by Jamie Leff
What is the first thing you think about when someone asks you, “What is your favorite thing about the holidays?” Often, I get answers such as, “Grandma’s Yams, Uncle Bill’s prize winning gravy or Mom’s World Famous Latkes;” basically, anything that has to do with food! It is not surprising that people put on weight over the holidays…. everything usually revolves around something edible or drinkable. There is the baking, the holiday parties, and office treats. Let’s not forget to mention things you wouldn’t normally, but now you absolutely HAVE to eat, because they put the word pumpkin, peppermint or eggnog in front of it. What if you focused on something else this holiday season? What if you focused on making memories instead of pumpkin bread?
You have five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. As we previously discussed, taste seems to get most of the attention around the holidays. If you think about it though, a lot of our memories are made using the other four senses as well. How about we give taste a rest and focus on the other senses instead? What would the holidays look like then?
Let’s explore this idea:
TOUCH: Think about the things around the holidays that you can physically feel. Bing Crosby makes reference to “Jack Frost nipping at your nose,” in his famous holiday classic White Christmas.
Some examples are:
- Curling up with your loved ones under a cozy blanket, in front of a fire, on a crisp winter’s night.
- Cuddling with your pet, stroking it’s fur and just relaxing after a long day.
- Taking a hot bubble bath (I know I said to ease off of taste, but I think adding a glass of wine here will make you feel really good!).
- Hugging and kissing your loved ones as often as you can.
- Making homemade holiday decorations with your kids.
SMELL: Sometimes the best part of baking all of those holiday goodies, is the smells they leave behind. You can be in the middle of a restaurant, get a whiff of cinnamon and apples, and it brings you back to the last Thanksgiving at grandma’s.
Here are some examples of using smell:
- Lighting candles or getting air fresheners in your favorite holiday scents.
- Since we are so obsessed with everything pumpkin, peppermint, or eggnog, how about getting a bubble bath in one of those scents?
- Standing in front of a Christmas tree and just breath deeply! Or go up to the mountains and take in the fresh air!
- Try this Hot Spiced Cider recipe from Betty Crocker. Not only will it warm you up, but it will make your house smell amazing!!!
HOT SPICED CIDER
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
• 6 cups apple cider
• 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 3 cinnamon sticks
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat ingredients to boiling over medium- high heat. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
Before serving, strain cider mixture to remove cloves and cinnamon, if desired. Serve hot.
From Betty Crocker Online: www. BettyCrocker.com
HEARING: Part of the fun of the holidays is turning on your radio and rocking out to your favorite holiday classics! Or how about when your child comes home singing the same version of “Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel,” that you learned when you were his or her age?
This holiday season:
- Listen to holiday music.
- Tell stories to kids about the true meaning of the holidays. Or have everyone share their favorite holiday memory.
- Take in the laughter and the excitement. Focus on the joy the holidays bring, especially to your kids.
- Tell someone you love them everyday. Chances are, they will tell you they love you back, and that’s a wonderful thing to hear everyday, not just around the holidays.
SIGHT: At the end of the day, there’s nothing better then spending time and making precious memories with the people you care about most.
- Visit with family and friends. For some people, the holidays are the only time they get to see certain people. Take advantage and really enjoy that time.
- Take your children to look at holiday decorations. Decorate your own house.
- Watch holiday movies.
- Record home movies of your kids decorating the house, opening their presents, and anything else holiday related. These will be your favorite holiday movies for years to come.
Hopefully, these ideas will distract you from the non-stop eating that occurs from Thanksgiving to New Years! Also, remember that the holidays are also about giving. When you find that you have over-done it in the kitchen, donate some of that extra food to the local food bank. Instead of sending your child to school with homemade cookies for his or her teacher, make a donation in that teacher’s honor. Purchase $5 gift cards to any fast food place and give them out to people you see in need. Take the time to be grateful for all that you had this year.
These things are what the holidays are really about. It’s about making memories with the people you love. Focus on these things and you will be so caught up in the holiday spirit, you won’t even think twice about Aunt Betty’s special fudge. You’ll just be so happy to see Aunt Betty!
Happy Holidays! I’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite holiday traditions that don’t involve food? Send an email over to Jamie@JamieLeffNutrition.com.