I love this time of year. I love the cold, crisp mornings and how the pavement twinkles with the promise of magic when darkness falls (at about 4pm!) I love all the rituals and traditions that accompany this time of year. Some are particular to my family or my friends, and some are universal. For example. In my family, we never acknowledge All Hallows’ Eve. My sister was born on October 31st and would always have a full on hissy fit if ever the word were uttered in her presence. My dad was also a teacher and thus to open the door to his own pupils in the comfort of his own home would have been asking for trouble. So on Halloween we do something different…this year we went to Manchester where my sister lives to eat at an amazing tapas restaurant www.evuna.com.
Bonfire night is another grand tradition. Wellies, scarves and hats and a brisk walk to the local park for hot potatoes roasted in foil from the bonfire and a firework display to remember the ‘Gunpowder, treason and plot’. As we’ve got older and therefore of legal drinking age, it’s also meant a swift half in the pub on the way home.
I always spend New Year’s Eve with my friends, I am usually the planner and find us a glamorous location for dinner so we can get glammed up and ring in the New Year with style and a sumptuous meal. And then there’s the Secret Santy Balti. This involves a group of friends, curry and a secret santa gift so we don’t have to buy for all 20 of us! We gather at our local and much loved curry house and eat like gluttons and sing Christmas songs!
Other traditions are smaller but nonetheless equally as important. The fact that my mum stops making her traditional Sunday roast in October so we ‘enjoy’ our Christmas dinner more, having Canadian Thanksgiving with the Millars, having our parents around for dinner to discuss who’s going where/doing what/buying what for whom at Christmas. Cheery reunions with friends and loved ones from far and wide as they return for the festive season. And then there is Christmas itself……2 long (blissful) weeks of eating, drinking and being merry.
What’s the common theme here?
FOOD! Or, consumption!
I am a creature of habit. You know by now that I fully meet the clinical criteria for having OCD tendencies and habits that become obsessions. I am very much an ‘all or nothing’ kinda gal. Last Christmas was ‘all AND nothing’, as in I ate and drank everything in sight AND did nothing in the way of exercise.
Because of my ‘habits’ and rituals, I can get easily stressed if things do not happen as I feel they should (Autistic Spectrum Disorder, anyone??!!) and yet pretty much all of my much-beloved Autumnal and Festive Season traditions centre around food and/or alcohol!
The past month or so I have really hit my stride (pun intended) with my workout schedule and eating regime…..(whole other post on habits and rituals coming up hahaha!) and whilst I can feel my blood pressure rising at the mere thought of interrupting said routine, I need to be realistic . The pace of life will change – hectic in the sense of a million different people to see but relaxed in that I am off work for 2 weeks. And I need to embrace that albeit temporary change. I need a rest! I can’t keep going at this pace of work-uni-exercise-eat right-try-and-fit-husband-and-family-and-friends-in-somewhere-craziness! But when I relax, I don’t want to (as I have in past years) interpret that as permission to slack off and thus undo all the bloody hard work I’ve done this past year.
Guys, I’m stressin’! I need a plan!!!
One good thing though is that this year I don’t belong to the public gym – which shut down last year over the holidays!! This year my gym is open throughout as it’s based in a hotel and leisure club so THANK GOD I’ll be able to stave off some of the food and drink damage in between social events – plus I am off work so I’ll be able to make good use of my time.
But more than that, I want my attitude to Christmas to be different this year or at least to Christmas eating! I adore Christmas and every single thing about it. When I was little my parents used to have to get medication for me from the doctor to give me leading up to Christmas because I used to throw up and be an insomniac from excitement – true story! It’s not the presents or material things either, it’s that honest-to-goodness-peace-on-earth-and-goodwill-toward-men vibe that I adore. That vibe that, for me, is perfectly encapsulated by a combination of the Grinch movie and ‘A Christmas Story’ (Ralphie and the BB Gun). I LOVE IT!
However, I usually get so excited that my good intention go out the window. But not this year. This year will be different. I will eat, drink and be my usual, merry, Christmassy self – but this year I have learnt the value of food as fuel. I am infinitely happier in my own skin and thus have no need or desire to use food as comfort for feeling shitty about myself.
This year will be different.
So what about you my friends?? What’s your Christmas contingency plan! We’re only 43 sleeps away – you’d best get crackin’!!!! Care to share any top tips for survival?!
Lots of love