12 Dec 2017

Nantucket Christmas Joy

For anyone who has ever lived in or visited a small town during the holidays, there may be no more heartwarming movie scene than the one from “It’s A Wonderful Life” where George Bailey discovers that Clarence the angel has granted him a new lease on life. He runs through the snow-covered streets of his hometown Bedford Falls shouting “Merry Christmas” from the rooftops. George enthusiastically and affectionately calls out the people and landmarks by name…the movie house, emporium and even the Building and Loan where just hours earlier he lost his job. He even throws an animated greeting to the cantankerous Mr. Potter.
The irony of the exuberance in this iconic movie scene is that in the span of just a few hours, George’s outlook on life goes from hopelessness to gratitude. Even while facing a life altering struggle, he comes to the realization there is much to be thankful for. A change in circumstances didn’t prompt his over-zealous dance through town…only a change in his perspective. Everything looked beautiful through grateful eyes.
Nantucket is magical during every season, but she is absolutely enchanting during the holiday season. Is it any wonder that in its December 2016 issue, Coastal Living named Nantucket as the #1 best beach town to celebrate the holidays? Uniquely themed trees line the cobblestone streets (individually appointed by local organizations). A talking tree at the top of Main Street “chats” with children and other passersby. A little lit tree graces a row boat in the harbor on Easy Street and Santa and his Mrs really do arrive in style on the Coast Guard boat to kick off Christmas Stroll and the entire holiday season.
But there is more – so much more. Beyond the splash and fanfare of the island décor and festivities are the people. Those who work tirelessly in their shops, restaurants and galleries to ensure everyone catches the holiday spirit. Those also who venture out of their comfort zones to express the same holiday enthusiasm as George Bailey by donning silly hats, pants, jackets and sweaters and spreading Christmas joy among their friends and neighbors. Sometimes, giving others a reason to smile during the holiday season is the best gift we can offer.
Take a fresh look at wherever your holidays find you this year. Be reminded of the memories your family and friends share at the little storefronts or landmarks dotting your community. I, for one, hope to see a few friendly faces (maybe my own family?) dancing through downtown Nantucket shouting, “Merry Christmas Pacific National Bank!” “Merry Christmas Jared Coffin House!” “Merry Christmas Whaling Museum!” “Merry Christmas Nantucket Pharmacy!” And “Merry Christmas to All!” Like George Bailey, may our holiday joy be greater than the circumstances we face.
It’s a Wonderful Life.
Shellie Dunlap
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