Monthly Archives: December 2011

Six Silly Traditions


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            The holidays are steeped in traditions.  Some, like gift giving, are as old as the holidays they have become a part of.  We can all thank the three “wise” men for starting the tradition of giving impractical gifts to one another.  (Did it occur to any of them to take some of that gold and rent the kid and his folks a room?)  Other traditions, like dropping the ball in Times Square, are hardly older than Great Aunt Tillie’s fruitcake, perhaps not even as old. The first ball drop was in 1907.  The oldest fruitcake, baked by a Fidelia Bates (possible relation through my paternal grandmother?), supposedly has been in existence since 1878.  Yummy.  The best traditions, however, are those only as old as the families who created them. 

            My family has had a number of odd holiday traditions over the years. Some, like opening stockings in my parents’ bed, were bred out of necessity.  My parents needed time and caffeine to gain consciousness before the real chaos of Christmas began.  I suppose I was too little to remember when this tradition began, though I’d guess it was around 4:30 am sometime in the early 80’s.  I clearly remember, though, the years when perhaps it should have ended, years when my brother and I were well past believing it was Santa’s idea to drag out this part of the morning long enough to get through the first sacred cup of coffee.  We were both in college and much too large to fit comfortably on the bed, but by then the tradition had been long established and no one wanted to be the one to suggest it had grown slightly ridiculous.  Besides, by that point we were old enough (and perhaps hung-over enough) to need the slow start as much as our parents.  Sadly this tradition came to an end when my brother moved out, but as the expression goes, when one door closes, another opens.

            We may have grown older and bigger, but we certainly didn’t gain much in the way of maturity and sophistication–at least not when it came to Christmas morning.  In place of the camaraderie we built squeezing four full-grown adults onto a queen-sized mattress, we adopted the new tradition of hideous, holiday-themed headwear.  It started with a single Santa hat that got passed from bedhead to bedhead to enhance the humor of our Christmas morning photos.  Then someone made the grand discovery of the light-up reindeer antler headband, because nothing says Christmas like bleary-eyed adults in tacky blinking lights.  Not wanting her to miss out on the holiday fun, I even attempted to include the cat in this tradition by purchasing her a feline-sized Santa hat from the local pet store.  It was a good thing I had my tetanus shot that year, but the scars eventually healed.  This year, though, had to be the epitome of this particular tradition.  My brother, who hadn’t partaken since he married into a more normal family, amused us all by donning an elf hat with pointy ears this Christmas Eve.  It looked particularly ridiculous since it didn’t cover his own ears, leaving us discussing four-eared elves and big heads (of which Dad wins the prize–sorry!).  To top it off, our Christmas morning celebration included Gramma this year, which gave us the perfect excuse to update our collection of Christmas crowns.  Gram, who happily said she was up for anything, was a great sport and wore her cheap polyester Santa hat like a pro, bringing a third generation into our crazy tradition.

            Our family is sure to grow and change, though perhaps not as quickly as my parents would like.  With such change will surely come new traditions and perhaps the resurrection of a few old ones–unwrapped presents from Santa was ingenious and coffee before chaos a must.  Though religious traditions are probably more sacred (I don’t think it’d be right to rock out the blinking nativity hat) and regional ones longer lasting (the ball drop is bound to be around long after the world has buried the last fruit cake), I’ll take family traditions over all of them any day.  Merry Christmas and a Happy, Silly New Year!



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Seven Songs Repeating


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            There
is a theory in the literature world that only seven book plots actually exist.  All works of fiction are just
variations of these types of tales. 
With all the books in the world, this seems like it’d be impossible, but
if you take a few minutes to look at the list and then start applying it your
latest reads, it’s not as crazy as you’d think. (For the avid readers and
English dorks in my life, click
here for a link
.)

