One of the great lessons my mother taught me was to thank the people who quietly work for you all year long . . . the mail person, the trash collector, the UPS delivery person. Over the years, I have come up with various gifts, but for the past ten years, I have established “Chocolate Tuesday.” Anyone who delivers mail, packages, picks up trash, etc. on a particular Tuesday in December gets a box of chocolates and a Subway gift card.

Years ago, we had the grumpiest mailman on earth. I’m not kidding. A neighbor once reported him for running over their trash can and after that, he would not deliver mail to their house if there was an inch of snow in front of their mailbox. I gave him a five dollar box of chocolates and he would walk the mail to my door if the mailbox was blocked. It made my neighbor crazy. I kept telling my neighbor that a box of chocolates and a smile could bring world peace.

Trash and recycling are a bit trickier to hand out. I’m always afraid they will toss them in the trash, so I wrap them and put a big bow on them and set them on the lid. Every year, the recycling team tears off a piece of cardboard and writes a thank you for me. I keep these notes with my Christmas ornaments and they make me smile when I open the box to start decorating.

Two years ago, UPS started hiring temporary drivers to deliver our rural route. I handed two boxes of chocolates and gift cards to the two young men and wished them Happy Holidays. One of the young men tracked down my normal driver and handed him the chocolates and gift card and said he thought I meant them for him. My normal driver, shook his head and told the young man, “She takes care of me. I’m sure she has saved a box to give me in January (which I did). You keep those.” So the spirit of giving lives on.

Walgreens and I have established a partnership. They put Merci Chocolate boxes on sale every Black Friday and I buy them out. And I purchase Subway gift cards just in case someone doesn’t eat chocolate (Why for heaven’s sake???). The Merci chocolates always make me smile and they are so fun to open. And if there is more than one person in the UPS truck, they can share (though I’m a softie and I give them two boxes and two gift cards). I have done Subway gift cards for the past ten years because it is the only restaurant (other than the one with a big M on the sign) within 15 miles of our house.

With social distancing and in person shopping discourage, we have ordered our share of household items and gifts (no grocery delivery out here) this month. Packages are arriving daily and USPS, UPS, FedEx and others are stressed to the limit. We had two deliveries on Sunday which has never happened out here. Take a moment to thank your driver.

Today is Chocolate Tuesday.