This October 19, ignore the radio, television, newspaper and all magazine ads. Don't run out to any candy stores or card shops. Make no restaurant reservations and don't order flowers. You don't need to. October 19 is Sweetest Day, and if you want to do it the right way, the way it was meant to be, you just need to show a little appreciation.
Sweetest Day falls on the third Saturday of October, and is best known and mostly celebrated in the Midwest. In our house, we’ve always celebrated it with simple gestures, handmade notes and maybe a surprise coffee brought home, all to say thank you.
Sweetest Day, for the most part, gets a bad rap, and I’ve become a one-woman campaign defending its honor. It's the holiday that gets thrown under the bus. People call it a second Valentine's Day or a "Hallmark Holiday." Neither of these is right. It wasn't started by any card or candy companies. Sweetest Day began as a simple way to spread cheer, and anything else you've heard about it is nonsense.
On October 8, 1921, Herbert Birch Kingston, a philanthropist, looked around his home of Cleveland, Ohio, and felt sorry for the sick, the aged and the less fortunate, so Herbert wanted to find a way to let them know they weren't forgotten. He distributed over 2,200 small boxes of candy to the neglected of Cleveland. His only purpose — to make someone happy.
I appreciate the idea of one day a year set aside for telling those in our lives that we're grateful for them. I'll fight hard for this not to be called a fake holiday, or get scoffed at as something where money needs to leave your hands. All it takes is a thoughtful gesture. Who doesn't like hearing an expression of gratitude or a kind word that they matter?
This Saturday, I'll be doing what I've been doing on Sweetest Day since I was 15 years old, and first took my piano teacher a plate of Rice Krispies squares. I'll be saying thank you — to my children, who will find an envelope on their pillow with a note inside; to my husband, who will be surprised that I'll be the one to get up early and start the coffee this morning. In the afternoon, I'll be dropping off a note for my close friend, Carol, who is always right there when I need her.
So do it with me. Ignore the inbox messages telling us we have only 48 hours to order a dozen red roses. Celebrate Sweetest Day the way Herbert Kingston intended it to be, by performing a small gesture to let friends, family, neighbors, know you appreciate them in your life. Though I need no excuse for a holiday to eat chocolate, all you really need to do in the name of Sweetest Day is spend time in a simple act that says, "I like you in my life, and I'm telling you that today."
And if someone you know likes being told thank you with chocolate-covered cherries, well, you have my permission to speak to them in their love language, too.