Thanksgiving and Christmas are two holidays that fall so close together on the calendar, they many times are just referred to as “The Holidays”. Actually celebrating each one separately and not getting in a hurry to see one over and move onto the next can be difficult if I let it.
I live in a tourist driven area so November 1st marks the beginning of the holiday season. Christmas lights go up all over town and Thanksgiving is only discussed in relation to black Friday events. For me staying healthy for the holidays has more than one meaning and maybe it does for you too.
Travel or Stay Home – an Annual Dilemma
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas so many of us travel either by car or plane. How many of you can look back on past holidays and see weather or airport delays, missed dinners or family gatherings or family conflicts resulting in stressful days? I’m sure we all can if we’re honest. Here’s just a few ideas to get through your travel or stay home plans.
- Traveling. Give yourself a little extra time to get to your destination and return. We can’t control the weather, the airlines or the road conditions so work with what you can control – you and how you handle the journey.
- Take a deck of cards, a couple of good books or a board game or two with you. Fill down time waiting for a flight or sitting in a hotel overnight while the weather clears with something fun to do. Just watching the flight schedule board or television in your room can really dampen your holiday spirits.
- When everyone is coming to your house, don’t try to plan every hour so they aren’t bored. Leave time for sitting around the table or out on the deck if the weather allows and chatting with family and friends. Peace of mind comes easy when I just sit and listen to my children and grandchildren share their stories with each other.
Travel or stay home – either way can be healthy for your mind and body with a little preplanning. Cherish the time when you can unplug and relax.
Do the Holidays Burst Your Budget?
For so many people today, the holidays become very stressful due to money restraints. If you travel, there’s definitely money involved in either plane tickets or fuel, food and lodging expenses. Staying at home and being the host still requires extra funds for food, household goods and other items that pop up during the season.
- Set up a budget for yourself and family members if they plan to contribute.
- Divide your budget into groups to help you keep track easier. I usually use food, gifts and lodging if needed. Knowing how much I can or am willing to spend removes that stress from the actual spending.
- Don’t forget to keep some funds back for emergencies or spur of the moment decisions. It’s always nice to be able to treat everyone to an outing when they get stir crazy. Maybe an afternoon of bowling after a scrumptious meal!
Keeping within my budget allows me to enjoy the holidays without losing any sleep over my bank account. Staying healthy for the holidays can mean budget health.
Meals With the Family – The Aftermath!
Oh those wonderful holiday foods. I have said it and heard my sisters say it’s all about the food in our holiday gatherings. But is it worth it? For me the answer is yes, may not be the same for you, because we gather at the table to eat but get so much more from the experience than just the food.
Especially when it’s family or close friends that gather. The food is what brings us together but the sharing of our lives is what keeps us healthy. I may need to add a day to my exercise routine to shed the extra pounds that seem to appear every holiday season. I may feel the need to sleep in an extra hour or head to bed an hour earlier than usual after the holidays. That’s still keeping healthy.
I round up the grand kids and maybe the dog and head for the park or just make a couple of circles around the block. No matter where we are there is some form of physical activity available. Playing some back yard football, head to the mall to walk it off or get out the Wii and challenge someone to a game of tennis.
I have read many articles about cooking healthy around the holidays so I know it’s possible to cook traditional holiday meals in a healthy way. I’m not much for substitutions – I mean a turkey needs to be a “real” turkey in my family.
The better answer for me is smaller portions. I have to try everything (except the fruit cake) so even with smaller portions I feel like I’ve eaten a big meal. The holiday cookies and candies are irresistible for me – it’s how much and how often that I have to keep under control.
Thanksgiving and Christmas – the Actual Holidays
Thanksgiving is a great day for reflection. Living in the United States is not only an honor but a blessing for me and my family. I have more choices and possibilities than people in some countries are allowed and for that I am thankful. Having three children in the military gave new meaning to Thanksgiving in our house. We can choose where to celebrate Thanksgiving but many military families have one or more members deployed and not able to spend the holidays with them at home.
Christmas has always been a time for our family to share in the joy of the birth of baby Jesus. We may have different political views, different parenting styles or different life goals – but we all celebrate his birth because we choose to.
Both holidays are important to me and I definitely look forward to celebrating them both every year All the trimmings and traditions are fun and wonderful to share with family and friends.
Staying healthy at the holidays means filling my heart and those I love with enough joy to last another year.