Tie One On Day in Pueblo, CO

"Put the give back into Thanksgiving"

TOODay is added to family’s Thanksgiving traditions in order to encourage children to experience giving from the heart. (Credit: EllynAnne Geisel)

Tie One On Day (…an apron, of course!) launched twelve years ago from a simple action: offering a gesture of kindness to a heartbroken neighbor the day before Thanksgiving. Writing about the experience on my website (www.apronmemories.com), the idea of kindness as its own reward resonated with my apron-loving sisterhood of “apronistas.” From a single Day (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving,) Tie One On is now celebrated locally and nationally with gestures of kindness throughout the month of November. Corporate sponsors (Bernina, Craftsy, Colonial Patterns, MikWright, SewNews, Country Woman, Cultivar, Nancy Zieman, the American Sewing Guild, Schmetz) and entrepreneurs (Heirloomed, Raw Materials Design, Amy Barickman, SugarBabyAprons), who believe that through kindness there can be change, provide product giveaways to encourage participation. “Giving from the heart and then giving thanks at Thanksgiving” is the mantra of Tie One On Day.

A graphic of Tie One On Day, an annual opportunity to brighten someone’s life through a gesture of kindness. (Credit: EllynAnne Geisel)

Twelve years ago, as I prepared for Thanksgiving the next day, a neighborhood family’s tragedy came to mind. Their holiday was not going to be about pumpkin pies.

I spontaneously wrapped a loaf of sweet bread in a spare apron and slipped a handwritten card of condolence in the pocket. Still wearing my own apron, I walked out the front door and two blocks to my neighbor’s home.

Four women package mini loaves and cookies for delivery to a women’s shelter. (Credit: EllynAnne Geisel)

Awaiting an answer to the doorbell, I was uncomfortable for the tardiness of recognizing her circumstance and considered leaving my offering on the porch and bolting. I’m forever happy that I didn’t drop and run because the expression on my neighbor’s face was not one of recrimination; rather, she looked totally stunned.

“Here,” I said, gesturing she should take the apron-wrapped bread. “I just want you to know that we’ve been thinking of you and your family.” And with that, I stepped off the porch. At the sidewalk, I turned and she was still in the doorway, holding the bundle and smiling. And then she waved. My heart leapt.

A TOODay cheery basket of sustenance. (Credit: EllynAnne Geisel)

Returning home, I felt unexpected joyfulness. That a simple act made someone else happy and my heart swell as well; I knew I needed to share the experience with others. That’s why I started Tie One On Day(…an apron, of course!) as a yearly encouragement to give from the heart through an act of kindness before giving thanks with friends and family on Thanksgiving.

Recognized by Chases Calendar of Events on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Tie One On Day inspires participants to wrap a baked good in an apron or cloth and tuck in a personal note, then deliver the offering to a neighbor, friend, or community organization that could benefit from a thoughtful gesture. The more who join in, the more who receive!

Thanksgiving is a holiday known for recollection, making new traditions and sharing. Every year, I am newly inspired by the sentiments shared by those who participate:

“I am filling shopping bags with fresh boxes of crayons, construction paper, stickers, stamps and stamp pads, glitter, glue, watercolor paints, paint brushes, beads, confetti, etc., and am going to head over to the local branch of the public library. Let the kids have a good time like I used to! I can’t wait to see all the handprint turkey pictures posted in the window!!!”

“I raided the local secondhand store for old jeans and tattered old linens to make darling jean ruffle aprons. I have six loaves and aprons to deliver and I feel so honored to a part of such a great give-a-thin.”

“This TOOD is going global. My girls and I will be giving to Sole Hope, providing closed toe shoes to African children one pair at a time. I hope others will join us!”

“I was once told that Thanksgiving was for giving thanks and gifts while Christmas was for religious renewal. It should be during Thanksgiving that gifts should be given as tokens of all the “thank-you’s” you should say to those who helped you throughout the year. Giving to those in need is also a “thank you” for being blessed with a kind heart and the ability to extend one’s hand in aide. I’ve tried using that lesson, giving to charities at Thanksgiving. This year, I plan on donating fresh vegetables and fruits to The Mission of Citrus County. Of course, I’ll have to include an apron too!”

“Hood River’s local 4-H groups heard about the Oak Street Hotel’s support of Tie One On Day, and they are going to have a huge apron making party. Then all the kids are going to wrap their aprons around food for the local needy and deliver in some way. TOOD is starting to catch on here and we’re thrilled to be a part of that!”

“After much thought, I decided to give a loaf of my grandma’s favorite pumpkin bread and a new turkey day apron to the lady who works at the dry cleaners. She is a dear soul who listens to everyone who comes though the door, day in and day out — rarely sharing much about herself. I found out (quite by accident) that she is having surgery next week. So TOODay is coming a bit early this year.”

“We’ve decided Tie One On Day is something we will do with our son as a way to teach him the joy of giving.”

“I will make an apron and bake a loaf of bread and deliver them and a grocery gift certificate to a family whose dad has been out of work.”

“I have asked each member of our organization to bring a non-perishable food tied up in an apron or tea towel to our fall meeting. We will write and attach encouraging notes to the items, which I will deliver to the local food bank to be given to families in need when they come to pick up their baskets for Thanksgiving.”

“My downstairs neighbor has been having a hard go of it. Her husband left, and she is the sole supporter of her nine-year-old twins. I will participate in Tie One On Day by making her an apron and a treat.”

“My 9-year-old daughter heard about this unique day and wanted to participate so we baked muffins together, wearing matching aprons, to give to neighbors and friends. She wrote notes thanking them for their friendship and we delivered them together, explaining Tie One On Day to each recipient. We even gave treats for the dogs! Some we wrapped in scarves instead of aprons to mix it up a bit. Each person was touched and thrilled.”

Women clad in aprons have traditionally prepared the Thanksgiving meal, and it is within our historical linkage to share our bounty. So Tie One On (…an apron, of course!) and become part of this grassroots movement to put the “give” back into Thanksgiving.

EllynAnne poses with Bernard Jackson, who offered to pay for the groceries of a cash-strapped family in honor of TOODay. (Credit: EllynAnne Geisel)

What Tie One on Day Is All About

More Information

TOOD on Facebook

TOOD on Instagram

TOOD in the news — Yahoo

TOOD in the news — Tampa Bay Times

TOOD official site