With Christmas right around the corner and with my daughters close by on our ski trip, I am reminded of what makes the holidays special: Our families. Not food, not gifts, not even music, but family.
Many of us—living our hectic 9-to-5 lives, racing from the office to soccer practice and crashing into our couches for another sleepless night of television when the day is finally over—are lost in the frantic momentum of modern life. Deep down, we want to do the right things for ourselves and for our loved ones, but all too often we are influenced by advertising and by pop culture.
It is not hard to see how we might end up believing that the holidays are about gorging on food and getting mountains of gifts. In fact, this phenomenon is so powerful, that every year we hear from clients about how their friends or family members were offended that they were eating healthy during the holidays.
In any other context, an argument over not eating pumpkin pie would sound silly, but the holidays have become so intertwined with the idea of overeating that these spats have become completely normal, so normal in fact that we write holiday survival guides to help people cope with the challenges of making healthy choices during this season.
Holidays are for family, and we practice the Habits of Health so that we can enjoy as many of these moments with our loved ones as possible. That’s what drives me, and I know that the same feelings drive the coaches and clients I work with.
The change starts with you. If you have reorganized your life around what matters most to you, you can share that experience with those close to you. You don’t go to Christmas dinner for the food. You go to Christmas dinner to connect and reminisce and make memories. You got to Christmas dinner to be with the ones you love because no amount of food or gifts can fill you with a sense of purpose or contentment the way that they can.
Your actions can do much of the talking for you, but sometimes verbalizing it is equally powerful: “Gram, I appreciate that you made this for me, but I’m working on my health because I love you and want to share as many of these holidays with you as I possibly can. I’m here because I was to spend time with you.”
I’m going back out on the slopes to be with my daughters now, but I hope this brief message has helped you.
Merry Christmas, everyone.