This time of year is hectic. Not only can it be a struggle to find time to do fun things, it can be difficult to find healthy things to do. We’re surrounded by cookies, candy and sugary beverages, all promising to fill our hearts with cheer. But during the holiday season, I like to focus on the array of things to do that won’t put me in need of an intense detox at the beginning of the year.
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After Thanksgiving dinner, the radio is flipped on to a station playing continuous Christmas music, and it stays there throughout the season.
Music is a powerful thing. Even if you are cleaning or working, music will keep your spirit bright. It makes your home so festive. A little Jingle Bell Rock brings back exciting Christmas memories for me. Grab an Andy Williams CD or crank up some “Delilah”.
With all of the health aware recipe blogs and websites out there, it’s easy to find recipes for tasty treats made with real, healthy ingredients. Gluten-intolerant, diabetic or vegetarian? No problem! Diabetic Foodie and Eating Well have loads of delicious alternatives.
I enjoy making spiced nuts with organic sugar, spices, egg whites and vanilla. Chestnuts are also really fun to roast, but poke holes in them before roasting or they will explode! Cheese straws are easy to make with organic wheat flour and cheese. And if you are just craving a little sugar, make some dark chocolate oatmeal cookies with organic flour, oats, butter, sugar and chocolate chips. It will start to taste a lot like Christmas, and smell like it too, with goodies in the oven.
Candles add a calming ambiance to any home. When I light candles, I feel instant stress relief and it makes the room feel warm and welcoming. A pine scent will make guests think you just brought in a fresh cut tree! Make sure your candles are free of artificial fragrance, paraffin and lead because those ingredients will turn your moment of relaxation into a health hazard.
If you don’t like the idea of an open flame, fill a pot with orange peels, rosemary, spices and a little water to simmer on the stove. Not only will it fill the air will natural scents, but it’s very cost effective.
Nothing says cozy like a roaring fire. I haven’t always had a fireplace, so I would use the Yule Log DVD. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a disk that displays a lifelike fireplace on your TV, along with realistic crackling noises. As a bonus, you can opt to have Christmas carols play. It may not be warm, but it is certainly festive!
When I was young, my parents would load us in the car and we would head out to see the festive decorations around our hometown. Add this tradition to your family’s holiday festivities, or look for holiday light tours that are run by local parks or the city.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a big bash. A few friends, some delicious food and fun games are all you need. This year, my brother is hosting an ugly sweater party, and there will no more than 10 people attending. Everyone is bringing a snack so he won’t have to spend a fortune on food.
The party will require a small investment from everyone, but nothing puts people in the holiday spirit like a party with all the people you love being around!
My husband and I love to head to downtown to get the “bustling” feeling of December. One shopping location in particular has beautiful lights, stores reminiscent of the old days, a candy shop that emits delicious smells and Christmas music flowing down the streets. This Atlanta location also has ice skating and falling “snow” in the courtyard at 7pm.
We head to a farm that is environmentally responsible, growing and replacing their trees. A lot of tree farms are decorated and serve warm cider for this fun, family tradition. Whether you get a big tree or a tabletop, it’s a great experience for adults and children.
You don’t have to cram cookies down your throat or take out a loan to enjoy the holidays. The simplest things are often the most special. Just relax, be healthy and have a very happy holiday season!
Karyn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.