Santa Claus is Coming to Town

by Meredith Winnett

Guess what day it is! If you said hump day, please leave my page now as I am severely disappointed in you. Today is the first day of ABC Family’s Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas. It’s the Countdown to the Countdown! Sure none of the movies on the list have anything to do with the holiday, but Up is on AND we get a Harry Potter marathon next weekend.

Christmas music is on the radio, TV stations are starting their Christmas lineups, so that means the holiday season is here. That being said, I can officially begin Christmas blogging. Hope you’re ready!

There are four key goals to aim for during the holidays: Saving money, saving time, staying in shape, and eating well.

Save Money:
There are a hundred ways to shop smart … ok, maybe just ten. My favorite idea from this list is “Give the gift of you”. I think it would be super creative to give coupons to people (especially those who are hard to shop for) for your own time and skills. The post suggests babysitting, making a meal, and doing someone’s taxes (only if you’re an accountant though). Keeping this college, maybe offer to clean your roommate’s dishes for a week. Or make your best friend dinner one day. Make it fun! Make a whole book if you want. Oh! You could offer to proofread and edit one of your friend’s papers! Ok, I’m getting too excited here. Moving on…

Save Time:
Going to the mall is a hassle. Who in their right mind wants to drive all the way there, fight for a parking spot, fight to walk anywhere, fight for the last of the newest toy, et cetera et ceterea et cetera… Shop online! This makes it easier to find the lowest prices, and it’s quicker. Start with the basics (Amazon, EBay, Google shop) then try the discount sites (RetailMeNot, MyBargainBuddy). Also, making your own gifts double tips into saving time and money. Sure making all the crafts is time consuming, but it doesn’t negate the saving time topic. This is fun time! This is time not spent at a store. You can work on it while dinner is cooking or while your favorite TV show is on.

Staying in Shape:
Almost an impossible task, but it isn’t impossible. I promise. Stay hydrated! I know it’s hard to avoid desserts, so I won’t ask you to do that, but don’t eat every dessert at the table. Sample one or two of them, then drink some water. The Washingtonian says all this a lot better than I could. It is possible to not gain too much weight during the holidays. We all need a little self control and lots of support. Find a buddy or a relative that you can team up with and tell each other “No”. Is your cousin/teammate reaching for thirds? Tell them no! Is your friend/teammate trying to eat all the desserts? Tell them no!  You can do this!

Eating well:
Holiday recipes tend to be covered in cheese and sugar. This isn’t good. However, there are alternatives to this unhealthy indulgence so you can enjoy, but not gain weight doing so. Rather than eating way too much stuffing, eat a little more carrots. Try eating your turkey with a little less gravy. Every little bit matters. Eat a little more of the healthy stuff at dinner so that you’re not tempted by all the cookies and pies and triffle! Healthy foods can be yummy when they’re cooked right, so eat up. And, I know you’re going to hate me, but drink a little less. Alcohol is just empty calories, which we all could use less of this season. But, if you must drink a lot, try these low calorie cocktails. ONLY IF YOU’RE 21+ THOUGH 😉

Embrace the holidays for all that they are! More time with family, more time with friends, and more time off from school and work. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t let these four things stress you out.