I love the festivities, I love spending time with family, and I love the food. To me, spending an evening with family and friends around a table laden with dips and appetizers while sipping on rum and apple cider ranks in the top five of my favourite activities.
Unfortunately, the kind of merriment comes at a price, and it’s usually around the area of your waistline and your wallet.
New gym memberships spike (there are plenty of ways to save money and be healthy) and consumer spending slows in January for a reason. Luckily, this phenomenon doesn’t have to affect you like it affects everyone else. Here are a few simple suggestions to help you get through Christmas (relatively) unscathed.
Eat (and Drink) at Home Before Parties
Heading out to a party with a stomach full of healthy food will lessen the temptation of fat laden dips and other appetizers. Feel free to sample them, but don’t make them your meal. Instead, cook something at home first that’s healthy and preferably contains a large serving of vegetables, grains, and lean meats. Likewise, if you’re meeting friends at a bar, having a few cheaper drinks at home beforehand is a great way to reduce costs. Just make sure you aren’t the driver.
Bring Your Own Food
If the event you’re attending is pot luck, make a nice healthy dish to bring with you, then proceed to fill up on your own contribution. Resist the temptation to “get your money’s worth” of all of the other food.
Christmas is For Exercising
I love pigging out at Christmas. I like eating chocolate first thing in the morning around Christmas, I like having lavish dinners, and I don’t like having to worry about calorie counts. So, instead of just resigning myself to the weigh gain that follows such indulgence, I make sure to increase my exercise accordingly.
A few extra long runs will go a long way to combatting climbing numbers on the scale. The winter holidays are also a great time to grab some goalie equipment and gear so you can play some hockey. Christmas might be a busy time, but squeezing in these workouts will help relieve stress and give you some peace and quiet to yourself.
Gently Suggest Alternatives
Got a bunch of friends or coworkers who want to go out to a restaurant and you’d really rather not drop $150 on one night? I like to gently suggest alternatives to these situations, like a dinner party or pot luck instead. The atmosphere is often just as good and house parties are so much cheaper. Personally I don’t mind dealing with a few extra dishes at my place if it means I can save a few bucks.
Pick Your Battles
No one is perfect. Trying to toe the line of diet and frugality over Christmas can often end in disaster. Instead, give yourself a little leeway some nights and be more strict other nights. This will result in a lot more success and a lot less guilt.
Christmas is a great time of the year but can often be filled with anxiety over money and weight gain. This is totally unnecessary and with a little bit of planning, there’s no reason for Christmas to interfere with your finance or health related goals.
These are great tips. My gym membership is ignored, such a waste I need to actually go.
It's definitely not worth it if you don't go!
I do not gain weight. Our bills are generally higher this time of year but part of that is some annual insurance bills coming due. This year we've gotten some emergency expenses as well, like new tires for the car.
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Lucky that you don't gain weight! Hopefully you had enough in your emergency fund to cover those tires.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Great tips. I generally gain a pound or two, but really try to limit it as you do not want to be excessive. I think many like to go all out and not do it within reason. There's no problem with having fun, just be reasonable about it.
I completely agree, everything in moderation.
I always gain weight around the holidays… I really need to start eating healthier!
No time like the present to start!
DC@Young Adult Money says
I don't overspend or gain weight, I just end up spending money and not being in as good of shape as I usually am. The real culprit is that I had this whole week off and I usually work out at work! I will try to get back into it once Christmas is over.
My recent post Enjoy the Holidays without Breaking the Bank
I have a treadmill at work, so I bet I'll be working out less now that I'm off, so I sympathize!
These are all good tips! I am seriously trying not to put on pounds over the holidays. That is main goal- to stay away from the Christmas cookies!
Or maybe just have one. 🙂
Anne - Unique Gifter says
Is it weird that I'm actually looking forward to going on walks with the family? I see a few in the future and it should help counteract the food aspect!
No way! I love going for walks too, especially with my fiance and the pup, it's such good family time as we're not on cell phones or in front of the TV.
I am all about exercising over the holidays. This way I can eat what ever I want and I do not gain any weight 🙂
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That's a very good way to do things, you can enjoy food all you want without the guilt!
I don't overspend, but I definitely eat my fair share of cookies!!
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Well it sounds like you're one for two so that's not too bad!
I'm pretty good at keeping a lid on both but I probably do eat a little more indulgently and spend more this time of year. I'm in the shopping spirit and I end up buying myself a bunch of christmas presents in a addition to whomever I'm supposed to be shopping for. And then there is the chocolate and cookies at work and all the parties.
My recent post I'm Free!
Hopefully you didn't do much damage in either category this year. Happy Holidays!
Joanna @ OFB says
I agree about giving leeway some days and being strict other days. I happen to love those fat-laden dips, and my belly would be very sad if I didn't indulge! And, yes, every winter I tend to gain about 5 pounds, but it's always gone by summer. This time around since I'm prego, I don't know if it will all be gone by summer, but I'm gonna shoot for it, haha 🙂
I love dip too, it's my weakness so I understand how you feel. If you've got a system for taking off the weight you gain, then I say go for it. It's when those few pounds stack up every year, that's when there's a problem. Congrats on your pregnancy!
I don't tend to gain weight during the holidays and I try to work out more also. I'll eat whatever I want during the holiday season but in smaller quantities.
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That sounds like a good, balanced strategy.
I like that chocolate for breakfast deal… but I understand. I think it's smart to pace oneself and to get out and get some exercise in even if it is long walks around the block. Anything is better than sitting on the couch all day long. Happy Holidays. Mr.CBB
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Definitely. Walking is also a great way to get away from the rush and crush of Christmas for awhile.
I love going for walks too, especially with my fiance and the pup. it’s such good family time as we’re not on cell phones or in front of the tv. I think it’s smart to pace oneself and to get out and get some exercise in even if it is long walking around the block. I see a few in the future and it should help counteract the food aspect.