Living a Healthy Lifestyle
New Advice from an Old Friend
– The Uphill Skater –
I know I always give advice about how to stay away from the buffet table and tell you not to gain ANY weight at all every Christmas, but this year is different! This year I am really into the true spirit of it all and it’s all because I have been in snow.
I have not really seen big, beautiful snow since I left California 15 years ago. We used to ski Lake Tahoe every year for all we were worth. It was fabulous, and somehow not having that snow has put a different cast on the holidays. This year, though, we have been visiting in a place where, just last night, it snowed nearly a foot, and it was so beautiful this morning! So yeah, white Christmas has changed my mood.
In past years I have been weight obsessed, passing on lovely candy and cookie gifts, and generally being a nutrition curmudgeon about the whole food aspect of Christmas. Now, not so much. The whole thing seems to me still that the season should not revolve around food and parties because so many other things about the spirit of the holidays are good for us in so many ways. I plan this year to relax and enjoy all there is to see, do, and share.
First off, let’s talk about music. I happen to know there are many musical performances throughout the holiday season. In the past, we have attended a few, but this year we will go to all we possibly can. Seasonal music, whether by a high school choir, the Shorenotes, or the local symphony, is so powerful and so much a part of traditions. One year, we had a group of carolers come to our house, and we loved it. I have vowed to do it myself with my family some year. My husband and son have beautiful voices, and I can at least remember the words and sing along. Another year, some kids from the local high school put on Victorian outfits and sang outside the local shopping outlet. They passed a cup as they sang, and earned enough audience donations to buy all of their Christmas gifts that year. They also brought unexpected pleasure to the outlet shoppers!
Next, let’s talk gifts. I read an article in Real Simple about how to create children who are minimalists. This does not sound like much Christmas fun, I know, but it actually was of great interest to see some of the different ideas for gift giving. We’ve all seen ideas for homemade gifts, movie tickets, a surprise trip to Disney World, and those are all great ideas. Thinking a bit more out of the box, how about a gift of service? Our church makes baskets for the needy that include directions to local shelters and information on job counseling sites. One of my neighbors gave her elderly friend five “You Name It” passes. These passes were good for a grocery trip, a movie outing, a ride to anywhere, a lunch date, etc. Her friend was thrilled. Last year, instead of a gift exchange, our church members chipped in to pay a month’s rent for a man whose wife had cancer—what a great feeling that was. We used to give our kids craft kits, and traditionally after Christmas Dinner, we would spend the evening putting stuff together. One year we made a gingerbread house that topped all others in the universe! The next year, everyone got a beaded belt kit. Okay, yeah, that one was pretty much a flop, but we’re still in there pitching. Anyway, I’m sure you get the idea and can come up with even better ideas.
Last but not least, what about YOU this Christmas? Yes, we still need to take good care of ourselves during the season of giving. What about treating yourself to a nice massage? Why not try one of those pre-made food boxes for a week? Just for something crazy, buy yourself an extra special bottle of wine you were going to buy for someone else and pick up a cheaper one for them! “Oh my,” you might be thinking: “I could never do THAT!” Well, yes you can. Consider this column your Christmas permission slip. If you’re not a wine drinker, buy an outfit you love and don’t worry if it cost more than you usually spend. I know this sounds unwise, but that’s exactly the point.
Christmas is about new birth even more than spring. It’s about promises fulfilled and hope that has come to life. Let yourself be a part of it. It’s a very healthy thing to do, trust me!