Enjoy and Relax
‘Karen and Jay celebrate the fun of the ‘Day After Thanksgiving’ – the ‘Best Day of the Year!
It’s my favorite day of the year. The ‘Day After Thanksgiving.’ No obligations, no commitments. Family all together. No travel required. Leftovers in the fridge. Friends in town. An opportunity for impromptu get togethers. A few football games televised throughout the day. But none that are ‘must watch’ contests. A good day to go out for a run – probably in the morning. Do a little Christmas shopping. Maybe. All in all, just a great day to relax, have fun – and accomplish very little.
Or, maybe by doing all these things, we are actually accomplishing an awful lot? Having some time to ‘recharge’ is important. Same is true about spending quality time with family and friends. Being spontaneous. Letting the day take you – where the day takes you. You may not want to do this every day, but one day a year? I say, ‘go for it!’
After the festivities yesterday, a day filled with lots of activities and family, friends, and food, it’s the one day of the year when you can truly take a moment for yourself, sometimes to simply do nothing at all, or at least very little. It may sound funny, but with all our responsibilities during the course of the year and with all the hustle and bustle of the impending holiday season, rarely do we get a moment to ourselves like we do today.
These days, it’s easy to get swept up with the pace of modern life. So much is thrown in our direction there’s often the feeling that we always need to be on the move. If you’re caught up in taking care of all of your responsibilities or even things that may not deserve your time— rather than taking care of yourself — you may find it difficult to take a day like today to slow down. Taking time to simply be and relax is actually incredibly important for our well-being. If you are a parent, a student, an employee, a caretaker, someone struggling with a mental health concern, or are just feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities of day-to-day life, the idea of taking time for yourself may sometimes seem unimaginable. But on a day like today where our responsibilities are generally limited, it’s as simple as pausing and taking some slow, deep breaths, focusing on each of your senses, and trying to be fully present in whatever it is you choose to do!
The average American only spends about 15 minutes a day, or barely one percent of a total year taking time for ourselves. I’ve found that the more I take time for myself on a day like today, the better I and less stress I feel even weeks later, reminding me how important it is to take a slow day more often at other points of the year. As an avid runner, I liken it to reminding myself that I don’t need to run at someone else’s pace, but the pace that’s most comfortable and will work best for me. Taking time for ourselves is a powerful tool to being the best version of ourselves that we can be. So, if you have the opportunity today, and even this weekend, take a deep breath and enjoy the downtime!
Five Days to ‘Make or Break’
To many, the day after Thanksgiving is considered the ‘kickoff to the Christmas Season’ – the time when the holidays really begin. A joyous time of year to celebrate and have fun. However, for many others, especially in the retail industry, it is the most intense business period of the year. Those five days, starting right after Thanksgiving Day, including Black Friday, the weekend, and Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, represent the most important selling opportunity of the year. The ‘make or break’ moment for many businesses across the nation and up and down Main Street in our small towns and communities.
Of course, one of the year's biggest shopping days is Black Friday. The day has become a tradition of standing in line out in the cold after Thanksgiving to get the best of deals and sales for the holiday season. Everything is on special sale, from toasters to hot tubs and everything in between.
However, the meaning of buying that special gift for someone could be lost at a big-box store, and a special day has been dedicated specifically to small businesses, known as ‘Small Business Saturday.’ The day has brought to focus the many local stores that have been around for generations and are on the Main Streets of your hometown. For example, in my hometown of Newport, one of the true standouts is MJ Harrington Jewelers. A business committed to making a special piece for that special someone.
Meanwhile, there is also a growing movement to bring focus to second-hand shops. ‘Second-hand Sunday’ gives people the opportunity to repurpose gently used items found at Second-hand shops as a gift that brings joy to others. Give it a try and see what treasures you can find!
With the internet continuing to expand its presence year after year, Cyber Monday has become a way for online stores to join in on the shopping action. From the larger known retailers such as Amazon to the home shops on Etsy, Cyber Monday gives a way for you to ‘bat cleanup,’ and order anything else you did not see at the stores in person over the past several days.
Leaving the best for last is ‘Giving Tuesday.’ I am sure we all have that special nonprofit that is close to our heart, and as the year draws to a close, many of them are looking for a generous donation in order for them to make plans for the coming year. One of my favorites to give to is Children of Fallen Patriots, an organization that provides a college education to any child of a who has lost a parent in military service – no matter if they have died as a result of combat, training accidents, service-related illnesses, or suicide, as well as other duty-related deaths.
