Susan Lacke shares her thoughts on holiday parties, mistletoe and eating cookies.
Will you people stop trying to ruin my holidays?
Every day, yet another news outlet releases yet another health tip for surviving holiday parties. These usually evoke imagery of the “expanding waistline,” like we’re all one gingerbread cookie away from becoming a modern-day Violet Beauregarde. This, of course, must be avoided at all costs.
“Fill up on water and celery before going to your holiday party, so you’re too full to eat anything naughty!” the talking heads on TV cheerily advise.
“Sneak away from the festivities and take a lap around the house for some light cardio!” write the health bloggers.
“Find a race with ‘Jingle’ in the name, and train for a PR!” counsel the magazines.
“Dilute your wine with sparkling water for half the calories!” the podcasts say, to my great, pearl-clutching offense.
Who are these people, and why are they staring down from their caves with a big Grinchy frown?
This no-fun nonsense has got to stop. The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time, full of merriment (and a few baked goods). When I see deprivation disguised as a health tip, I find it extreme: leave your party to get some light cardio? Water down your wine? C’mon, now. We shouldn’t be relegated to the naughty list for skipping a workout or lingering around the dessert table a half-second too long.
I go to holiday parties specifically to eat, drink and be merry. After 11 months of skipping out on happy hour in favor of early-morning training runs, I’m OK with erasing a December workout to don an ugly Christmas sweater and exchange white elephant gifts. I love my friends and family, and truly relish the few days of the year I get to spend with them. I’m not “sneaking away” from a party to walk around someone’s house by myself. If I want some light cardio, I’ll put some extra bourbon in my husband’s eggnog and corner him under the mistletoe.
I’m not going to fill up on celery when my house is filled with the smell of my momma’s cooking, and I certainly don’t need to train to PR at a Jingle run—I’ll just don my Santa hat and jog it in with a smile. If I’m carrying an extra pound or two come January, I’ll run it off while training for Shamrock Shuffles and Firecracker 5Ks, just like I do every year.
But today, during the merriest of months, I (and my expanding waistline) have parties to attend, people to hug, and cookies to eat.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.