Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

I’ll Be Home For Christmas..

Christmas holds so many beautiful memories for me – decorating the house and tree, all of the Christmas mornings with my kids, and my Christmas memories growing up.

When I was younger, I remember all the warm memories and the excitement we had for the holidays.  Some of my fondest memories are of helping my mother bake at Christmas.  She would crank the radio, or put on The Carpenters, her favourite Christmas record, and then pour herself a little vodka and orange, and start singing and dancing in the kitchen while we baked.  It’s funny, because my mother was not a drinker.  Sure, she used to enjoy a drink with my aunt and uncle when they were playing cards, but this is the only time my mother ever had a drink outside of that. It also somehow made her baking extraordinary. I also remember the game my brother and I would play.  Every time we would drive somewhere with my parents,  we would count all of the houses with Christmas lights while we were in the back seat of the car, and we would make it a game to see which side of the streets had more lights.  Each time we went out in the car, we would race to sit on the side we knew would have the winning number!

When I was 25, I married a man who was a Manager of a large Department store here in Canada.  Even being exposed to all of that commericialism never put a damper on my spirit.  I know it did for my ex husband, but not for me.  I would have my tree up and the house decorated by the end of November EVERY year. The kids and I would make Christmas crafts and ornaments, write Santa letters and I would do loads of baking so the kids could leave him a treat on Christmas Eve.  We also never lacked for visiting and visitors. When I was decorating and baking, in honour of my mom who passed away before I got married, I would pour myself a vodka and orange juice and put on the Carpenters CD.

Christmas was never, ever about the presents, it was always about the atmosphere and the love.  When my kids and I reminisce about Christmas’ past, it’s never about what gift they got, but it’s always about what activity we did, who we visited, who visited us, and the fun we had.

If I think about it, I would have to say that when this all started to change for me, was in 2006.  It was the first Christmas after my father passed away.  That was also the year that my second love relationship ended very badly, and the year that my brother stopped talking to me (mainly because of my fathers death).  Just typing this can still make the tears come.  I really tried to make Christmas great that year, my kids were 13 and 17, and even though they didn’t believe in Santa, they believed in the spirit of Santa; but it was just different somehow.

The past few years, it has been harder and harder to get into the spirit of the holiday.  Christmas is a time for families, and it should go without saying that I LOVE spending the holidays with my kids, but knowing that I don’t have any extended family for us to celebrate with, can be sad.  My home was always filled with people coming and going, eating, celebrating and lots of laughter. My house is just too quiet now.  I think that I tried to bring some of that feeling into my house by having an Open House for friends and neighbours. While it was lovely having a reason to make loads of food, and it was great having everyone there and seeing that they were having a good time, it just didn’t feel the same.  I know, poor me, huh?  Loads of people don’t have anything at this at this time of year, and I understand that.  Each Christmas no matter how meager our funds have been, we have always tried to do something for families in need.

I have tried over the course of 4 years to try to rebuild my relationship with my brother. He’s my only sibling, and apart from my kids, the only family I have left. I still don’t know exactly what it was that caused the split, perhaps it was just years of things building up, and my fathers death was the thing that set him off. My brother screens his phone calls, so I’ve only ever been able to leave him voice messages when I’ve tried to reach out to him.  I have invited him to all of the kids milestones – my daughter’s (his goddaughter) high school graduation, birthdays, etc.  I’ve left him phone messages on his birthday, and have left him messages inviting him to spend Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas with us.  This summer, my daughter worked in the city he lives in, and actually lived with her aunt and cousin.  Near the end of the summer, my brother sent me a facebook message saying how he had enjoyed having my daughter there, and that he wanted to put the past behind us, and move forward, because family was important.  I saw this as a great sign and was very happy.  However, my brother didn’t follow through with getting together after we made plans to do so, choosing instead to re-live the past, and refusing to get together.  His ex-wife, said that he just needed time, and that I should still keep trying.  I give lots of credit to Norma, because she knows how important it is for her daughter and my kids to still see each other, and it’s because of her that we still have that connection with my niece.

This past weekend saw me finally start to try to get into the holiday spirit, and part of that was reaching out to my brother and inviting him to spend Christmas with us.

