What Do YOU want for Christmas, and Holiday Habits

Well welcome to December 24th! For many folks reading this blog, Christmas Eve is an important date, for cultural or faith-based reasons. If that is you, I say Merry Christmas! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then I hope you have a good Saturday.

Photo of Christmas tree decorated with lights and glass balls
This year’s Christmas tree!

For me, I do celebrate Christmas. I love the way that the holiday season brings both excitement and sense of calm and peace. I love how at Christmastime I get some mental space and life slows down for me. I reflect on what I really care about, what I want and sometimes what my goals are for the future. That dovetails pretty well into the New Year for me.

This year, I don’t know what to expect out of my holiday break, because I’m headed into it with an energy deficit. I have a job has kept me much busier than I expected, and have had less time for exercise than I wanted. I know I am going to be enjoying some brisk urban hiking and can’t wait for that. I also hope I can get to a pool a few times.

Some of us who write regularly on the blog were discussing what we might ask for, if there was a Fit Is A Feminist Issue version of Santa Claus. I think I might like Santa to bring me some more confidence in myself as someone who exercises. So often my activities and exercise routine are limited by my own fear and insecurity.

Here is what some of our writers would ask for:
-A new job
-A knee replacement without a wait and with an instant recovery
-A week without having to make decisions
-An already-established workout habit, so you get right to the good part, without a lot of starting and stopping in the beginning.

I love these gift wishes. As I re-read them, I think about how I would also love a pre-established workout routine! Another blog writer shared that one of her favourite Christmas day activities is to go for an early morning run, when the streets are quiet and calm.

I would love to hear from you, readers. As we approach the new year, we are all inundated with guilt-inducing and body-shaming messages. This is NOT that.

In the spirit of this blog, I am thinking we could have a more positive conversation about exercise. Do you have holiday habits? How do you tend to exercise over the holidays? And of course, if you could have a mystical being bring you a life and health related gift, what would it be?


Cheers to November?

screenshot image of google search for holiday drinks

Welcome to November! This month I’m thinking about alcohol – it seems like between shorter, colder days in Canada, and the approach of the ‘holiday’ season, I often get inundated with articles like the ones in this list. Celebrating “the holidays,” it seems, is synonymous with drinking booze.

In truth, I have been thinking about alcohol for quite some time. Before COVID changed my life, I was a busy performer in a local band, playing bars and other establishments. I’m not usually a big drinker, so I felt pretty agnostic about it. I would have a drink or two at a gig, especially because we were often given a pitcher or two of beer on the house. I don’t have a problem with alcohol, so it didn’t bother me for the most part. The truth is the music industry in North America is closely tied to alcohol sales.

When COVID came, it must have been close to two years where I didn’t set foot in a bar, let alone play music in one. At some point, maybe six months into the pandemic, I started hearing about overconsumption in the news and in my social media feeds. I definitely was indulging in potato chips, but I was surprised that alcohol might be appealing to folks stuck at home. Then I started thinking about how much I was really enjoying not being around alcohol consumption as a main activity, and how truly uninterested I felt in having a drink.

screen shot of image of meme reading "Happiness is ... warming your hands with a hot cup of tea", with a line drawing of a person with braids, a hat and a scarf holding a cup of tea.

I don’t really know why that is. I actually love well paired wine with food, and a nicely mixed cocktail, but I can go two or three months without having a drink and not notice. One thing I do notice is that often I get a throbbing headache from drinking wine or beer (although not with food, or in most social situations!).

About 90% of the time, I just can’t be bothered to drink alcohol. It’s not a ‘treat’ for me and it’s not comforting. (That’s a cookie and a cup of hot tea with milk for me!) Occasionally I will enjoy a drink, but I really don’t like is a sense of obligation to drink – the implied or even overtly stated requirement to join in on the “party.” I also can’t stand the staggering, out-of-control energy that sometimes comes in the crowds.

Increasingly, I just avoid settings like that. I do love that there are growing non-alcoholic ‘fancy’ drink options and cultures, although I haven’t really explored those either.

I’m writing about this this month because, as the holiday drink season is upon us, I want to be a voice that encourages healthy and intentional consumption of alcohol. And as women, I want to call out the culture that pushes women to drinking and sees us as a “growth market” for alcohol sales. This is not a new position for this blog – Sam and others have written about it here: Women, Wine and Alcohol and No Alcohol for 40 Days.

I am likely to have a few glasses of wine over the Christmas season, and perhaps a whiskey sour. If that’s your thing, great! But I hope that all of us can make conscious and intentional choices on what we consume. I would love to be a part of a push-back against this boozy trend.