Today is one of my favorite holidays – Sinterklaas Day (or, as I remember it, the day that St. Nick leaves presents in your shoes because it’s his birthday… wait, what?).
I lucked out by being Dutch and living in the U.S. and therefore getting two Christmases. I also scored big being named Mariska because it begins with an “M,” and another holiday tradition is to get a chocolate letter of your first initial. You know what the biggest letters are? M and W. Those people named Irena and Ian were screwed. (Of note, the chocolate makers say that the letters have the same amount of chocolate in them nowadays, but I’m not convinced. “M” is still winning.)
I love the holidays.
As the holiday season continues, you’re probably reading a lot of survival tips in major magazines and newspapers. They’ll tell you tips for low-fat, low-sugar, low-taste varieties of your favorite holiday goodies. They will give you suggestions to stay within a budget (which includes making your own gifts, which, unless you have actual talent, means your gifts will go to the top shelf of the recipient’s closet). They will give handy guidelines for managing stress by shopping early (they meant July…)
But, at Fuse, our suggestions are a little edgier than that. And a lot more realistic. So, here are some tips to get you through the holidays Fuse Pilates-style.
- Aim for a Spot at the Kids’ Table. Instead of fighting it, embrace it when your family still puts you at the kids’ table. It’s where all the fun happens. While the grown-ups are busy talking about Aunt Susan’s bursitis and the latest GOP debate, the kids are making mashed potato sculptures.
- Buy Your Own Presents. Your mom is great. She gave you life. And she’s also bought you the same kitten calendar and red cardigan sweater for the past twenty-some years. So, this year, while you’re out shopping for family and friends, buy a little something for yourself.
- Shop Online. You can buy anything online these days. That means you don’t have to go out and fight crowds and see people wearing jingle bell earrings or walking their toddlers on a leash. For the past five years, I have managed to complete all of my holiday shopping without stepping foot in a store. I consider that a personal victory.
- Re-Gift. Oh, come on. Admit it. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. Your friend gave you something quite nice last year, but it’s not really your thing. You have a work Secret Santa exchange happening, and you don’t even really know the person. That is what re-gifting is all about. Do make sure to mark any gifts that you plan to give away next year so you don’t accidentally give the gift back to the person who gave it to you. Awkward!
- Work Your Core. If you are going to fight the crowds at the local mall or streets of Georgetown, you need a strong core. Weaving your way in and out of crowds requires a certain amount of balance and muscle control, especially if you’re angling for the last iPad2.
- Don’t Wear Lace-Up Shoes. If you’re traveling by plane, wear slip-on shoes. No belt. Thank you in advance. Also, accept the invasive full body scan in lieu of the pat down. You look great after all this Fuse Pilates, and trust me, I opted for the pat down once, and it takes way too long. It wasn’t even a decent massage.
- It’s Winter. Fatten up. There’s a good reason all of the big eating holidays happen in the winter. Your body wants to gain a pound or two – it’s nature trying to insulate you so you won’t freeze to death. It’s ok. Eat the cookie. We’ll help you work it off later.
- Don’t Stress Over Dessert. I’m not on a regular diet, but at different times, I’ve been on a medical one. And, I realized one really important thing: it’s more unhealthy to feel ostracized from a group than it is to eat the goodie the host baked with love. I firmly believe homemade is low-cal, regardless of how many sticks of butter were used to make it. And stress is the most fattening thing of all (all of the excuses you’re coming up with not to eat the pie are boosting your cortisol levels and begging your belly to hold onto fat).
- De-Stress with Fuse. If stress is still getting the best of you, get yourself to a Fuse Pilates class. Exercise is a proven stress reliever, plus with our combo of hardcore workouts mixed to fun music taught by fun and funny instructors, you’ll be sure to escape the holiday blues, preferably several times per week.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill. Depending on your family, this is the most important holiday tip of them all. Sure, they’re annoying. But, you’re probably annoying to them, too. You did, after all, eat the last piece of pie Dad was planning to have for breakfast.
Hopefully, those tips will help you have a great, stress-free, happy holiday season.
Stay hard core,