It appears though, that my brother has decided that the past 4 years of no contact with me has been less stressful for him, and that he has no desire to spend Christmas with us. Was I surpised that he wasn’t coming?  No, but I can’t say that it lessened the hurt at all.

I’m sitting here typing this, and the tears are streaming down my face, wishing it could be different for my brother and I, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to let him ruin this holiday for me or my children.  Even though it’s not going to be like the Christmas’s we’ve had in the past, it doesn’t mean it can’t still be a great one.

Maybe it’s time to make new traditions for us to remember, instead of lamenting that we can’t do the old traditions.

So, I beg your forgiveness for such a long post, but I needed to get this out, so I can let it go.

Now, I’m going to get the Christmas boxes from the basement, and start decorating.  I have loads to look forward to.  My son’s 17th birthday is on the 9th, and my daughter flies home from university on the 14th.  We will be decorating the tree when she gets home and I plan on doing some Christmas baking with her and my son.  I’ll be putting on the Carpenters Christmas album, and perhaps I’ll pour myself a glass of vodka and orange as well.

This song is for you mom and dad. We miss you, but I know that wherever you are, you’ll be celebrating with us.

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December 7, 2010 at 9:58 am 3 comments

Using All Of Your Senses For Weightloss

I recently had a conversation with a friend about shopping and I told her how I was changing my thoughts about that temptation and was now finding that I wasn’t spending as much as I used to. I had been going into stores, and buying things that I didn’t really need. In fact, when I was decluttering the house 2 months ago, I found 2 or 3 bags of things I had bought for Christmas decorations LAST YEAR, that I had brought home, and then put aside where I promptly forgot about them.  And trust me, these weren’t the only purchases I found still in their wrapping and shopping bags.  Sad.

I  started to think about what the pleasure was for me when I was shopping. Was the pleasure the end result of bringing that thing home? Not always, because most of the time I realized I could have done without it, and then felt guilty about spending the money. I can’t begin to tell you how many candles, candle holders, potpourri holders, bath oils, lotions and other tchotchkes I’ve picked up thinking that I need them, only to find find out I have (lots of) something similar at home.  I’ve bought things simply because I was offered something free (often something else I didn’t need) with the purchase. I’ve also done this with clothing – picking something out, buying it, bringing it home and then realizing that I have 3 (or more!) other perfectly good (brand new) white shirts, or black slacks, etc., etc., (don’t get me started about shoes!) and that in the end I really didn’t need more, or that I didn’t like it as much at home as I did in the store. You know, I recently went through my nail polish collection, and found that I have 10 bottles of red OPI nail polish! They all have different names – OPI is famous for their fun naming of polish, but they are essentially the same red nail polish. Even if I had a manicure and pedicure twice a week, it would take me years before I would go through all of that polish.

I realized that there were two things in my life that I was using as substitutes to try make myself feel happy (which in the end, didn’t really work). Shopping and food.

What I’ve found, is that what I enjoy about shopping is not always the purchase, but the wander around the shop, picking up things that I think are beautiful and then imagining where they would go in my home or in my wardrobe. I’ve now started to change the outcome of these trips.  I’ll still look at things, imagine them and enjoy them, marvel at the great bargain they are, and then put them in my cart and continue shopping – all the while completely enjoying the experience.  The difference now is that when I’m ready to go and line up, I take a look again at everything again, and what I find most times is that they weren’t such a bargain or that I don’t really need or even want 99% of the things I’ve put in my cart.  I’ve managed to control my mindless shopping and my bank balance is better for it.

I’m sure you’ve heard that to save money on groceries and not buy things you don’t want, that you should make a list and not go shopping on an empty stomach. I put that principle in place last night before I went out to my holiday party.

I ate my dinner according to my meal plan, drank lots of water, and then went out with a plan in place for the evening.

I treated the buffet and appetizer table as I do the beautiful home decor stores I shop browse in.  I took some time and viewed the offerings, deciding which things I had to have, the things I could live without, the things I could eat without feeling guilty, and the things that I wanted just a taste of.  This is a completely different mindset than when I’ve approached food before.  As I have been guilty of mindless shopping, I’ve been guilty of mindless eating. The old me would have taken everything on the table, and lots of it.  Not so last night.  Last night I enjoyed all the senses I was experiencing – how good all the baked goods looked, the smell of the items (seasoned fries and wings were there),  and yes the memory of what these foods taste like (you know how your mouth waters just thinking about certain foods?)  I enjoyed the smell, the visual, the texture, and the anticipation of what these foods taste like.  And for the first time in a long time, that was a large part of the enjoyment of the food, not the actual consuming of it.  And because of how I approached the table, I resisted many things I would have put on my plate and just mindlessly ate.

