By Allison Ganey

Everyone deserves a pass on making New Year’s resolutions this year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t slide a few new exploits into our routines! In the age of coronavirus, we need something to look forward to, and trying something new is the perfect way to start 2021 off on the right foot. With that in mind, here are a few hobbies we’ll be picking up in 2021.

The ultimate 2020 hobby? BAKING!

If you didn’t get around to baking in 2020, there’s still time to brush up on your bread-kneading skills. With coronavirus numbers spiking once again, baking is a great activity to keep you entertained and keep you home. And it’s a great activity at any skill level! Whether you want to make cookies from scratch or try your hand at Maid of Honour tarts (and I highly recommend you try these), there’s something for everyone.

Elizabella’s Bake Shop on Bailey Avenue is a great place to feed your new obsession. They have everything from muffin tins – which you’ll need for Maid of Honours! – to pre-made baking mixes, to serving trays, to tea towels. Elizabella’s has it all!

Listen to podcasts! 

In a time where so many of us still feel isolated, listening to podcasts is a great way to feel surrounded by friends. Podcasts are a comfort to have on in the background while you’re making dinner or cleaning the bathroom; even the most mundane activities can be fun with a little company. And there’s something for everyone! If you like true crime, I recommend the funny ladies of My Favorite Murder. If you’re interested in science and disease ecology, This Podcast Will Kill you is wildly insightful.

Become an expert cocktail-maker!

Yes, there are places you can get cocktails even during a pandemic, but wouldn’t it be fun to craft them on your own? Even better, recreate your favorite bar in your home! A friend of mine was supposed to go to New York for her birthday, but because of the pandemic, we recreated three of the bars we were planning to visit inside her home. From throwing sawdust on the floor for an Irish pub to recreating items from their menus, it created memories we’ll never forget. And now, we have a wheelhouse of cocktails to turn to when a beer just won’t do. Try it for yourselves!

Many Ridgefield restaurants offer craft cocktails you can replicate, from Tablao to Gallo to Tequila Escape to Luc’s. While we’re trying to stop the spread, recreating our favorite items from their menus is a good way to indulge (and stay sane!)

Learn a new game!

Kick your evenings up a notch by learning a new game! Having a single deck of cards opens up a world of fun for the family, but board games and dice games are an excellent way to spice things up. If your family is really competitive, put together a prize bag! Small bottles of liquor and cheap dollar store goodies make great rewards for a game won.

The Toy Chest on Main Street has an array of puzzles, games, and toys for all of your game night needs. I come from a serious gaming family, and I highly recommend Farkle (dice), Hammer (cards), and Smart A** (board game)! There’s never a dull moment in any of these games, and I promise your family will love it.

Create art!

You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy creating art. Art is incredibly therapeutic and a great way to take your mind off the stresses of the day (and the past year). Few of us can independently create a masterpiece, but activities like paint-by-numbers give you the power to do that! Creating art will take your mind off your everyday worries, and you’ll end up with something tangible to be proud of in the end. 

If you need inspiration, hop down to RPAC Gallery on Main Street! There is a range of works in different mediums, from hand-woven to acrylics, to sculptures – there’s bound to be something that catches your eye.

Get crafty!

Cross-stitching, knitting, and crocheting are all tactile hobbies that produce a satisfying result. Learn how to cross-stitch on fabric to personalize your favorite hat, or knit your mom a scarf for the winter ahead! You can buy beginner kits from a number of places to start your crafting journey off right.

Nancy O on Danbury Road is chockful of yarn and knitting kits! You can view a selection of what they offer on their website, but there’s more to be seen in store. If you need inspiration or encouragement, Nancy O is the place to go.

Use your kid’s projects to create your own! 

I bet you have a closet full of your kid’s art supplies and a bin full of various art projects just taking up space. Why not make something of all of that? Creating a scrapbook is an incredible way for you to keep a timeline of how your kids have grown, and consolidating all of those pieces will help you feel more organized.