I looked out my front window and saw festoons of red, white and green draped across my neighbor’s doorway. “Merry Christmas” the sign said. White crepe paper was draped over the grass and large wrapped packages sat on the porch. Christmas in July, I thought. Yes, we used to do that years ago at the summer gift shop I ran. It was a great seasonal promotion.
Now it’s August, so why not Christmas in August? Now is just as good a time as any, and it would give everyone something to do. Stimulate the economy to encourage us to buy things for people other than ourselves. And if we can’t celebrate with family, we can give those gifts to the local shelters or food bank. Personally, I don’t need anything except a good diversion. Which is why I think my neighbor, who recently greeted her daughter home for a visit, decided to decorate her house for a few days. Too bad her decorations are gone. But I’m thinking of putting some up myself—something festive. Perhaps a large board for passersby to share ideas, sketches, and thoughts.
Trying to come up with other ideas of safe diversions to do during this global pandemic, I compiled a list. A lot of the things on my list are related to food and to balance it out and to burn off those extra calories I’m consuming, there is the all important component— exercise. Both of these can be enjoyed outside, where the virus is less likely to spread and a good social distance can be maintained.
In addition to walking, running, and hiking—pull out that old bike out of the garage or go for a rollerblade jaunt. Yesterday we pulled the tandem bike out and went for a ride at dusk around the neighborhood. Activities out on the water—fishing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking—can provide a safe getaway, particularly early in the morning.
Gardening has gotten everyone’s attention this year, and for the first time my husband’s gardening efforts yielded quite a crop of string beans. We’ve got cucumbers, tomatoes, and blossoms for future pumpkins. To supplement our crop, we stopped by a farm stand to pick up some local corn and peppers. In our county there’s a Farmer’s Market selling fresh produce, just about every day of the week. Shopping at a Farmer’s Market supports local business and there’s nothing better than “just picked’ vegetables naturally ripened by the sun.
Combine the physical and the fresh food, by planning a picnic. Whether you pack your own meal or purchase one from a food truck or take-out restaurant, you’ll be able to choose your location. Early morning ( before 7:30 a.m.) is a good time to enjoy City Dock in Annapolis before the crowds arrive. Coffee and a breakfast sandwich can be enjoyed looking out over the harbor. While you’re downtown, take note of the old and the new. While some businesses have been forced to close, others are opening like Rockin Roll Cajun Seafood Bar. Wear your mask in downtown Annapolis on the street to stay safe, although Maryland rules only require a mask inside an establishment.
For more solitude, there are a number of county and state parks that have picnic tables in scattered locations or decide to have your picnic on the porch or in your backyard. Bring the sunblock and the bug repellent—depending on the time of day.
It is possible to socialize with friends outside, if you keep your distance. Games like Frisbee don’t require direct hand contact. Good conversation can lift your spirits. Open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving. Buy a package of Dove bars to share. Everyone can bring their own meal. Or order exotic take-out. Just don’t have a buffet because when you share food off platters, people forget to socially distance.
So back to that initial idea of Christmas in August. I’m thinking of changing up the colors. Maybe I won’t just limit my decorating colors to red, green, and white. Instead I’ll celebrate it as Festivus, created in 1966 by Daniel O’Keefe and popularized in a December 1997 episode of the television show Seinfeld in 1997. Festivus is an alternative holiday that can be anything you want it to be. The well-known slogan for the day is “Festivus is for the Rest of Us”. Any excuse for a holiday during these troubled times is a good excuse. And when I do make those decorations, maybe I’ll add an entire rainbow to send a little love out into the world.