Top 10 Tips to Guilt-Free Holidays

Dec. 3, 2006 – Enjoying a guilt-free holiday season isn’t just about avoiding carbs and sugar. It’s about the ways in which you spend your time and how it makes you, and those around you, feel. Avoiding holiday guilt is easy when using these 10 easy tips:

1. Keep yourself energized so you skate through the season by giving yourself the gift of time…add appointments to your calendar (and KEEP them) for enjoying your hobby, pampering yourself, a special date night with your sweetie, or just curling up by the fireplace to read a good book. Anything that will rejuvenate your energy and spirit so you have more of it for giving others.

2. Ditch any holiday traditions you or your family don’t enjoy like a bad fruit cake! Replace them with ones that offer joy, laughter and meaning for all.

3. Get into the spirit of the holiday not the consumerism of the season by making someone else’s holiday special. Visit an aging relative you haven’t seen in some time, bring lunch to a new Mom, or volunteer at a local shelter.

4. Ideally, spend time with people whose company you enjoy and who increase your energy. Take steps to avoid or limit your time with energy draining family and friends. When difficult gatherings are inevitable, pre-charge your energy levels before the event (see #1) and do something fun or relaxing after, like meeting a friend for coffee or sitting in a candle lit bath. Sandwiching the less pleasant event can make it more enjoyable, and helps maintain your holiday cheer.

5. Decide early whether or not you are going to send holiday cards. Make it a conscious choice not just an automatic response because you perceive it to be expected. If you desire staying connected but can’t seem to beat the 12/24 deadline, consider sending Thanksgiving greetings or New Year Wishes instead. A plus is your card/letter won’t get lost in a stack with all the others.

6. Eat, drink & be merry – – The holidays are a time for extra sweets and treats. To combat the added calories, do something FUN each day for the physical you. Make snow angels with the kids and sing Suzy Snowflake, partake in a snowball fight, or raise a couple cans of jellied cranberry sauce (you know the ones I mean, they come out the shape of the can – – I LOVE them) up and down over your head 50 times before you open them, just to get your blood pumping. Every little bit counts!

7. Feeling stressed trying to keep up with the Grizzwald’s when it comes to your holiday decorating? Cut back on the amount or types of decorations you hang. Try using non-breakable decorations when children are young or rotate which decorations you use each year. If a Martha Stewart setting is really important to you, but time is scarce, consider hiring someone to do the decorating for you.

8. You’ve worked hard all year and more than earned your time off from work. Take it and get away or just lay low. Whatever your desire, but turn off the pager, e-mail account and cell phone. The place will still be standing and the work still waiting when you return. Your son or daughter won’t be 2 or 22 ever again.

9. Own your holiday celebration. Set reasonable expectations and create the celebration you desire. Don’t let anyone talk you out of serving lasagna or tacos if that’s what you crave.

10. Be choosy about accepting invitations to holiday festivities and avoid calendar clutter. Try alternating attendance at regular events every other year. Having too many holiday commitments won’t necessarily increase the festivity levels. Dashing through the snow is only fun in a sleigh, so select a couple gatherings where you can relax and enjoy the time with your hosts and fellow partygoers.

Crank up your favorite holiday CD, dance around the room, and sing with guilt-free reckless abandon this holiday season!

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