            Recently
listening to Christmas songs more hours a day than I care to admit to, I’ve
decided this theory may apply to our seasonal carols as well.  I have well over four hundred songs in
my Christmas playlist and another hundred in my “Quiet Christmas”
mix.  But if you really listen to
the lyrics, they can all be stripped down to the following seven basic
categories.

            1.
Traditional Carols – These are the songs that sound best sung in British
accents while wearing Dickensian dress. 
They use words like wassailing, which I never would have known meant
loud, joyous, drinking if it hadn’t been for a radio trivia game, but which I
now love and have tried to work into as many of my Christmas blogs as
possible.  Traditional carols are
usually upbeat, easy to sing, and so over played we’ll be singing them well
into March.

            2.
Give Me Gifts – Truly capturing the spirit of greed, these are songs in which
the vocalist requests­­ or more often demands some form of compensation,
usually for doing very little. 
There’s “Santa Baby” where the performer asks for everything
from a car to a fistful of blank checks, usually sung in such a provocative
manner that it leaves the listener wondering just how nice–or naughty–she plans
on being when Santa hurries down her chimney.  But my favorite of the Give Me Gifts category has to be
“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in which it is demanded of the host
that she “bring us some figgy pudding.”  The lyrics go on to threaten that “we won’t leave until
we get some!”  I’ve never had
figgy pudding, but I can’t imagine it’s so scrumptious I’d throw all manners
out the window for it.  Sure, we
all love getting gifts around the holidays, but trading tricks with Santa or
threatening an Occupy Christmas sit-in seems a little severe.

            3.
It’s Cold, You’re Hot – Winter has long nights, romantic fires, and plenty of
inhibition annihilating beverages. 
We get it.  No need to
explain further here.  What
perplexes me is how these songs ended up as Christmas Carols.  I’m all for romance and free love, but
I also don’t belong to any formal Christian religion.  It seems to me songs such as “Baby, It’s Cold
Outside” belong better on the ‘Winter Solstice station’ than on the one
supposedly dedicated to Christmas Music. 
And songs like Lady Gaga’s “Christmas Tree” with lines like
“Ho ho ho, under the mistletoe/ Yes, everybody knows/ We will take off our
clothes” would probably just be better left off the air altogether.

            4.
Songs Not Intended to Be Christmas Songs – Speaking of songs that don’t seem to
fit, this category is for the misfits of the Christmas Carol world.  Did you know Jingle Bells was actually
written for Thanksgiving? 
Yup.  But since it was
probably the only song written for the holiday, it apparently got lonely and decided
to tag along with the more abundant Christmas tunes. And then there’s “My
Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.  Sure, it mentions some
holiday images, but it’s not a Christmas song.  Just don’t tell that to every Christmas station going.  Of course we could be more
accommodating, as well as more politically correct and just rename everything
labeled Christmas as winter…

            5.
Christmas Sucks – …after all, according to the writers of this next group of
songs, Christmastime is a depressing dismal time anyway.  I understand that for starving children
in Africa, the homeless, people with lost loves, and people who can’t get home
to be with family, the holidays can be rough, but lamenting about it in a
“Christmas song” just doesn’t seem necessary.  Whether you’re religious or not,
Christmas ought to be a time of hope, joy, and, yes, generosity.  But reminding me of others’ misery by
droning out a dirge that leaves me wanting to stake myself with a sprig of
holly (thanks, Dickens) isn’t the best way to remind me to help those in need.

            6.
Small Squeaky Things Screeching – On the topic of wanting to stick myself with
sharp objects, there are the songs sung by chipmunks, about Donkeys, for
children.  And I use the word
signing loosely, because for the most part these songs are screeched, or in
Dominick’s case brayed, I guess.  I
suppose if I had children I’d have more tolerance for small squeaky things in
general.  And Christmas is supposed to be a holiday for the kiddos.  But as a childless adult, is it so
wrong of me to want to set out some d-Con rat poison for Alvin and his friends?