A great weight (not sure if there was a pun intended) has been lifted off of me since coming to the realization that I have been a mindless shopper and eater. Just as I bought things just for the sake of having them, I ate things for the same reason. I’ve just sat and gulped down and often gorged myself with my food.  When I’ve sat down to eat a nice meal, I’ve always thought the smell was wonderful, but during the meal I don’t think I sat and appreciated all the other senses of eating.

When I think back on great meals, I’ve often forgotten the reason we gathered together.  When someone would say – do you remember so and so’s wedding, lately the first thing that would come to mind is the great chicken they served, or the dessert table.  But when I think about it, I realize that the reason I enjoyed the event was because of the company of the people I was with, and that the food was just one part of that enjoyment, not the sole cause.

Will I be perfect in resisting these two temptations?  Not always, but by realizing that I have more power over the outcome than I thought I had, I can be much better than I have been in the past. I’m starting starting to control my mindless eating, and my body will be better because of it.

I’m going to stop being like Pavlov’s dogs. Now that’s using the senses I was given!

Thanks to Racheal@thegracefulskinny for a really great suggestion last night before I went out.  She suggested wearing Spanx to keep the expansion room down!  LOL Thanks Rachael!

Here’s a few more ideas to help over the holidays!  (I think they’ll work all year round too)  I like the peppermint idea.

Here’s todays reward for last week’s efforts – 1.8 pounds down for a total of 10 pounds lost since November 1st.





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December 4, 2010 at 11:26 am 3 comments

‘Tis The Season (Or Let the Challenges Begin)

Yes.  It’s here.  The first of my Holiday Parties.  1 of 4 parties actually, over the next 3 weeks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t enjoy going.  I do.  I enjoy socializing with friends and celebrating the season.  But one of the best reasons for going to holiday parties has now become my biggest challenge.  All of that food that you don’t see any other time, than at holiday parties.  You know what I’m talking about.  All of those beautiful shortbreads, rum balls, sugar cookies, not to mention all of the dips and bread, canapes, appetizers, etc., etc.  And did I mention all of those wonderful holiday drinks? Rum and eggnog (just take a spreader and put that fat right on my belly and thighs)  *pauses to wipe drool from bottom lip*  I would often arrive early just to stake my place close to the buffet table to get the best pick of everything (and seconds). Yes, I’ll admit it.  That’s where you’d find me.

So, this year, I need to come up with a different strategy (apart from not going)  🙂

  1. I’m going to eat my meal plan for the day, but save some calories for the party;
  2. Get a walk or workout in during the day to give myself extra calorie room;
  3. I’m not going to eat EVERYTHING that is offered.   Or ALL of everything I take.  Sometimes just having that one little taste can be sufficient;
  4. Drink water, and lots of it; (so instead of staking out the buffet table, I’ll need to get the 411 on the bathrooms!)
  5. And lastly, I’m going to enjoy myself and not beat myself up if I have more than I intended to.  I’m not going to be doing this type of eating ALL of the time.

What is truly exciting about tonight, is that I am close to 15 lbs lighter than I was last Christmas, and that means I have an outfit to wear that I couldn’t wear last year!  Now THAT’S something to celebrate!

Tonight, instead of rockin around the buffet table, I’ll be rockin it round the tree instead!

This is one of my favourite Christmas songs, one that gets me ready for the season.


Friend Finding Fridays

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December 3, 2010 at 10:06 am 5 comments

Goals for 2011

* Participate in the 100 days of intentional movement
* Walk 2011 miles in 2011
* Continue my healthy eating and exercise program
* Lower my body weight by 10% by February 1st, 2011
* Lose the next 10% of body weight (17 lbs) by April 1, 2011
* Read at least one book per month that provides spiritual sustenance or enlightenment.

Scale Goals for 2011
02/01/11 - 174
04/01/11 - 156.6
06/01/11 - 141

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