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.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Many of us are still experiencing the joy that comes with the holiday, not to mention the leftovers from Thursday’s feast. It’s a great time to celebrate the bounty of the fall harvest, share great food, and reconnect with family and friends.

Thanksgiving, of course, marks only the beginning of what’s arguably the most anticipated time of the year. We look forward to November and December for good reason: the food, the celebrations, and the re-connections. It’s a time when we create the memories that last a lifetime.

Our Tree of Gratitude

As we reflect on our Thanksgiving we wanted to share a family tradition created by our sister Julie. Each year, every member of the family writes what they are thankful for on a paper leaf that we hang from our gratitude tree.

We think the gratitude tree is something worth thinking about on Thanksgiving but also any time of year! Gratitude is seasonless.

Photo of a tree of gratitude

Our Community’s Gratitude, Thanksgiving Celebrations and Giving Back

Vikki shared that she learned of Giving Tuesday only recently and that she now gives to her charity of choice – an organization that provides meals to hungry children. If you’re looking to support a charity on Giving Thursday, check out our partnership with No Kid Hungry, which is working to fight childhood hunger in the United States.

Thanksgiving can be a tough time but we can always count our blessings. Our community member Sami gives thanks for her therapy dog, Oreo.

Being 73 years old, disabled, and having no family leaves me alone for Thanksgiving. I am grateful for my therapy dog Oreo. I take Oreo to the park and we celebrate every holiday with her romping in the park. On Thanksgiving, we eat our turkey dinner on my good china. Oreo and I support Angel’s Paws.”

Sami S.

Donna shared how she and her mother have sent Cheryl’s Cookies to one another as ongoing, tasty tokens of appreciation. She also reminded us that family extends beyond those with whom we share a biological-relation and that we should send our thanks to those that have shown us their love along the way.

As December approaches, it’s important not to forget the spirit of Thanksgiving and the gratitude that was expressed around the table. Take time this season to think about the people you haven’t spoken to in a while and make a plan to reconnect. Surprise them with a phone call, email, or text – just to say hello and to thank them for everything they mean to you.

We promise, you and your friends will have another reason to be thankful this holiday season!

Celebrating a bountiful harvest

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for a successful harvest. The feast dates back to 1621 after the Pilgrims’ first attempt to grow corn proved successful in Plymouth, Massachusetts. To this day, we celebrate the bounty among family and friends.

We want to take the opportunity to express our thanks to the people in our company who work all year to ensure a successful harvest. As we’ve mentioned in earlier letters, Harry & David grows tons of food each year, including famous Royal Riviera pears and Oregold peaches.

If you don’t know, Harry and David Rosenberg, the founders of Harry & David, graduated with agricultural degrees from Cornell University in 1914 and inherited their father’s 240 prime acres of pear orchards in Southern Oregon. The brothers chose to specialize in Comice pears, the intensely sweet and juicy pears originally from the south of France. Today, we call them Royal Riviera pears.

Over 100 years later, and the company still handpicks all of our pears during harvest, which is usually at the end of the summer and beginning of fall and lasts about five weeks. Overseeing the operation is Matt Borman, vice president of orchards. He’s been a farmer for over 30 years.

Photo of a Royal Riviera Pear from the Harry & David orchard.

How pears come to ‘fruition’

Growing pears is not a simple task, and it requires lots of patience and perfect agronomic conditions. “First, there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ harvest since conditions change each year,” Matt told us. “We start the growing season immediately after the harvest season ends, which is around Nov. 1. So, it takes almost 10 months for the pear to come to fruition. Pardon the pun.”

Matt explained that throughout the year, the grower preps for harvest by managing over 1,700 acres of pears that need to be pruned, and protected from disease, frostbite, droughts, and other weather and physical conditions. “We maintain the soil so it’s rich in nutrients, we make sure that the climate remains as close to constant as possible, that we are environmentally responsible particularly when it comes to irrigation and water which is a valuable natural resource, particularly on the West Coast.”

Thank you to Matt and his team for another great harvest! But don’t take our word for it. Here’s a sampling of the note of gratitude we’ve received from members of the community.

If we’ve made your mouth water, that’s a testament to the deliciousness of pears. If you haven’t already, you can learn more here and, you can click here for some pear recipes.

All the best,

Chris and Jim


Jim McCann is the founder, CEO, and chairman of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. as well as a business leader, author, and philanthropist with a passion for helping people deliver smiles. Devoted to helping others, he also founded Smile Farms, a 501(c)3 organization that provides meaningful jobs in agricultural settings to young adults and adults with developmental disabilities.

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