Giving Thanks in Merriam…

As we approach the upcoming holiday season while continuing to navigate this pandemic, there is still so much to be thankful for in Merriam and across the metro region. Things may look a little different this year–gatherings around the Thanksgiving table will be smaller; visits with family may be less frequent and holiday shopping might be a little more online than in-person. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take joy in the little things, create new traditions, or change up the old ones in the name of Thanksgiving. Here’s a few ideas to get you started this November:

BASK by artist Blessing Hancock
  1. BASK in the blessings — New in Merriam this November is the latest public art installment entitled BASK by artist, Blessing Hancock. The artist’s name alone suggests a quick reminder to count our blessings, but once you see these beautiful life-size sculptures in person, you’ll be given hundreds of new reasons to appreciate Merriam. Using the sun and pools as inspiration, this series was created to relate to the surrounding environment and community activities. The three sculptures incorporate public engagement with language collected from Merriam residents. Hancock explores the concept of “inclusive spaces that foster belonging” by merging these works with an eye-catching sequence of elements to invite physical interaction and human connection. At night, the sculptures come alive with color-changing lighting. Visit this new art installation at the Merriam Community Center, 6040 Slater St.
  2. HELP others in need — Perhaps the most genuine way to feel connected to your community is to help those less fortunate. In Merriam, you can do that by donating a new toy or new/gently used coat to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau. Barrels are in place at City Hall and the Community Center through the first week in December. Your donation supports low-income individuals, families and seniors to help brighten their holidays.
  3. CREATE a new tradition — If you’re not hosting family or traveling due to COVID-19 and feeling a little down about not seeing those you love in person, try creating a new tradition that you begin in November. Some fun ideas include: asking everyone to make a scrapbook page for a book you can share at your next gathering; host a virtual family walk-n-talk as you trek a new trail or grab a few steps in your neighborhood; host a virtual pumpkin pie baking contest and eat dessert together over Zoom; create and share an upbeat playlist, then host a virtual dance party at a preset time and date; begin a holiday puzzle to be completed by December 25th; bake seasonal cookies and deliver to a home-bound neighbor.
  4. PRACTICE gratitude — Starting now, place a big bowl somewhere visible in your home. Include pre-cut strips of plain paper and markers. Ask family members to write something they are thankful for each day and place the note in the bowl. As you celebrate Thanksgiving, take turns reading the notes aloud.
  5. BE GOOD to yourself — Self-care is often overlooked but so incredibly needed, especially during stressful times. You don’t need an entire day at the spa to practice self-care. All it takes to be kind to yourself is a few quiet moments soaking in a bubble bath; listening to a new podcast; picking up a crystal or stone from Gemini in downtown Merriam; trying out a beginner yoga sequence; starting a new series on Netflix with all your favorite snacks; diffusing a nice blend of lavender and eucalyptus oils while grabbing a 25-minute nap; or, calling a friend for a fun chat. Breaking the normal routine of to-do’s and errands for a little bit of “you time” each day will quickly become a new practice if you let it.

On behalf of the Merriam Visitors Bureau, we wish you a month full of thankful moments. Happy November–may your Thanksgiving be plentiful.

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