to the New Year so it’s already a very social season.  We reach out to relatives we’ve only seen once this year and even make sure we take special notice of those who we often take for granted (the mail carrier, newspaper delivery person, waiter/waitress, etc.).  Did you reach out to your neighbors this month too?  Have you even met your neighbors? Have you greeted them on your way in the door?

The word neighbor suggests a close proximity, so this month we should perhaps start with our actual next-door neighbors. Bake something for them, make them an ornament, or invite them over for coffee.  Yes, there are only a few hours left in December – that doesn’t mean you can’t carry the intent of “Hi Neighbor” month into the New Year.  You may find a treasured friend that you didn’t realize was only a quick walk away.  Or there may be an elderly shut-in nearby who is in need of a little neighborly help and conversation.  Offer to pick up groceries, bring them something to eat or help with yard work.

Another approach to getting to know your neighbors better is to host a neighborhood party. This time of year, many of us take for granted our time with family and social commitments when there are those who don’t have family or close friends nearby and are longing for that human connection.  A small party with a few people is a great way to introduce neighbors to each other and identify who may have needs that you could easily help with.  Remember, we cater, so the party doesn’t have to be work for you.  We love the idea and spirit of “Hi neighbor” month – it reminds us of our neighborhood Café and the warm tropical way we greet our customers.   A smile, a home cooked meal, a small gesture can go a long way in connecting with our neighbors and creating that special, welcoming environment in your neighborhood.

“Hi neighbor” month only requires the spirit of friendliness and it shouldn’t be limited to December.  The New Year is a great time to establish those bonds or to reconnect.  Invite a neighbor to Tropical Smoothie Cafe for a smoothie.  Or a simple smile and wave is a great place to start.

Speaking of “Hi Neighbor,” we just opened a new Café in North Las Vegas and are new to the neighborhood.  Please stop on in and say “Hi!”  Happy New Year and warm tropical wishes to our neighbors!

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Thanksgiving is Over, but What of Thankfulness?

Our daily lives can be hectic.  We need to balance work, school, family, kids, boyfriends and girlfriends, meals exercise and more.  Sometimes we try to perfectly balance things that seem contradictory like eating healthy while on a budget.  Adding the holidays can bring in more to manage and like trying to eat healthy when there are plates of fudge in every break room from “thoughtful” co-workers or gift shopping for everyone (including relatives you barely know or that person you drew the secret Santa gift for) all while … yes, on a budget.

Then there are the extra holiday functions, decorating, entertaining, wrapping and more that are piled on top of our already busy schedules.  It’s enough to send you into a state of overwhelm and grouchiness.

Whoa there, little fella.  Remember Thanksgiving?  Yes, we know — with Black Friday sales encroaching on Thanksgiving dinner these days, it can feel like one long holiday from Halloween through New Year’s Eve.  But — Thanksgiving was only three weeks ago.  Remember the heart-warming glow of thankfulness for all that you have to be grateful for?

I complained because I had no shoes until I saw someone who had no feet.

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In November, many people journal their gratitude in an exercise called “Thirty Days of Thanks” including things like having a roof over their heads.  Just because that same roof has a lot more company under it or we’ve entered a new month, doesn’t mean we have anything less to be thankful for.  The trick is to now allow extra chaos and the business of the holidays to distract us from those things we remembered to give thanks for last month.   Many people find that when they look at all they have from family, friends, freedom, jobs, health, pets, shelter, education, clothes, food, a promotion, a compliment and so on, that 30 days isn’t enough to capture everything they have to be thankful for.   So, instead of allowing the holidays to send you into a state of overwhelm which can detract from all the good you can experience daily — extend your gratitude exercise this month and focus on the things in each circumstance that you can be thankful for.  Bring your own sweets to the work break room so you won’t be tempted by them at home and be grateful they won’t go to waste.  Look at that relative you rarely see throughout the year and be grateful that the holidays brought you back together.  And commit to seeing them more often.  Do you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah?  Somehow, do you always manage to put presents under the tree (without going into debt)?  When you don’t get everything on your Christmas wish list, do you stop to remember all that you already have?  And be filled with gratitude for that?  Celebrate instead of stressing out.  Be grateful instead of grouchy.  And see if you can keep your gratitude journal going all year through.  They say that the more you express gratitude, the more things that will show up in your life to be grateful for.  We love that!

The great thing about thankfulness is that we don’t need any special ability to obtain it.  We just need to remember to practice it (sticky notes on the mirror, a daily journaling habit or calendar pop up reminders work really well).

Do what you can, communicate and keep expectations simple during the holidays.  That, and a daily gratitude statement that begins with “Thank you for…,” “I am grateful that,” or “I am grateful that I am/I have…” will have you skipping through the holiday season with a heart full of gratitude and a list that seems more manageable.

Oh… and that eating healthy on a budget thing?  You know where to find us.  Happy holidays everyone!