Adapting to Christmas 'outside the box'

Sherry Farrell

If it's one thing this worldwide pandemic has nudged us to do, it's to "think outside the box."

Just one year ago, we never would have dreamed that we would be trying to celebrate this year together in new unprecedented ways. Unprecedented has become my favorite word since the elections and I know I overuse it.

Just today, Sunday, Dec. 13, I thought I had a great outside of the box idea for our office. Instead of having a "little" get together to say thank you in some small way to my assistant clerks who have been going above and beyond for all of us since the world changed, at my home with their families as I had hoped for, I came up with a new, brilliant plan.

Wait for it, I shouldn't even tell you, but then I tell you everything. I don't think you judge me and for that I'm grateful. You are my "no judgment zone" just like Planet Fitness has become for John and me.

Anyway, I called Meredith early to tell her my big plan and asked her how I could make a beautiful "thank you" charcuterie. See, my big plan instead of a family gathering because I'm thinking COVID and safety, was this. The five of us would get together here, at my house, and enjoy favorite Christmas treats like a charcuterie board, veggie platters, maybe even a bit of bubbly, too, just us. Keep the numbers low, safe and I could picture it, finally, us having some real-time to share, all of us, sitting around my counter, sharing office stories and just being together. Favorite foods can be such a gift, especially to hurried moms that are worrying about remote learning, working, and toss in Christmas, too. For once I thought I had a winner "thank you!"

Meredith almost jumped through the phone saying, "Mom, you can't do that!" Talk about bursting my bubble.

She said, "Mom, you cant have everyone sitting around the counter, no masks, eating, laughing and sitting next to each other."

Meredith was right, again! My thought was, "But we are sitting together everyday at Town Hall." We are part of each other's bubble already. What I was forgetting was that in the office, we have our masks on, shields, we do our best to stay at least a few feet away from each other and we all pretty much stay in our own cubby. Which I might add is surrounded by plexiglass.

I guess that's the problem with all these things the governor is trying to warn us about. It's these small times or get-togethers that we may not be thinking about that could cause a true disaster. Time to think outside the box and move to Plan B.

Meredith also mentioned just yesterday that in some way, this unprecedented holiday season will help us all to relax a bit more and feel that it's OK to stay put and not rush around as much.

Well, for me that means more books and puzzles. I've been wanting to tell you about a few great local authors and you still have time to order their books online for special people in your life. I was going to give a big summary on each, but just so that we can get them, I'll keep it short and sweet and you can investigate yourself.

"Girvan," by R.L. Napolitano or as all of us know him as "Nappy," is his second book. John and I loved the first, "The Twins." Mystery, suspense, adventure all wrapped up in to one. The book cover will draw you in and I appreciate the print and page outline, too. Books you can't put down.

"Everyday Resilience for Everyday Heroes" by Rob Clark. I can't stress enough that this book has a takeaway for everyone. By helping ourselves in difficult times, like these, we can grow and help each other. Great short stories and inspirations that remind us of our strength and that we are all in this together.

"Mitten Strings from God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry" by Katrina Kenison. This book has been around a while now. I was part of a local book club and one of the nicest people, Karen Ahern, mentioned that a friend she had grown up with in New Hampshire, Katrina, had taken a chance and written this book. I loved it for many reasons. A great gift for parents of, or to be, young families.

"Yes You Can, Raeann!" Written by Laura Schuler. Sara Awad shared this book with me just recently. She grew up with Laura in New Jersey. The book is about the author's grandmother who grew up in the "No" world of girls. So many things girls were told they could not do or achieve. Raeann broke through those barriers and is an inspiration to young girls and their future.

"Saratoga" by Brian MacDonald and Brenda MacDonald as the illustrator. This makes for an inspirational read that combines New Hampshire locations, women in history and something near and dear to my heart, our country's founding principles. Our Old Man of the Mountain is also remembered. Their first book is a cherished children's book called "Bob Hikes Mount Monadnock."

The inside cover has this quote, "Our job on Earth is not to criticize, reject or judge. Our purpose is to offer a helping hand, compassion and mercy. We are to do unto others as we hope they would do unto us." Dana Arcuri.

Special thanks to my dear friend Bill Stiles. Bill just retired this year as a longtime and beloved custodian at Londonderry High School. Every election, Bill would bring a special Diet Coke my way to help me make it through. This week, he came by with a puzzle challenge for me. My first ever round puzzle! Round with bright colors, shapes and patterns completing the inside. I started it that night and it is definitely making me "think outside the box."

Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a longtime resident of New Hampshire.

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