I am absolutely the worst gift giver. It's probably because I hate shopping in general and thus have no clue of what's hot for the season or what people actually want. I wrack my brains. I wring my hands. And I usually come up with doofus things--like an extra pair of earbuds or ski socks--that make people snore or cry. The hardest task of all is figuring out what to buy for my husband Paul's clients, simply because they really don't need anything, especially from people like me who barely know them.
This year, however, I hit pay dirt. It was October and I was scrounging around for a good birthday present. We had just come from apple picking in New York State and I thought about how cool it would be to send a box down to Paul's client in Tennessee, where maybe crisp Northern varietals might actually be a novelty. I Googled away and landed on Honeycrisp.com, a site which sells a huge variety local apples, in particular the honeycrisp apple, which really is crazily crisp, thin-skinned, and sweet as honey. The coolest part was that they also send apples to American soldiers overseas and pay for shipping through their Operation Apple program.
I rang the place, cuz I of course had questions, and the owner, Paul Woolley, picked right up. Woolley helped me arrange to send a box of his fab apples down to Tennessee. He then went and found just the right soldiers to send a bushel of apples to on Paul's client's behalf. Here's what he wrote:
"Just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that we found a local Special Forces hero SSGT Sean Keough who is in Afghanistan to send the case to. Sean's mom grew up with my wife and friends here in Upstate NY. Recently Sean was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery. Thank you for your contribution and tell Paul that I know from getting the emails and calls from these Heros that the apples will be a huge hit. They always express two things - It’s a taste of home & so nice to just know someone is supporting them. Thanks again. Have a great day."
So off the apples went to Tennessee and Afghanistan. The soldiers loved them and sent pictures. And Paul's client was off-the-charts happy. He was insane for the apples and was even more thrilled about the fact that a bushel went to the troops. Ok, so why quit while I was ahead? I then sent apples to another client of Paul's for her birthday. SHE and her family went nuts. All was good. Story over. Or so I thought.
Yesterday, a box arrived on my doorstop. It was filled with honeycrisp apples. I was a little confused. Was this a weird coincidence? Was someone else I knew onto this apple-gift idea? Inside was a note from Paul Woolley himself, wishing us a happy holiday and thanking us for "starting a great thing." Turns out that Paul's clients were so thrilled with their honeycrisps, they sent out boxes and boxes of them to colleagues, friends and family for Christmas. And for every box that went out, they sent a shipment to our soldiers abroad. How cool is that?
Long story short: If you're looking for a healthy, delicious gift that also does some good, keep honeycrisp.com and our troops in mind. You can even ring them up directly at 518-695-4517. Now...I'm off to grab an apple. Such a nice break from all the cookies, candy and other holiday health hazards hanging around this house.
Happy Holidays Everyone!