THINK BEFORE YOU EAT…We all know how tempting food is at holiday gatherings. We often tell ourselves that I’ll just indulge myself today and then I won’t do it again. After your fifth holiday party you realize you have said the same thing over and over and now you are feeling like you failed yourself. What I have found to be successful is to take small servings and try only a few bites of each yummy item. This way you are not denying yourself the pleasure of Grandma’s famous molasses cookies but you are not going overboard on eating. If you bring something to share for a potluck consider plating it up in bite size pieces. A tree shaped veggie platter or fruit tray always fits well with a holiday buffet and it’s good for you too! Don’t worry, I’m sure someone will still bring the cookies.
STEP AWAY FROM THE BUFFET…Don’t position yourself by the buffet table. That will just lead to constant munching. I don’t know about you but I can’t resist grabbing something from the food table if I am standing right next to it. Those darn cheesy dips and homemade gooey treats just reel me in. The best way to avoid this is to position yourself away from the food area so it’s not constantly in your line of sight. Plus, it will take more effort to go over and grab something from the table if you are not right next to it. If you can’t avoid being placed next to the food try chewing gum or pop a mint in your mouth. The flavors don’t always mix with other foods and your mouth is already preoccupied so it should help curve the urge.
BAKE THOSE COOKIES…One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking cookies with my kids. We usually do molasses cookies, frosted sugar cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and whatever else we are in the mood to try making. This year the kids want to attempt to make homemade gingerbread cookies. Wish us luck! I love baking so I’m looking forward to this activity with the kids. However, I also love eating those darn cookies too. I have become a smart cookie (had to throw that in there) in the last few years. After the cookies are covered with piles of frosting and sprinkles, we cheer with excitement of our great work of art and indulge in a treat or two. Once that moment is past, my daughter and I wrap up almost all of the remaining cookies into two trays. One will go with my husband to share at work and the other will go in our freezer. Why the freezer? First reason: Out of sight, out of mind! If you keep the cookies on the counter or in the fridge where you will see them every day, you will be tempted to eat one. Okay, let’s be realistic. You will not want to stop at just one! Second reason: Unexpected visitors dropping by to spread holiday cheer can be stressful if you are not prepared. Grab out the tray of cookies from the freezer and you are good to go with a hostess gift or treat to share. Now you can sit back and enjoy your guests.
LEARN TO SAY NO…That two letter word shouldn’t be so hard to say but we often over commit ourselves this time of the year. I was just talking with a friend who really wants to take her kids to see Santa this weekend but she already agreed to about five other activities and is stressed about finding time to see the big guy in the red suit. Is all the craziness really healthy physically or emotionally for us? Time to put on the brakes and prioritize. There will be some commitments that you need to attend but I have a feeling there are a few that you could skip or reschedule. For example, connecting with friends and neighbors around the holidays is a lot of fun but maybe hold off until January when things slow down. This way you can share your fun holiday stories and talk about your hopes and dreams for the new year. It might also help with the winter blues if you spread out your commitments.
SCHEDULE "YOU" TIME…Along with learning to say no, we need to learn to say yes to ME time. As a Mom and wife, I get so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs that I sometimes forget about doing something for myself. Sound familiar? Find time in your schedule to do something you enjoy. Maybe it’s reading a book in front of a fire, watching a Christmas movie in bed with the door locked or sneaking off to the gym to burn off cookie calories. Whatever brings you peace then find time to do it. Being stressed and overscheduled doesn’t equal a holly jolly Christmas.
Most important thing to remember is that this season is about all the blessings from above and how we choose to share them with the people we love including ourselves.