A Christmas Message from ALSM’s President & CEO

Greetings of the Christmas Season!

Needless to say, this year has been an unusual experience. Our lives have been turned upside down.

I certainly do not want to belabor the COVID pandemic because we are living with it each day. Of course, we are advised to isolate as much as possible in this time. I would like to suggest some things to do while stuck inside.

USA Today has a newsletter called Staying Apart, Together. It is about coping with the pandemic. If you sign up online, the newsletter arrives twice a week in your inbox.

Here are some suggestions to lessen the boredom and cabin fever—some gleaned and some invented.

  1. Complete a puzzle. The more pieces the better. More of a word person? Crossword puzzle! Word scramble!
  2. Start a journal or blog. It can be about the coronavirus, or it could be about a particular interest you may have.
  3. Dust off that old musical instrument and practice. (But do not bother your neighbors, of course).
  4. Write poetry or haiku.
  5. Watch all the really long movies you have avoided until now.
  6. Download Duolingo, or a similar app, and refresh a foreign language. (That is how I am brushing up on my knowledge of French and when I am done with French, I am moving on to Italian and then revisiting my German).
  7. Read George Orwell’s book (Even though it appeared many years ago, there is some current application.)
  8. Lie down and close your eyes with palms up and focus on your breath.
  9. Face masks and moisturizer. Treat yourself to a 10-step skin care routine.
  10. Write actual letters or cards to family or friends. Write thank-you notes to service people who went out of their way for you. Call old friends.
  11. Learn calligraphy. (This is another of my tasks.)
  12. Read the rules to those intense board games you never played. (Chess and backgammon are mine.)
  13. Have Tupperware? Organize it and match the lids to the containers. Trash the strays.
  14. Try on all of your clothes/shoes and decide what stays and what goes.
  15. Go through your junk drawer and supply shelves. (Imagine all those outdated spices you never use.)
  16. Bake something new and different. (I baked chocolate almond biscotti…….YUM.)
  17. Watch the films that won Oscars for the best picture.
  18. Watch films that critics say should have won awards.
  19. Knit or crochet. (Another one of mine.)
  20. Video-chat with long distance friends. (Another one of mine.)
  21. Attempt a self-portrait with pencil and paper.
  22. Take a bubble bath.
  23. Coloring books: They are not just for kids.
  24. Write a short story or start a novel.
  25. Take time to reflect on what you have accomplished in the last year. What do you want to do in the New Year?
  26. Learn now to braid.
  27. Throw out all of your too-old make up or toiletries. If you have not used it in six months, likely you will not.
  28. Cook new recipes.
  29. Make a list of things for which you are grateful.
  30. Make coffee or tea, but take the time to study how hot the water is and whether if that makes a difference.
  31. Buy gift cards from your favorite local business to help keep them afloat.
  32. Write a book with your family or friends.
  33. Rearrange your sock drawer. Really.
  34. Carefully rearrange some furniture to make it seem like your home is a totally different space.
  35. Organize your spice racks alphabetically, or do it by cuisine.
  36. Update or write your will and organize your affairs.
  37. Attempt things with your non-dominant hand, from writing to brushing your teeth. Prepare to be frustrated.
  38. Learn origami.
  39. Stretch.
  40. Talk to your plants.
  41. Deep condition your hair.
  42. Consider donating money to food banks to help families struggling to get meals.
  43. Compose a song.
  44. There are dozens of ways to wear a scarf. Learn new ways.
  45. Organize your jewelry.
  46. Try on a new shade of lipstick or a new cologne/aftershave.
  47. Learn Old English words (“cwydeas”). Prithee, pepper them into your conversation. “Wherefore not?”
  48. Read comic books.
  49. Take deep breaths (in through your nose and out through your mouth).
  50. Sleep. Get lots of it.

So here are 50 ways to deal with the pandemic blues. I bet you can add to this list.

Now, to the season we are experiencing–the celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We celebrate Christmas because as the angel said, the birth of Jesus Christ is “good news.” The joy of his birth is for all people. In this dismal time of the pandemic, we need to remember the “good news.” This pandemic will end. The vaccine is imminent, and we will share information when we receive details.

So, take some time for yourself, and count your blessings.


Patricia W. Savage