Top 5 Bs: Coping Tricks for Cheer in the Time of Covid

Small comforts will help us through.

Books and Christmas magazines, old or new, soothe the spirit. This cozy gingerbread cottage was designed by artist and baker Ollie Alpert for the December 1995 cover.
  1. Big sweaters. There are no ugly ones this year. The more bells and Fair Isle* designs, the better. Kiel James Patrick, from New England, has the best (though pricey) picks in big and little sizes. I stumbled upon the brand many summers ago, when I bought a preppy rope bracelet with anchor clasp in the Salt Pond Visitor Center store on Cape Cod.
  2. Baileys. In moderation — poured into a steaming cup of coffee with a fluffy, Santa-size cap of freshly whipped organic cream. Imagine you live in a farmhouse, not a stressed-out scene, as the beaters whir; add a little pure vanilla extract. To marry #2 and #3, shop the internet for Christmas sweaters for liquor bottles. If you don’t drink, have chilled eggnog; even CVS sells it in the milk case.
  3. Balsam. Any fragrant evergreen will do if it transports you to a Christmas tree farm (visiting one is on my bucket list). Try branches in a glass vase; a candle ring from L.L. Bean or Whole Foods; swags for porch posts; or a wreath from the Boy Scouts’ corner stand. (Our Skippy’s seventh grade classmate Cooper and his fellow Scouts raised about $2,000 for our local food bank last weekend.) I’ve wanted a giant fresh door wreath you walk through since I first saw them in Montclair 26 years ago. Family-owned Bartlett’s Greenhouses in Clifton, a 100-year old business, sells them.
  4. Books. Pull out the Yuletide stories — from vintage books on eBay to “A Christmas Memory,” a quietly perfect short story by Truman Capote. These are constants. So are old holiday issues you saved of magazines you love/loved: Gourmet, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living.

Magazine maven, craft coffee lover, legal guardian. Passionate about fashion and lipstick — though it may not look that way when I dash to the supermarket.

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