Pineapples and Hospitality

Pineapples have a long-standing history of being associated with hospitality in the South. But do you know why that is?

Pineapples, over three hundred years ago, were exceedingly rare. They, also, are delicious and one of my favorite fruits. Pineapples were given to guests as a generous welcome gift. They helped signify the host family’s wealth, as well.

Similar to the “no white after Labor Day” rule, the pineapple was typically reserved for well-to-do families. Three hundred years ago, reading wasn’t as common as it is today, particularly among poorer citizens. Symbols were used like brands are today. The pineapple on an inn’s sign let people know they were welcome.

Today we still use the pineapple as a sign of hospitality. In fact, it’s one of my favorite symbols. I recently gave a very close friend a set of pineapple bookends, which, thankfully, she loves. You can get a similar set here:

They are a bit of a splurge, but I can just about guarantee they’ll be loved and treasured for many, many years. They’re perfect for a housewarming gift or for a close friend’s birthday gift.

Also, legend has it that if a guest overstayed his or her welcome, a pineapple would be placed at the foot of their bed fro a nonconfrontational way of saying, “Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry?”

I hope you enjoyed this post! I’d love to hear of any other meanings behind the pineapple that you may know!

Updating Our Home

We have a very traditional home. It was built in 1940, and I absolutely love the formality of it in some regards. It has a formal dining, which I consider a must. It also has a formal-style living room, which I love most days. However, we have young kids, so sometimes a formal life doesn’t work for us. I recently purchased cubical storage shelves for our sunroom, and I cannot wait to get them put together!

I wanted the kids to have a corner of the room that they can have their joint toys (legos, crayons, etc.) together. I’ll post a picture of the completed project! I wanted to make sure all of the readers knew about Target’s discount on kids’ home items through the 20th! Get up to 25% off!!

Up to 25% off kids’ home + an extra 20% off bed & bath with code HOMEREFRESH Sun-Thurs. Valid 1/14-1/20 

I have been asked more about discounts lately, and I am a firm believer in not paying more than you have to. That being said, I will always make an effort to only showcase ads that I truly believe you, the readers, will benefit from. As always, thank you for reading!

Southern Traditions

I am absolutely mesmerized by various Southern traditions. The South is uniquely made up of various culture, creating a new one in its own right. I love this so much. However, it’s easy to be drawn into other cultures and fail to see what’s so special about your own.

For me, this is best highlighted by my own family’s Christmas Eve meal. Instead of having the same food each year and having that be our tradition, we explore new cultures and even time periods. In 2016 we had an Italian feast, and in 2017 we were transported back to the 1950s. This is our personal tradition.

I’ve always been one to romanticize what others do. After watching Pocahontas, I desparately wanted to be Native American. It’s this way with everything, though. I think it’s what makes etiquette so special to me. Traditions are the foundation of who we are, making traditions a cornerstone of culture. I get such a thrill learning about new people and new cultures.

I had the opportunity when I was in undergrad to study abroad in China. Again, I was struck with wanderlust. I genuniely felt sad at the thought of leaving this world without ever having seen it.

While we may not be able to travel extensively now, I enjoy bringing other parts of the world to my family.

However, it’s also important for me to not forget about the culture I live in. I mean something on a more micro level, though, than Southern. The South has several regionally distinct areas that all have their own sub-culture and traditions.

Today I want to highlight a favorite tradition of mine here locally in Hopkins County, Texas – Hopkins County Stew. It’s amazing. If you’ve never tried it, I enjoy mine best with crackers crushed in it to soak up some of the broth, loaded with cheese and a side of pickles (which may or may not also end up in the stew). It’s simple and comforting. If you’ve never made it before, this cold weather is the perfect time to start! Enjoy! Learn more about our annual stew contest! Fun fact: I worked this event the day before Grant was born!

P.S. If you try it, let me know what you think!

 

What We Lose With Participation Trophies

While the title of this post may not seem to be strictly about etiquette, it is my belief that those with good etiquette know far more than just about utensils and stemware. They know about grace. They know about kindness. They know about humility. Each of the preceding qualities are ones I feel we are losing with the participation trophy mentality.

People of all ages need to know how to win gracefully and lose gracefully. In an “everything goes” society, it’s important to remember that not everything does. It is perfectly okay that we excel in some areas and not in others. It’s okay that we are not the best in everything we do. With participation trophies, we often feed a false sense of security and belief that everything one touches turns to gold. We are losing drive. We are losing desire. We are losing passion.

What are we teaching our kids when they still win even if they didn’t put forth any effort aside from showing up? Sheltering them from the realities of life does much greater harm than any good that may come from it.

The kids who are never lost anything don’t know how to respond with grace when they are not invited to a party.

Their identity lies in being included, and they don’t know how to react when they are not treated the same as every other person.

Now, please don’t mistake me. I will never, ever advocate for anyone being left out. What I’m saying is that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. If we fail to identify those weaknesses, how do we expect to work on the weaknesses and to grow from them? Emotionally, we are stunting ourselves. Instead of seeing a lack of invitation as a personal attack, we need to know how to move from it.

Our differences are beautiful. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities because of the uniqueness you’ll find there. They embraces their culture and the people who make up said culture instead of trying to be the same. Maybe your gift is encouraging others. If everyone expects to win, when will your gift be used?

Embracing the fear of failure and being willing to try anyway is something else I’m afraid we’re losing in the participation trophy world.

This year I wish you a lot of grace and happiness. I hope you’re willing to try. I hope you’re willing to fail. I hope you’re willing to grow.