I love Christmas.
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.
Do you gain a couple of pounds around the holidays? Do you tend to overspend?
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