Not What You Think!

December 16, 2015

December, calories, carbs, alcohol… oh my!

We have a tendency to eat too much, drink too much and overdo a lot. That’s not what I am writing about today. Today we are going to talk about a different kind of holiday diet that includes gift control, event control, and self control. And I am going to keep it short and sweet (and low-calorie!)

Usually after the holidays we dread stepping on the scale. (actually, I dread that every day!) We also dread going to the mailbox as the credit card bills roll in and our hard-earned dollars roll out. Let’s practice self-control this year.

Gift control is easy. A few years ago my husband and I decided to not buy a gift for each family member but instead to give a gift to each family.

Here is how this works: instead of buying a gift for a son, his wife and each of the three children — a total of five gifts — we gave one gift to the family to share as a family.

Depending on the family it could be a gift certificate to the local bowling alley, miniature golf course, a fast food place they like to go


Or it could be cash that they combine with other funds to buy something for the house, go to a play, a concert or other event.

This way you spend less money (adjust the dollar amount for the size of the family), wrap and deliver only one gift, and provide a family experience.

We no longer shopped for five grown children and their spouses, sixteen grandchildren (several already married) and ten young great-grandchildren. You get the idea!

Event control is a little more difficult because of multiple family obligations: his, hers and ours, step-parents and step-grandparents, friends and work.

Look at your calendar — how many weekends before Christmas (or Hanukkah or your particular celebration)?

You can choose to attend one event per weekend and I haven’t found a rule anywhere that says all get-togethers have to occur before the holiday.

Open houses are great because you can visit with a particular category at one event.

Save the actual holiday date for immediate family.

Tradition in our family is immediate family Christmas Eve so most are together. Christmas Day each of the kids, grand and great-grands go to their in-laws. Try it — it works with a little planning and it can become your tradition in a short time.

Self control is the key. Each of us needs to make decisions that are for our own well-being, whether it is the amount of money we know we can comfortably spend, or time that we can spend with others.

This is not selfishness. It is self-care.

If your finances are like mine, careful spending is a life-long issue. Over-spending will increase stress which will decrease your health.

If you are heavily time-committed like me with a sick parent, a job and all the other trappings of life, you may need to turn down an invitation and that could hurt someone’s feelings. Perhaps you can schedule a more intimate gathering at another time and point out that you will each enjoy the time spent together more.

Keep to your holiday diet of gift control, event control and self control and let’s reconvene in January and plan a rocking 2016!

Drop me a line at and tell me about your Holiday Diet!