            7.
WWJS? (That’s ‘What Would Jesus Sing?’) – The final category of songs might
shock and offend some of us who have become so used to the Christ being
stripped from Christmas.  As I said
earlier, I no longer practice an organized religion, but that doesn’t stop me
from getting my groove on to a little “Mary’s Boy Child” every now
and then.  Just because you don’t
belong to a particular religion doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the music and
art that celebrates it, especially when the sentiment is a universal one of
love, family, and devotion.

            Christmas
means a lot of different things to a lot of people.  Whether it’s a time to find love, to get it on, to bitch and
moan, or to rock out with baby Jesus, it’s nice to know there’s a soundtrack
out there to suit your purpose.  Commence caroling!

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Eight Dateless Parties


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            After
my last foray into dating went awry, my usually optimistic mood hit a bit of a
slump.  I did what every woman (and
man) needs to do every now and then, I threw myself a pity party: I bought a
new bracelet, drank some wine, and devoured half a dozen Lindt chocolates.  With my trio of therapies wreaking
havoc on my ability to operate heavy machinery (you know how shopping can do
that to you), I collapsed on the couch ready to otherwise occupy my mind.  With the Christmas tree on, I decided
perhaps a little music might be just the thing to put me into a cheery mood, so
I tuned the tube into the Holiday Hits station.  The first song was a peppy little ditty entitled “All I
Want for Christmas.”  It
wasn’t about wanting an Xbox.  But
it was only one song.  The next:
“Let It Snow.”  If you
listen carefully the next line is “so I can get lucky.”  Great.  Song number three? 
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which is just an updated version of
“Let It Snow”–no reading between the lines necessary.  Grrr.  I flipped the channel back to the television stations.  Music was not working, so I’d try
rotting my brain.  Hoping to find a
particularly gruesome episode of Bones or an all-night NCIS marathon, I ended
up lost in rerun central (the 200’s where I live).  And what was on the first station I stopped at?  A sappy holiday Hallmark special about
reuniting with a lost love.  I’m
sorry, did I miss the memo?  I
thought this was Christmastime not Valentine’s Day.  Isn’t this the holiday about that kid born to a virgin?  Last I knew peace on earth, goodwill to
men is not synonymous with getting a piece with a good well of men.

            Perhaps
I was being a little sensitive.  I
was in full out pity-party mode at that point.  But the holiday season is full of images, songs, and movies
brimming with happy couples and love. 
And that’s fitting. 
Christmas is a time to appreciate the people in our lives who mean the
most to us, and for many people that goes beyond family and friends to include
spouses and significant others. 
But it’d be nice if there were a few images of a perfectly normal
thirty-something trimming the tree with his or her pet or perhaps some songs
about being single and content in front of fire.  Yet somehow “Kitty, It’s Cold Outside” sounds
pathetic.  Okay, perhaps as song
titles go, it is, but as a life-style, it’s not.  Only it’s hard to remember that some days when you’re being
cute-coupled to death.

            The
worst holiday dilemma for a single person is by far the holiday party.  There’s always that little check box in
the RSVP that asks whether you’ll be one or two.  Sure, it’s the same for weddings, but they come
infrequently, especially once nearly all your friends are married, and at least
then you have the satisfaction of choosing the most expensive meal choice and
reasoning that you can skimp on the gift, because there’s only one of you to
buy it.  There are perks,
though.  Going it alone makes it
easy to decide who’s the designated driver–you are, always.  Great, because soberly meeting everyone
else’s spouse is bound to be better. 
The only saving grace in all this is that I’ve now attended enough of
these parties alone to have discovered the best kept secret of couples
everywhere: once they get in the door, most couples ditch their partners faster
than they forget their promise to be the one to stay sober.  Holiday parties and middle school
dances are rather similar in that sense; in both, the genders go their separate
ways until the final minutes when the males realize if they ever want to get
some, they need to appease the females for a least a few minutes by acting
mature and pretending they wouldn’t rather be home watching tv. 