Central to all these days, however, is the idea of ‘giving.’ To give to others. To those who are less fortunate. To those whom you truly love. To those that you simply appreciate. Whether it is a big gift from a box store, a small treasure found at a second-hand shop, or a donation to a service organization, be sure to give. Enjoy the gift of giving. It will warm your heart!
‘Berry’ Thankful This Time of Year – Ross Berry That Is
We all have our traditions when it comes to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It could be getting together with high school friends in the neighborhood you grew up in or attending a Turkey Trot Run or even the Turkey Day football games.
So, with this in mind, here’s an offbeat, hilarious Thanksgiving weekend – Black Friday tradition. My friend Rep. Ross Berry of Manchester, New Hampshire, does the same thing year after year. I’m not aware of anyone else in the entire country who does what Ross does. His district (South Manchester) is home to the highest concentration of retail shopping in New Hampshire, which is obviously very busy on Black Friday.
The day after Thanksgiving, around 4pm in the afternoon – Ross decides to get off his couch and go out to where the action is. In his case, it’s the shopping centers, strip malls and retail locations around South Willow Street, where he represents in Concord. He takes along his video camera and begins to record the action.
We’ve all witnessed the sometimes, crazy behavior of shoppers out looking for a deal on the day after Thanksgiving. Sometimes aggressive. Sometimes ferociously intent on buying one of the last ‘on sale’ items on the shelf. Sometimes just doing weird things. Well, Ross makes it his mission to record all this. And better yet – he live-streams it for all of us to see. And, if this weren’t entertaining enough, Ross also provides the ‘voice over,’ the color commentary.
People from all over the country now tune in to watch this annual adventure and enjoy the way Ross narrates what's going on. It’s definitely worth a watch. From piles of TV’s, to lines of ambitious shoppers wrapped around the building, Ross lets people know If there is still a deal to be had in his district and shares curious anecdotes along the way. It truly is one of my favorite things to watch. It’s definitely up there – starting to give serious competition to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If you’d like to tune in here’s how. Simply follow Ross on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RossBerryNH and then be ready for a notification late Friday afternoon letting you know that ‘the show is on’ – and you’ll be witnessing one of the funniest things to watch and a one of a kind Thanksgiving weekend tradition.
Positive Profile of the Week: Dave Lantz
This week we are delighted to highlight a great friend and positive spirit in the community, Dave Lantz of Newport.
Dave is the owner and manager of Harrington’s Jewelers. Located on the Main Street of my hometown of Newport, New Hampshire, Harrington’s is not only a great business, it’s also an institution. Founded in 1948, by Mike and Phyllis Harrington, the business will be celebrating its 75th anniversary of being in business next year. Neary every family in the greater Newport area at one time or another has visited Harrington’s and made a purchase. And chances are that whatever that family bought at Harrington’s has become an important keepsake – and most likely has been or will be passed on to the next generation.
Meanwhile, Dave is that friendly business owner and keeper of the shop who welcomes visitors and customers into the store. An accomplished jeweler, with credentials and professional certifications that arguably place him among the top 10 jewelers in the nation, Dave is always ready to help customize a piece of jewelry or just go the extra mile to make sure that every customer feels like they are really getting something special when they visit Harrington’s.
Moreover, Dave epitomizes what it means to be a responsible, dedicated member of the community. He has served on the Board of Directors of the local financial institution, Sugar River Bank, and has served on numerous other boards and non-profits over the years, even being selected as Newport’s Citizen of the Year in 2014.
Beyond all this, Dave is a highly accomplished athlete and outdoors enthusiast. He is a graduate of Middlebury College, where he skied, earned a spot on the U.S. Nordic Combined team, and narrowly missed earning a spot on the Olympic teams in 1972 and 1976. Moreover, he and his family have been leaders in bringing a love for ski jumping and cross-country skiing to the greater Newport area.
Dave Lantz is a true Newport and New Hampshire treasure. Thank you, Dave, for all that you do!
Quotes of the Week: A Day to Enjoy Family
“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.”
“The family is one of nature's masterpieces”
“Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!”
“You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.”
The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.