My last name is Merrigan. Legend has it that when our ancestors lived in Ireland people referred to them as a merry gang. Over time it evolved into Merrigan. Not sure if any of that is true, but it does make for a good story. One of my dear friends, since hearing this tale, says she wants to be merry again whenever she wants to see me.
As the holiday season is upon us, I desire to be merry again. I remember how much I loved this time of year as a child. All the twinkling lights brightening up chilly winter evenings, every store having fun displays and decorations, the terrific holiday movies, and let’s not forget about the toys. I don’t know about you, but I always had one special item. Each year I was certain if I didn’t get it I might literally die. I was a bit dramatic. The point is there was always a sense of hope, wonder, excitement and anticipation.
But then I grew up. The holidays became more about making lists and checking them twice or thrice, budgeting for extra gifts I now was obliged to purchase because someone decided at the last minute we were going to exchange. But we agreed not do to so at Thanksgiving! Ho. Ho. Ho. Have a holly, jolly.
My birthday is in early November. I find it odd whenever I see someone’s house fully decorated on or before that day. Truth is I think I might secretly envy them. Try though I may, I’m always late. I can’t seem to bring myself to start on Thanksgiving weekend, so before you know it, it’s December 21 and all I’ve got is a wreath on the door.
My place often has boxes scattered about filled with all the ornaments I am definitely putting up today. Yet these same boxes are there to greet (mock and torment) me the next morning. The funny thing is I love when my home is decorated. I’d have lights and a tree up all year long. And there have been a few times when I didn’t quite finish taking everything down until February or March. Haven’t you ever heard of a Valentine’s Day tree or a St. Patrick’s Day stocking? What’s the problem?
The reason my decorations may linger is because I can’t simply box them up and store them. I have very specific placements for each item. To the casual observer, it may seem a little obsessive. But come next year there is no greater feeling than knowing exactly where everything is. The old saying goes there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. I agree, yet the place where most of my things end up is in their neatly organized boxes, stacked along a wall in my living room.
The struggle is real. Between shopping, beautifying, visiting, cooking, and baking, it can be a bit much. We get so busy doing we forget to be in the moment and enjoy the season. This brings me back to the beginning of this article. I want to be merry again. How about you? What if we disconnected from some of the obligations and stresses? What if we chose instead to enjoy time with friends and loved ones? What if we focused more on family traditions and less on commercial extravaganzas? What if this season we didn’t schedule our lives right down to the last minute from November 23 through January 1? What if we baked some cookies, made some hot chocolate, got in the car and drove around looking at all the decorated homes? Sure there’s a very good chance there’ll be crumbs, and I’m almost certain to scald myself when I inevitably spill my cup, but still. And, yes, I realize if we’re getting in the car to drive around our neighborhood it demands at least some neighbors have their acts together and have their homes fully adorned. I never said it was a flawless plan, but it’s a start.
I guess what I’m suggesting is spending more time creating little memories. There’s such a build-up to the holidays, followed by a letdown when it’s all over. As you survey the wreckage of paper and boxes or perhaps after you’ve served the coffee and desserts, there’s a twinge of sadness that begins to creep into your heart. It’s almost over. It flew by again. Next year it’ll be different. Next year we’ll start earlier. Next year we’ll make more time. Next year…
Guess what. This is last year’s next year.
What are you doing differently? As for me, I’m choosing to be merry again. I’m focusing more on the people I love and making memories over anything else. If I play my cards right, I just might be able to parlay quality time into a home decorating party. Kill two birds with one stone. But not two turtle doves because that would be wrong.
Until next time: stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know.
Look forward to hearing from you,