            The
cute-couple stuff may exist outside of music and television, but for the most
part in reality it remains tamer and a lot easier for a single girl to
swallow.  If the media wants to
mistletoe the single folks of the world into a holiday hole of despair, good
luck with that.  I’ve got parties
to attend–with real people who don’t spend too much time singing sexed-up
Christmas songs to their spouses, at least not in public.

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Day Nine: Nuggets of Nostalgia


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            One
of the best parts of the holidays is getting a chance to remember back to when
our lives were simple, or at least back to when we were blissfully naïve enough
to think so.  There isn’t a day
between Thanksgiving and Christmas when a television commercial, a song on the
radio, or a silly comment made by one of my students doesn’t remind me of the
good ole’ days, when naps were not just recommended, but required; onesie
pajamas were perfectly acceptable sleepwear, rather than fodder for numerous
Facebook jokes about flaps in strange places; and the idea of a strange old man
creeping into our bedrooms and stuffing our hosiery brought joy instead of the
desire to acquire a permit for pepper spray.

            Despite
being slightly tone-deaf and entirely talentless, one of my favorite holiday
traditions growing up was the school Christmas concert.  And, yes, back then it was called a
Christmas concert, and we sang songs about Santa and Christmas, and wore
handmade paper Santa hats, and no one was permanently scarred for life by
it.  I remember singing about
“gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas” and the pure joy my little
goody-two-shoes self had imagining actually doing all the naughty deeds the
song described.  With all the
hypersensitivity about religion, not to mention the fear of exposing our
children to bad influences, I somehow doubt my future kids will share this
experience.  That makes me sad;
although, if I pass along my singing prowess, perhaps it’s best for everyone.

            Stripping
Santa and Christmas from schools will likely lead another bit of holiday
tradition to fall off the sleigh. 
Ugly Christmas sweaters have already left the realm of genuine festive
fashion to be seen now only as costumes at themed parties or worn for contests
where the ugliest sweater wins. 
But without elementary school teachers and their adorably dressed
students everywhere purchasing these festive fashions, future generations are
sure to run out of them.  Not being
big on dresses, I know I had a few sparkly holiday sweaters and puff-painted
sweatshirts in my day, that with my Little Orphan Annie perm and big toothy
grin could have won me hundreds in prizes, had we all known then what we know
now: holiday sweaters and big hair are funny, not fashionable.

            Dysfunction
is also funny, even funnier at the holidays when the stress and added
togetherness seems to heighten it. 
Which is why I have yet to let a Christmas season go by without watching
(usually multiple times) the most down-to-earth and humorous portrayal of
families at Christmas: The Christmas Story.  I know many families have traditions of
watching older classics, like
White Christmas or worse, It’s a Wonderful Life, but thankfully my family never made me suffer
through repeated viewings of suicidal-themed holiday films.  We related much better to the
daydreaming, f-bomb dropping, four-eyed geek whose parents weren’t perfect,
didn’t expect their children to be, and yet made the best of it.  I don’t remember when watching this
movie switched from just being fun to being tradition, but I do remember
sitting in our cramped den with my older brother and our neighbor more than
once during our high school and college days watching parts of the twenty-four
hour TNT marathon and reciting our favorite scenes, not bothering to reach for
the remote when it ended and then began again.

            It’s
funny, the things we long for from our pasts and the things in our current
lives that remind us of them.  I
miss Christmas concerts because of the joy music and signing always brought
me–before the days of try-outs and select choruses, back when no one cared if
you sang poorly, so long as you sang loudly and knew the words, back when the
only approval I needed was Dad or Gramma’s smiling face somewhere in the
audience.  I miss my jingle bell
necklaces and puff-painted sweatshirts because I’ve never had fashion sense,
but I’ve always had holiday spirit, and a mom who took the time to hand-make
those matching poinsettia sweatshirts so she and I could proudly show it
off.  And my need for a yearly dose
of Ralphy, in addition to taking me back to memory lane, which for me will
always mean Sunrise Ave., I know has more to do with missing easy afternoons
watching any old thing with my brother and my two ‘unrelated siblings’, my
first two best friends, than it does with a true desire to hear the horribly
unpolitically-correct Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra in one of the final scenes.  I’m old enough now to realize I was the
Randy to their Ralphs–I was the tagalong little sibling who cried too often,
could never keep up, but whom they (almost) never left behind. 

