Are you trying to avoid the Stuck at Home Omicron Blues? Keeping your spirits up to prevent the deep funk you know some are in?  I appreciate how hard that is. I was able to stay in my holiday glow for a good week after my grandchildren left for home. It helped that I kept the decorations up longer than usual. Minnesota days are still short, and twinkling lights help the evenings brighten up your spirits.

It was an amazing Christmas at my home!  Grandchildren, children, siblings, all around the holiday table several times. Hugs aplenty, small moments to catch up one-to-one without digital help, and lovely gestures of heartfelt gratitude for the simple traditions that had been missed the year before. Certainly, I grieve my lost time watching the grandchildren change and grow from a closer perspective, but the breach was bridged more easily than I expected. Somehow, my need to bake was rewarded with votes on which cookies to keep on the list for next year. Thankfully, tins of remaining goodies were packed up to shuttle to various households in the aftermath. 

There was one moment of drama. My Julia Child plum pudding recipe is an old stand-by, and the new plum pudding mold I had packed away and never used worked beautifully. However, I wanted a show-stopper moment to top off the celebration.  In preparation, I watched a video of how to present the flambéing effect associated with table-side service of certain liqueur-drenched dishes set aflame, such as Cherries Jubilee. It looked simple enough. How hard could this be? ”I can do this!” I said aloud as I prepared.  

I spoke too soon. The plan—fill a ladle with a bit of fine alcohol and allow it to warm over the flame of a candle until it starts to ignite and then carefully pour the ignited liquor over the pudding and watch the transformation of a lovely blue-tinged flame glow atop the pudding.

Well, the liquor did ignite, but only a portion of it got to the actual pudding. It did look beautiful, I must say. However, my audience chose to focus on the runaway flame that, on its own course, veered toward the edge of the pudding tray closest to my grandson’s water glass. Voila—Grandma and said grandson quickly doused the flame. Every party needs a moment, right? This is what all of the guests will remember! 

As I relive the restorative moments of the holidays, I’m considering the following strategies to keep the blues at bay.  Perhaps some may work for you! Happy New Year!

Plan a road trip—Or fly somewhere if weather and destination safety allow. I’m heading to the frozen north landscape of my beloved  Lake Superior!

Clean that last closet—Boring, but satisfying.

Learn a new app—Or, delete those you no longer use.

Invest in those heavier weights—Every time my zoom weight training teacher suggests this, I feel a twinge of guilt—who knew I would still be stuck at home instead of in the gym? Time to add some more challenge to my routine.

Organize old family photos—On occasion, I consider how to digitize or store albums, is this the occasion in which to tackle this job?

Throw out the last of the holiday goodies—Snacks on hand for guests need to be out!

Count your blessings, every day—I have way more blessings than complaints, and it is a good mental exercise to keep positivity alive.

New streaming opportunities—With Ted Lasso between seasons, I’m looking forward to The “Gilded Age” and watching Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand tackle MacBeth. I heartily recommend “The Tender Bar” for a dose of feel-good nostalgia. 

NEW BOOKS—Always top of mind for me. Of late, I’ve been listening to “1619” as an Audiobook and just realized that Elizabeth George has a new book out. That could keep me going for weeks….