Happy Holidays! – by Ali Vincent

With the holidays upon us, there are a lot of parties and celebrations in the next few weeks. Without being the “Scrooge” of Christmas and the holiday season, I thought it might be appropriate to take a little time-out; a time-out to get real and come up with some helpful ideas to get us through the holiday season happy, healthy, and ready for 2012!


For many years, I was caught up in the superficial parts of the holidays. I would find myself physically exhausted, weighed down with the stress of the world on my shoulders.  A few years ago, I decided to do things differently. Now, each year, I look to friends and family to get me through the holidays with lightness, energy, and most importantly, love.


This year I asked my 12 Friends of Christmas for tips. Here they are!


1- One friend vowed to volunteer an hour of service for every $10 she wanted to spend on holiday shopping.  She said, this was her way of making sure that she not only didn’t spend unconsciously, but also gave back at the same time.


2- Another friend decided she was going to make activity books for her friends and family as Christmas presents. Each book is specific to the person she is giving it to and full of activities she will do with them throughout the year. (Kind of like the coupon gifts I would make for my parents when I was a kid!)


3- One friend decided that for every treat she was offered this holiday season, she was going to do 20 sit-ups in place of eating the treat. She carries a little notebook with her at all times and logs the treats throughout the day and then does the sit-ups before she goes to bed. Now she is going to be able to wear a dress she hasn’t worn in years for News Year’s Eve.


4- One friend shared with me that instead of just making a resolution on January 1st, she decided that she would make resolutions every month. This is her way of staying in touch with herself and her goals throughout the year.


5- Another friend decided for 2012, she was going to do 12 different races this year. I love this idea!  Too bad she’s not in Arizona or she could do a 10k with me on January 7th.


6- One is only making her holiday specialties if she can figure out a way to cut the calories in half by substituting healthier ingredients like applesauce for butter and skim milk for whole milk.


7- Another is taking my advice and does squats every time she is in a line waiting to pay at the grocery store. Sometimes she says she gets a little embarrassed. However, a few times she has been able to enroll others in line to join her!


8- One is banking burns. Meaning she is burning extra calories throughout her week so that she can have the wine she wants when going to parties. She allows herself to indulge up to the amount of calories she has banked for the week.


9- I decided to work on my running and have been running 3 miles daily. Each day it gets done a little quicker! This, of course, is what I am doing to offset the extra calories I might encounter this holiday season (in addition to my workouts).


10- One friend decided that for the whole month of December she is going to pick an activity and do one rep for every day of the year. So, some days it’s 365 jumping jacks. Others it’s 365 tricep dips. You get the idea…. (she did say she doesn’t necessarily do it all at once just sometime throughout the day.)


11- Another decided that she will deliver her yearly 12 elves presents by bicycle. So for twelve days prior to Christmas she will be riding her bike to 12 different households as discreetly as possible, which I think is hilarious.


12- Last but not least is my twelfth friend who has my favorite tip to date. She is known for her secret cookie recipes that everybody waits for all year. So this year she decided that instead of putting herself in the depths of temptation, she is giving away her recipes. This way she gets supported in sticking with her goals and her loved ones still gets the cookies they love.


I thought these were fun and creative ideas.  I hope you give one or two of them a try this season.


Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones. Send me a holiday picture on twitter just tag @Nautica.


Until next year,

ali xo