            So
thank you, Forever Lazy ads and the kid that gets Dominick the Donkey stuck in
my head after every third period, for reminding me, not only of some of the
best holidays I had, but of the people who made them great enough to miss.

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Ten Tins Too Many


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            Monday
marks the beginning of the end. 
The final countdown to Christmas vacation.  I’m sorry, Holiday break.  Er, nope…Winter reprieve?  At any rate, teachers and kids everywhere are looking forward
to a prolonged period of relaxation, which coincidentally begins just before a
major Christian holiday­–one that often involves gift giving. 

            One
of the most iconic images of students adorning their teacher with holiday gifts
is probably the scene in The Christmas Story where the kids line up and hand their teacher small tokens of
appreciation: an apple, an orange, a few small tissue-wrapped tokens.  Only Ralph goes overboard, handing the
astonished teacher a fruit basket bigger than he is, as the voice-over narrator
admits he was hoping a bit of bribery couldn’t hurt earn him an A on his
magnificent theme about his Red Rider BB gun.  Apparently the overpaid under-worked state employees who
make up the ethics board have had too much time on their hands in recent years
and spent it watching the TNT marathon of this Christmas classic.  The problem is they missed the part
about it being fiction (not to mention the scene where Ralphy gets a C- despite
the plethora of pears and pineapples). 
Afraid that teachers across the state might be swayed by lavish gifts of
reindeer coffee mugs and tins of homemade peppermint bark, they have decided to
crack down on the tradition of teacher gifts.  There are now legal documents outlining the protocol for
accepting such items from students. 
Clearly this was tax-dollar money put to good use.

            In
fairness, the rules only prohibit teachers from accepting gifts valued higher
than fifty dollars.  In my first
few years of teaching, when the economy was strong and my students’ parents had
an abundance of cash equaling my abundance of patience (both of which have dipped
off in the years since), I did receive gifts close to this amount, but I
certainly don’t have a problem with this guideline.  Teacher gifts are meant to be small signs of appreciation
for the time and effort we give to other people’s children.  We appreciate the gesture, but we
certainly don’t expect them, nor would most of us feel comfortable accepting a
larger gift.  Where the insanity
starts is in the new requirement that we document all gifts of any value.  Not only does this imply teachers as a
whole can’t be trusted to follow laws and act as professionals, but it’s also
ridiculous.  Some towns are going
as far as requiring teachers to estimate the dollar value of each gift.  Think about it: Dunkin’ Donuts gift
card, five dollars; book for classroom library, thirteen dollars, homemade
cookies…priceless?  What about the
clothespin reindeer ornament?  Do
we value it more if the googly eyes are glued on symmetrically?  How about the hand-dipped
chocolate-covered pretzels we receive from the nose-picker who claims proudly
that ‘he helped’?  Can we subtract
from our gift total the amount of money it would take for us to touch, never-mind eat
one of those puppies?  Let’s get
real; as an educator I clearly didn’t go into my line of work for the lush
perks.  My time would be much
better spent on other types of paperwork, like report cards, comments on
essays, and parent emails–you know, those that actually affect a student’s
learning.

            If
the state ethics board is really concerned about teachers giving special
treatment to certain students, there ought to be a form to fill out for those
students who daily give us gifts: the ones who thank us as they leave our
classroom (though they clearly don’t really love the homework we just
assigned), those who take the time to think about what we’ve taught them and
apply it to new situations, those who not only behave and participate, but are
willing to risk social ostracism to tell their peers to be quiet when we’re
trying to start a lesson.  Give me
a form where I’m asked to value respect, responsibility, and kindness.  I’ll gladly fill that out.  Just don’t expect me to follow any
mandate asking I not favor kids with these values, because I already do.

