“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

 Oprah Winfrey

Celebrating Builds Bridges

Simply put, that’s why humans have been finding cause for celebration since the dawn of civilization, commemorating life-giving rainfall, bountiful harvests and elaborate spiritual celebrations designed to bind communities together.

In the last decade, gratitude research has made of us aware of the health benefits of celebrating moments large and small in our lives. As a recent Psychology Today article states, “Moments of celebration make us pause and be mindful, and that boosts our well-being. According to social psychology researcher Fred Bryant  and others, when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience—and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress.

Celebrations are “like swishing the experience around … in your mind,” says Fred Bryant, author of the 2006 book, Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience.

3 Common Elements Of A Celebration

What do celebrations as diverse as birthday parties to national holidays, weddings to company milestone celebrations, community festivals to religious holidays have in common?  Although they differ widely in scope and purpose, there are a core set of characteristics that distinguish a celebration:

1. We gather

We instinctively seek to mark both our own causes for celebration and to share in those of others by physically coming together — think of birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinner, or workplace teams gathering for donuts in the lunchroom.  And — increasingly important in our geographically dispersed modern world — if we can’t be there in person we send emissaries in the form of social posts, greeting cards and gifts to stamp our participation and inclusion in the community.

2. We consume 

While we might not kill the fatted calf, we nonetheless look to consume something to ritualize the event, from birthday candles to elaborate feasts. Breaking bread is a particularly powerful community builder. According to Kim Samuel, President, Samuel Family Foundation, “something amazing happens when we sit down together to share a meal. Gathered around a table, we are all equals. Through the ingredients on our plates, we share a common connection to the Earth and to each other. Breaking bread together breaks down barriers and builds connection.”

3. We take a break from the ordinary

We mark the event by doing something different. We use the good china. We decorate the room. We take the day off of work. We wear a tie. Don a silly hat. The simple act of doing something out of the ordinary – whatever it is – helps to distinguish celebrations from the rest of our lives. And by doing so we lay down a permanent memory in our brains that boosts our well-being.

“Come quick!” legend says Benedictine monk Dom Perignon shouted. “I am drinking the stars!”

Enter co2

Sparkling wine is a wine that contains carbon dioxide, or co2, as the chemical result of the fermentation process where sugar and yeast produce alcohol. The tradition of drinking champagne to mark celebrations originated in the royal courts of Europe prior to 1789, where the expensive drink was viewed as a status symbol. According to Kolleen M. Guy, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and author of When Champagne Became French,“Royalty loved the novelty of sparkling line. It was said to have positive effects on women’s beauty and man’s wit.”

Champagne became a world-wide drinking phenomenon in the late nineteenth century. Today, it’s often used to commemorate joyous occasions, from smashing bottles against a ship before its maiden voyage to throwing champagne glasses on the floor at Russian weddings.  “In a secular society, we want to mark both the joy and sanctity of the occasion,” Guy said. “Champagne does this symbolically, but also visually, since it overflows in abundance and joy.”

Just the act of opening a champagne bottle is enough to mark a celebration, and in some cases, the bubbling beverage isn’t even consumed during the festivities, Guy said. “After the French Revolution, it became a part of the secular rituals that replaced formerly religious rituals,” Guy told Life’s Little Mysteries. “You could ‘christen a ship’ without a priest, for example, by using the ‘holy water’ of champagne.” The drink came to be opened at weddings, baptisms and other religious events, she said.

“30% of US adults don’t drink alcoholic beverages.” NIH National Institute of Alcohol Abuse

Champagne As A Business Gift

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 30% of adults in the US haven’t had an alcoholic drink in the last year, while 45% haven’t had a drink in the last month. So while it may seem that most celebrations have alcoholic beverages on hand — and champagne is often what comes first to mind — that certainly isn’t the defining factor.

