Skating Uphill - December 2017

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Merry Christmas: Whatever That Means to YOU!”
– Alternate Church Christmas Carol –

It is actually true dear friends. Several years ago, my husband and I were invited to an alternate church service around Christmas time and we accepted. It was a most interesting experience. And yes, the lead off carol was a tune entitled, “Merry Christmas: Whatever That Means To You,” and was played on a big keyboard by a woman in a pirate costume. Most of the congregation, not us mind you, were dressed in some outrageous stuff.

What a hoot, I thought, but as we drove home, my husband had a different take on the whole thing. He loved the fact that so many people gathered around this time of year to be together and share fellowship. After the sermon, the group spent nearly an hour discussing their many local service projects. Who knew?

My point in all of this is to say something old, trite and true. There are so many things in this world that really do matter. Why in heaven’s name do we spend so much time worrying and arguing about things that don’t? This is all a matter of opinion, of course, but still I would ask you to think about that a bit this holiday season as you meet with friends and family, party with office mates, attend services of your choice and decide whether or not you are going to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Seasons Greetings.

Speaking of all those things reminds me of some memorable buffets and cookie exchanges. NO matter what you think or believe, the food is still really good, right? So, let’s talk a little about how to make the least of the most and enjoy while still being able to button our jeans without lying on the bed on our backs. I wish I had tons and tons of fabulous, yummy, calorie-free, Christmas food ideas, but the truth is, I simply don’t, and I bet you don’t either? It all tastes good, has sugar and fat, looks sensational and calls out to one and all. Anyway, I actually do have a little bit of a plan, and here it is.

First, I would ask you to remember Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. She was told repeatedly to eat something before the garden party so she would not appear hungry or greedy. Ha Ha, we all thought. That is really stupid. Well, no it isn’t. I like to eat a power bar and a cup of tea, or a banana and peanut butter, or something before I go out to what I call a “pick up party.” I don’t mean where you go to pick up a date, but where the food is all out, and you have a plate, and no will power. I know it is tough, but it does help a bit not to be starving when you arrive. This trick does not work at a dinner party, where everyone sees what you eat and always urges you to eat more, of course—especially if one of those people is your mother.

It also helps me, in a backward sort of way, to wear something tight that buttons. I have frequently said that black elastic waistband pants are a girl’s best friend, but keep in mind that sometimes that best friend can turn on you and bite you in the butt—literally. Yes, you can breathe and walk around at the party, but when you get home all is revealed when you try to button up that lovely party dress you wore only once last year. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean, either.

My final holiday tip is very personal, and it involves the deep freeze and a change of heart. To keep from stuffing myself with one-of-a-kind delights that only appear around the holidays, I would tell myself exactly that: This only comes once. To avoid that kind of thinking, I would ask the hostess if I could take something home for later. I would not stuff myself at the party, knowing I had some stashed for later—way later. Yes, I know this sounds like someone with no shame, and you are right. My take-home bounty was brought out of freezer and enjoyed later, but you get it still had the same calories, fat and sugar, don’t you? Well, I finally got it, too, after I saw a Weight Watchers video on YouTube about how people kid themselves into being 20 pounds overweight. Don’t you dare ask me why I so quickly identified with it, either.

Holiday times are so unique and special, and so not about food, but the meaningful things get buried all too frequently. To that end, I am going back to the beginning of this article to wish you a Happy Holiday, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas or whatever it all means to you. I love Christmas, and I love its meaning and purpose.

To me it is about rebirth, as much as it is about birth, and I look always toward a time when Peace on Earth can be a reality. We are assured that it is coming,
so keep it in your payers. Love, Judith

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