To the Scrooges
worried about the tins of fudge I’ll likely find on my desk this week: take
them away, auction them on eBay, and buy yourselves a clue.  Teachers spend more waking hours a day
with our school-aged youth than any adult they come in contact with.  We’re
responsible for teaching them values and ethics, and for the most part, we are a
hell of lot better at modeling such behaviors than politicians and lawmakers.

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Eleven Lines of Lunatics


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           I
think most middle school teachers are patient people.  You have to be to work with an age group whose hormones are
going haywire, which somehow interferes with their ability to think, listen,
and shut up.  I think my co-workers
would tell you I usually have an abundance of patience, at times too much
probably, so that I may border on being a pushover.  Yes, from 7:30 to 3 I maintain calm and chipper, often with
a smile on my face.  So why is it
when I leave work and inevitably end up in the longest line possible at every
store I need to shop at on the way home, I turn into a teeth-grinding,
eye-rolling Grinch?  It’s certainly
not for lack of patience and sympathy for the underpaid, underappreciated
clerk.  I spent enough years on
that side of a register to forgive just about everything from store
employees.  Nope, it’s my fellow
customers who usually annoy me. 
Why?  Well, perhaps because
I have more tolerance for inconsideration from thirteen-year-olds who are
developmentally at a stage in their lives when it’s natural for them to be
self-centered.  Also, with only
limited life experience, they can pass off a lot to ignorance, where in adults
it’s clear it’s just stupidity. 

            Okay,
maybe I’m just being Scroogey with my patience, but at this festive time of
year there does seem to be an abundance of lunatics in lines.  First offenders: the cell phone
talkers.  No, I’m not someone who
scowls at anyone and everyone on a phone in public.  I often talk on my phone at the store, sometimes even while
waiting in line.  But the people
who drive me nuts are those who can’t even tell the person on the other end of
the line to hold for a moment, while they speak to the cashier who has asked
them three separate questions and hasn’t gotten so much as a mouthed apology or
smile.  If a sixteen-year-old kid,
who isn’t getting paid a dime extra for being courteous, knows enough to smile
and wish someone a good day or a Merry Christmas, an adult, who likely makes
more in an hour than the cashier will make all shift, ought to be able to pause
his conversation long enough to say thank you.

            Being
intolerant of rudeness is probably acceptable even around the holidays, but the
next group of people I ought to have more understanding for, particularly since
I’m pretty sure I’m related to more than a couple of them: the
line-lingerers.  I hate to be
sexist or ageist, but these people are usually older and usually female.  Often they’re the ones who still pay by
check (check, really?) or insist they have the exact change, as if the cashier
would much rather wait for them to search through their unstylish handbag for
four flippin’ pennies than to make change from the neatly organized cash
drawer.  But what really leaves me
rolling my eyes like one of my prima-donna students is when they finally finish
paying, but remain blocking the line. 
Yes, we’d all like to leisurely organize our receipts, put our change
neatly back into our wallets, and button our coats after checking out, but we
don’t, or at least not while holding up the line behind us.  Shove everything into your pockets and
fix it in the car like the rest of the world. At least then you’re only
enraging the one dude waiting for your parking spot.  And what would Christmas in the Bay State be without at
least one Masshole beeping at you in a parking lot?

            Okay,
so perhaps we all need to chill out a little this time of year, whether it be
waiting in line or searching for a spot outside the store.  You don’t need to be the obnoxiously
bubbly person who strikes up a conversation with strangers in every line
(though, it’s fun, so I often do). 
But a little common courtesy and a little common sense go a long way to
making the season bright! 

