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The Invisible Logistics of Thanksgiving (Plus 10 Ideas for Celebrating in the Workspace)

Discover the unseen logistics that make Thanksgiving special and explore 10 unique ideas to celebrate this festive season in your workspace. Dive into the world of Thanksgiving logistics and workplace festivity.
Nov 22, 2023

Thanksgiving is the time of year when the air is infused with the scent of pumpkin spice, and the leaves underfoot are a crunchy tapestry of autumnal hues. This feels not just like a seasonal change that happens every year but rather it's a feeling of warmth that spreads through homes and, indeed, workplaces across the country. Thanksgiving is upon us, and thankful we are.

Last year, the holiday was a bit tricky regarding the usual November routine. As we gather around the table this year (no matter if it’s in your relatives' house, the big table at the office, or a small one at your favorite local deli) let's take a moment to consider an unsung hero of Thanksgiving: cold chain logistics. That last statement might have come out of nowhere, but now that I’ve got you thinking about it, this is a term that might sound more at home in a bustling port or a tech-forward warehouse than amidst the clinking of fine china and the rustle of napkins. But without the intricate ballet of refrigerated transportation, our Thanksgiving tables would look quite bare indeed… or when was the last time you saw a turkey roaming in the city of New York?

All jokes aside, cold chain logistics, for the uninitiated, is the highly specialized process of transporting goods at controlled temperatures. It's essential for preserving the quality and safety of perishable products – from the turkey that takes pride of place at your table to the cranberries that add that tangy zing to your palate to those cold cuts that can change the charcuterie board from a simple piece of wood with some cheese and meats to a culinary experience that, just like the people around you, bring the best flavors to combine and create a memorable experience.

Take, for example, what happens with the Thanksgiving turkey. This isn't just any poultry pickup that happens by default. It is actually a carefully timed operation that begins months before the holiday and under a very tight schedule. On the one hand, farmers work tirelessly to ensure that the birds are plump and ready for the oven, and this, no matter how much science and biochemistry you put into it, takes time. Once they've reached the perfect size, they're processed, packed, and placed into a cold chain system that keeps them at an optimal, bacteria-discouraging temperature. None of this is done without adhering to very tight protocols and controls that prevent the possibility of contamination.

Well, it’s frozen and the box is cold. That should be enough, right? Wrong. It's not just about keeping things chilly. The logistics involved in tracking, maintaining, and verifying temperatures throughout the journey from farm to table are nothing short of a technological marvel. Sensors and real-time data tracking ensure that the turkey arrives at its destination in prime condition, ready to be basted, roasted, and presented in all its golden glory. All of this happens without any human manipulating the product itself.

The turkey has finished its journey. It has reached your table and it’s ready to be carved. And now, let’s bring the side dishes to the table (pun intended). Those vibrant green beans, the sweet potatoes, and that silky pumpkin for the pies are all shuttled through the same intricate network. Frozen vegetables can’t be just placed on ice and forgotten. The way they are frozen (flash freezing, for example) can alter the nutritional values of a meal, and even worse for your dinner plans, can change the flavors, leaving you with a bittersweet experience of almost getting the dish right. Without the cold chain, the feast that signifies plenty and thankfulness would be at risk of becoming a memory rather than a reality. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the process of bringing, how do we translate the warmth of this homebound holiday to the workplace? Here are a couple of ideas that can bring the spirit of Thanksgiving into the office with a bang:

The Potluck Parade: There's nothing that says 'Thanksgiving' quite like a table full of shared dishes. Encourage your team to bring in a favorite dish – perhaps a family heirloom recipe or a novel creation they're proud of. The communal table becomes a place of storytelling and gastronomic delight, and no one has to shoulder the entire burden of catering. Take advantage of the multicultural melting pot the country already is, and dare yourselves to take a step away from the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes and dive into the savory creations of other countries. Sweet, sour, spicy, and riquísimo are waiting for you.