This can create a quandary when you’re celebrating with someone you don’t know well, which is often the case when celebrating in a business environment. Even business gifters who know their clients well — think financial advisors and real estate agents — aren’t always sure what to gift their clients for congratulations on retiring, closings or other celebratory events if they don’t know for sure if their client drinks alcohol. These business gifters are often looking for gifts that say “Congratulations!” without the potential awkwardness of giving champagne to a non-drinker.

Celebration Gift Tips That Don’t Involve Alcohol

Let’s go back to the 3 essential characteristics of a celebration — Gather, Consume, Do Something Extraordinary — and how to accomplish these in a professional environment.

First, Think Of Your Gifts As Emissaries

Sending a closing gift to a client, a wedding gift to a referral partner, or a congratulations gift to mark the close of a successful business deal is about acknowledging our professional network as individuals. And in doing so, we create a larger space for ourselves in their lives, not just in their 9-to-5 tasks. Sometimes it’s appropriate for us to attend their celebration in person, for example, a colleague’s retirement party, but often the milestones we’d like to recognize are of a personal nature, for example, the birth of a first child, where our presence isn’t called for.

Your gift is your envoy in these situations, heralding not just your thoughtfulness but also your intent to carve out a lasting personal connection in their lives. And the dividends from these actions can be innumerable. We know that business gift recipients who receive memorable gifts of any value are 40% more likely to feel connected to the gift giver and 28% more likely to want to work with them longer. So don’t hesitate to send even a small token of congratulations whenever opportunity arises.

Second, Consider Festive Consumables That Don’t Involve Alcohol

For many, champagne is a lovely congratulations gift.  But if you’re at all unsure, the good news is that you have plenty of non-alcoholic options that are equally as festive. This is where merchants such as TÖST and Sugarfina come in.

TÖST is about inclusion

TÖST Sparkling Beverage has a festive appearance,  a tongue tingling flavor and enough effervescence to make anyone happy.  It’s great on its own but also makes a fabulous base for craft mocktails, providing the opportunity for lots of creativity and tantalizing tastes.

According to Knack’s head merchant  Kurt Petonke, “I think TÖST is the perfect replacement for champagne. Because of the great packaging and the beautiful look of the product with a taste profile that is equally attractive to both the non-alcohol and alcohol drinker, celebrating with TÖST is just as fun as celebrating with another sparkling beverage and dissolves any divide between the drinkers and non-drinkers. Coupled with festive drinkware such as martini glasses, Moscow Mule or Julep mugs, no one will even know you’re not imbibing.”

Sugarfina Spreads Sweetness

Offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic candies with alcoholic themes (and made with premium spirits such as Dom Perignon and Kentucky bourbon), Sugarfina makes it easy to enjoy the party completely guilt-free, one gummy at a time. They’re also a great fit in family fun boxes as they can be enjoyed by all ages.

Even before tasting, the inclusion of Sugarfina in a gift box conveys celebration with their high-design presentation factor in both packaging and unique candy design.

According to Deb Ryan, Knack’s Customer Success Director, “Sugarfina strikes me as the ultimate “sprinkle” on a business gift. The candy adds a bit of color and fun to the gift and customers can feel confident that it will be well received because of the quality of the product. Sugarfina is a luxury product that sets the stage for well-heeled festivities.”

Finally, Add A Dash Of Surprise

Adding just a bit of the unexpected to a gift creates delight and lasting memories. A confetti popper from Thimblepress is a great example.  Available in classic silver & gold glitter as well as an eco-friendly dried flower version, these flourishes create an instant party effect.

Our popular Rosette Tillandsia Sea Urchin is also a favorite choice. The delicate natural urchin shell cradles a small Tillandsia Brachycaulos plant (affectionately known here as the Rosette Tillandsia) that will turn a brilliant red when exposed to indirect sunlight. Best of all — this cute little air plant requires no soil and just a weekly spritz of mist keeps it happy.

Message candles from Prosperity Candle are another excellent choice.  Available in messages as diverse as Gratitude, Joy and You Rock, these candles are hand-poured by female refugees to the US to help them learn a trade that can establish a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Looking for personal assistance? Contact One Of Our Business Gifting Experts