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Twelve Pounds of Pudgy


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            Christmas
cookies stacked higher than the star on the tree.  Weekends packed with more wassailing than we’ve partaken in
since college.  Dinners with
family, lunches with coworkers, and cocktail parties a’ plenty.  It’s no wonder by the time New Year’s rolls
around we no longer need the pillow pack to stuff our cheap felt Santa suits.

            I
may not be great at follow-through, but having completed my first diet at age
ten and never having gone a year since without trying again, I know a thing or
two about eating healthy.  I could
write a book about it, if only I could Photoshop the author’s pic on the inside
flap.  But any real weight-loss
coach or personal trainer will tell you the same thing I’ve learned: dieting
doesn’t work.  Hard and fast rules
don’t work.  Eliminating foods
doesn’t work.  Eating healthy is a
“life-style change.”  In
theory, this ought to be good news. 
It means we don’t have to swear off pizza, red wine, and chocolate
ice-cream forever.  It also means
we don’t have to eat perfectly everyday. 
To be truly healthy we can enjoy our favorite treats in moderation and
not stress out over calorie counts at every special occasion.  So long as there are significantly more
good days than bad, we’re okay.

            January
through September theory and reality might overlap like the two ends of a
well-fitting belt. But as soon as the first bags of candy corn begin adorning
every store shelf, dieters (or “life-style changers”) everywhere
begin relegating the belts to the bottoms of our closet and curse the inevitable
return to Lycra-lush pants and chunky knit sweaters.  It’s not simply the sheer amount of “special
occasions” that occur between Halloween and New Year’s that pose a
problem–even those of us without a life the other months of the year begin to
have more events on our social calendars than there are muffin-top masking tops
in our closets.  There are also the
added life-style saboteurs.  First,
on the list: “Limited Time” labels.  I once had a Weight Watchers leader who in advising us on
how to deal with temptations said wisely, “There will always be another
chocolate cake; you don’t have to eat it all now.”  She was right, chocolate cakes are
plentiful all year long.  But what
about eggnog?  Pecan pie?  Pumpkin spice lattes?  Peppermint bark?  There are just too many goodies this
time of year that are seasonal.  If
I don’t eat that stuffin’ muffin now, I may never see one again, right?  And the likelihood that Starbucks will
discontinue the five-dollar holiday flavored lattes that leave them rolling in
more green than a Christmas tree farm is certainly high.  Okay, so I’m a sucker for marketing
ploys. 

            The
second saboteur is the most ironic because it’s the very thing we’re supposed
to love about the holiday season: added time with family, friends, and co-workers.  As if the stress of shopping for
presents, decorating the house, and hosting parties isn’t enough to send a
stress-eater diving into the tree-shaped Reeses, someone decided it would be a
grand idea to add the joy of dealing with crazy relatives and drunken
co-workers.  There’s a reason work
parties and family gatherings traditionally include platters of fattening
comfort foods and liberal libations: without them we’d be forced to soberly
face the fact that we don’t really like hanging out with some of these
people.  The holiday season offers
us a time to appreciate the people who make our lives richer, but it also often
tosses us into situations where we’re forced to exude goodwill and cheer to
those people we can and do avoid the rest of the year.  Unfortunately for my skinny jeans, my
goodwill is always increased with a little chocolate.  Besides, I find if my mouth is full, I’m less likely to put
my foot in it.

            So
what’s a weight-wrestler to do? 
Throwing the scale out the window is tempting.  Walking around with blinders on so as not to see the
seasonal goodies spilling out from every nook and cranny might be a better
plan.  Using the excuse that I’m
home battling a nasty case of the pudgies in order to get out of a few less
than desirable social occasions has crossed my mind.  (Though we all know people tend to talk about you if you’re
not there, so it’s better to attend and partake in the catty-chat than stay
home and be victim to it.)  That
leaves just one option that I can see: eat, drink, and be merry.  There’s always that New Year’s
resolution.

            As
for me, I’m off to finish my ten dozen Christmas cookies for the cookie
swap.  Cookies, gossip, and the
girls: three things so worth the added miles to tomorrow’s run!

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