Gratitude Graffiti Wall: Usually, boards are used to write down job-related stuff. Let’s change things a little bit and set up the large board in the meeting room (or designate a wall or big window) so colleagues can write down what they're thankful for. It's a visible, bold reminder of the collective gratitude and individual blessings. As the wall fills up, it becomes a tapestry of thanks that can boost morale and bring smiles. If you are going for the board or the window, consider brighter colors (avoid red, black, and blue, those are colors for work stuff) and even some fun markers with stamp-like properties. If there is a wall that you would not like to paint later, consider using Post-it notes (and maybe turn this into a pixel art experience for everyone involved) 

Turkey Trot Relay: During the year, we haven’t stopped moving, running errands, and keeping other businesses operating smoothly with the magic Airpals brings to the table (again, pun intended). This season add a dash of endorphins to the celebration with a fun, office-friendly relay race. It's a great way to build team spirit and work up an appetite for some Thanksgiving treats. Prizes for participation can include small tokens that can be exchanged not only now but during the upcoming months. Maybe some extra free time, some of your favorite snacks in the common kitchen, or maybe a chance to use a better parking space for a few weeks. Every office has desired perks and making your team happy is one of the purest ways to say “Thanks for your hard work”!

Thanksgiving-themed Team Building: “Wait a moment, team-building exercises are not my cup of tea” you might say to yourself. Hear me out here. Swap out the regular team-building exercises for something more festive. Why not a "build the best cornucopia" competition or a session where teams create and share presentations on what they’re thankful for in their coworkers? Bring some more fun to the office with music and traditional games from your childhood, from your home country, from your family. 

Give Back Together: Thanksgiving is about gratitude, and what better way to express that than by giving back? Organize a group volunteer session at a local shelter or food bank. This is the time to recognize our privilege and be thankful for having the chance to share our wealth. Collecting goods for those less fortunate is not only a bonding experience but a profound reminder of the holiday's true meaning. It’s not always about the money or the amount given. Sometimes it’s about the love that is born out of these moments.

A virtual dinner: Are you having some trouble getting everyone together in the office for a party? Maybe half of your team lives a couple of time zones away, maybe they are already traveling to visit family members far away. Set up a meeting to share a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of wine on screen. Use this opportunity (and the chat window) to gather quotes about what you, and your team, are thankful for. Is your team more tech-savvy? Perhaps arrange an online gaming session where all of us can share a laugh and engage in a non-traditional event.

Celebrate the Peanuts Way: In the spirit of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, why don’t you try to celebrate the holiday with some toast, a few jelly beans, freshly made popcorn, and warm pretzels? Encourage employees to dress up as their favorite Peanuts character and get the tripod and the ring light ready. You’ll be snapping some of the coolest photos that the office has ever seen.

Swap Pies party: Pumpkin, sweet potato, or pecan—Thanksgiving is all about pies. Ask employees to bring their favorite one to swap. Turn it into a raffle so everyone gets a pie to take home. Latin America is known for some of the tastiest treats you’ll ever try and European pastries are just a tad short of tasting heaven. Encourage your team to think about their happiest times and their childhoods. Happiness is, in the end, a feeling of love and warmth right above the belly button.

Swap recipes bowl: Everyone has that special dish to enjoy during the season. Maybe it’s a small variation on the stuffing, or maybe it’s an old family trick to get the turkey just perfect. Set up a bowl with envelopes and just have fun figuring out the tricks and tips that will bring up your game the next you step into the kitchen.

Decorate the Office and Have a Gratitude Scavenger Hunt: Add a splash of Thanksgiving decorations around the offices. Orange, yellow, and brown bring warmth to the area, making it festive. Construction paper from the storage room, some thick packaging paper from the supply closet, and shredded paper from the boss’ office. Everything can be used to make this place feel warmer. Prepare a scavenger hunt list focusing on gratitude and thankfulness where employees, divided into teams, can enjoy roaming the offices in search of the items on the list. Let your inner child roam through the office and have fun. Let yourself laugh out loud in the lobby or have a dance-off by the cooler.

These ideas are more than just annual rituals; they're opportunities to reinforce the values of community and gratitude in the workplace. And as the cold chain ensures that our feast is safe and savory, let's also ensure that our workplace celebrations are inclusive, warm, and meaningful. Food and love create the best memories. Let them happen together and enjoy the resulting fun.

Remember that we are here for you, so don’t hesitate to contact Airpals to ensure your office celebrations and client gifts are delivered seamlessly. Let us handle the logistics while you focus on giving thanks and building bonds this holiday season! Delivering gifts and tokens of appreciation to your friends and colleagues, or maybe making sure that your most appreciated users get a holiday card, is exactly what we excel at. Let us surprise them with our flawless execution and your smart and thoughtful gifts.

Let’s raise our glass to a holiday that's as much about looking back in thankfulness as it is about looking forward together – preferably over a slice of pumpkin pie or some home-baked empanadas de viento.