"When the holiday season of consumption that began on 'black Friday' (the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving that is supposed to help merchants end the year in the 'black') draws to a close, our consumption doesn't stop, it just changes focus. During the holiday season we are encouraged to consume, especially foods to feel loved. In January we are encouraged to purchase diet foods and exercise equipment; ironically, to assuage our previous over-indulgence." ~~ Mary Beth Lind in Simply in Season
A bunch of sheep. Sometimes we Americans act like a bunch of sheep following momentary impulses. And the media is an impulse that undeniably prompts.
I think of the ads at Christmas for delicious foods. Mouth-watering ads showing gorgeous, perfectly dressed, unbelievably joyful people delighting in spectacularly roasted turkeys, glistening sauces, steaming potatoes and stuffings, vibrant vegetables, and breads slathered in butters and jams. Desserts shot up-close so that each pecan is magnified in the pie, the icing on the cookies lures, and the hot chocolate melts the plop of whipping cream before my eyes. All of this is put forth as innocent holiday requirements. Afterall the more extravagant the wintery delights you serve, the more you love your family and friends. Right?
So bake and cook and eat we do with permission from Mother Media. "Go for it!" she cackles. "Indulge, my children, eat with abandon! It's guilt-free - everyone is doing it!"
But, sheep that we are, we aren't prepared for the onslaught of palm-rubbing, gleeful GUILT about to be served up after the last feast on New Year's Day. Holiday pounds! Oh, the shame. Better lose them quick with this diet method or that, this gym or that. And you certainly can't do it without that convoluted piece of exercise equipment peddled by an aging t.v. star or swimsuit model you sort of remember.
It's a trap, I tell you!
Besides the obvious blindfolding and unplugging of oneself from the inevitable media blitz - is that entirely possible? - there is a better way, a thoughtful path through favorite, festive, holiday food. Bake and cook and eat to your heart's content and don't look back. Enjoy the goodness of the earth as you celebrate whichever holiday you observe. Take a few extra strolls around the neighborhood. Chop a little more wood. Play vigorously with the kids, especially when you don't really feel like it. Keep a handle on the pressure in your stomach. Engage your mind to keep from gluttony that will burp up regret later in the evening. You can have your cake and eat it, too, because if you don't eat the whole thing in one day there'll be more for the next.
All I'm suggesting is that rather than have our holiday merriment sour into new year depression, it's possible to truly relish the coming holidays not as sheep but as wise men and women who enjoy the people, the weather, the sights and sounds, and the sumptuous cuisine while maintaining just enough self-discipline that, in the end, we may laugh in the faces of the new year taunts about holiday weight gain, bloat, and disappointment.
Let the festivities begin!
(How obvious is it that is a post from me, to me? ; )