December 3 ~ Party Going!

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

 a sparkly dress for his boss’s party.

Had this been posted on the real Dec. 3rd I would have said something like this: It’s time to come home. We’ve had an amazing week and a long day of driving ahead of us. But luckily you get to read this fascinating blog instead of spending 8 hours in the car. (And you can imagine us driving and driving toward home on the 3rd….)

As you know my husband is a minister. Every year there is a District Christmas party. In previous districts making it to the party was always on the agenda, as well as convenient. Living on the island however, well, not so convenient. In most cases it’s a 3 hour drive one way. We did it the first year, but after that it became increasingly harder. One of the reasons was because Thanksgiving time is the only vacation time Cory gets, and so we use it as our family vacation time. Hence the cruise. Last year it was a week in Chicago, and before that we spent several years in a row in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only real downside is that the boys miss extra days of school. A small sacrifice for a lifetime of special moments and memories.

The point to all this rambling is that once again this year we will miss our District Christmas party, but unlikely that we won’t attend one altogether, and you still have to get ready for your engagements. Here’s how you will be able to party away while savoring the season in good health, good spirits, and good fun!

The average person consumes an extra 619 calories a day between Thanksgiving and New Years Day (courtesy of Texas A&M International University).  But if weight control is an issue for you then you should know that it’s what you put in your mouth between New Years and Christmas that is the real problem. Here are some tips for keeping the weight gain down during the holiday season.

  1. Get on the scale. Checking your weight regularly will actually help you avoid packing on extra pounds.
  2. You may not be a wine drinker, but a glass of white wine before a meal can help lower your appetite for carbs. It’s also helpful to slowly sip wine while you eat. Just keep it reasonable: alcohol has calories too.
  3. Find 15 minutes a day (at least 4 times a week) to burn some calories by talking a brisk walk or jog, Pilates or yoga, or pop in a motivational aerobic DVD. 
  4. Eat slowly. Most people scarf down a meal in 5 to 15 minutes. It’s hard to know if you’re truly full that way, plus it’s too much for your body to digest quickly so a lot of it gets converted to fat. Try to take 30 minutes. It’s much easier to say no to seconds when there is still food on your plate.
  5. At the buffet table it’s easy to indulge and eat way more sugar and fat than we normally would. Plus the more variety = more indulgence. Be aware of what you are putting in your mouth. You can eat those rich foods, just in very small amounts. Enjoy a few bites of 2 or 3 different delicacies, but then load up your plate with vegetables.
  6. You will probably doing a lot more cooking and baking during this time than normal. I don’t know about you but I tend to “taste” a lot while I’m cooking. If you’re counting calories anyway this is not a helpful thing. There is no way to keep track of how many calories you’re consuming before you’ve even sat down to a meal. So keep the tasting to a minimum.

Now that you’re ready to enjoy the evening while still feeling great in your party dress, make sure you don’t forget your hostess gift. This is not a required thing, but still a very acceptable and lovely tradition. Or what about those parties that ask you to bring small gifts for a round of Secret Santa? Or how about when you receive an unexpected gift and want to reciprocate?

Dragonfly Screen Critter

There are a lot of private shops and boutiques here on the island. They each sell an amazing array of both commercial and independent sundries. Being around so many local artists also lends the unique shopping experience of finding a treasure that can be found nowhere else. Such is the case with these Screen Critters. At $8 or $9 each it’s too easy to have some extras handy for last minutes gifts. They are super cute and come in all variety of “bugs”.

Bulk buying isn’t the only way to go, of course. If you’re buying for someone in particular than it is certainly easier to make it more personable. But let’s face it, sometimes you just need that last-minute gift. Bottom line is, if it’s something you would buy for yourself then you shouldn’t be worried about gifting it.

Which brings me to regifting. We’ve all done it. You don’t have to admit it, it’s okay. I don’t think regifting is a bad thing. But I encourage you to be aware of who gave it to you and where it’s going next. I’ve been the recipient of a regift. If you know it’s a regift, then it’s not a good thing. No one should be able to tell they’ve been regifted.

Back on the bulk gifts real quick: you may feel it’s cheating, but it’s not. Especially in these economically difficult times, it makes sense to buy several reasonably priced items (things you would use or like to have) and keep them at the ready. There was a time when my boys were younger and birthday parties were plenty, but cash and time was not. This also stems from living on an island where a run to Walmart takes up 3 hours of your time in driving alone.  In my attic was a Rubbermaid tote full of kid-friendly toys and gifts. Granted it was mostly boy gifts, but a few gender-friendly ones as well for the occasional girl invite. Go to the thrift store (only buy new items obviously), or to discount stores like Big Lots, and stock up rather cheaply. I love Big Lots when I can find one because they carry brand names at super low prices. This was extremely convenient.

Now, does that sound like cheating to you? It’s the same principle with adult gifts. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy your holiday as stress free as possible, and don’t forget to remember the real reason for the season.

“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

~ 2 Corinthians 9:11    NIV

 
 
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