I’m excited for Christmas but fear that my extended family won’t let me enjoy it!
I watched a documentary on eating healthfully and started a plant-based diet four weeks ago. At 39, my digestion and energy are already improved!
My husband and children are very supportive.
But my Dad and uncles will definitely dismiss the diet as “nonsense.” My Mom and aunts will be upset at my avoiding their festive turkey and ham.
I’m bringing a large salad of greens, beans and peas, assorted cooked veggies, and hummus and guacamole dips.
I don’t want a confrontation to spoil the occasion. How should I handle this?
Not A Grinch
Smile a lot, and don’t react to the “nonsense” claim. Eat what you like and keep raising other topics.
If things get uncomfortable, just say, “Relying more on plant-based food is considered better for the planet, which is important for all of your grandchildrens’ future.” Smile.
Whether it’s about holiday foods or relationship issues, there are so many reasons that people write me at this time of year that I wanted to share some of the season’s positives and, hopefully, help with the negatives.
It’s the “wonder” of all that’s connected to this time of year that stirs excitement and happy memories in many people, young and old:
The early magic of snow (before it becomes slush), the generous spirit of buying the “right” gift for people you care about, the aroma of Christmas cookies baking, and the scent of a real Christmas tree.
Plus, the family all gathered together.
Okay, that last scenario also lands in the worrying part of both Christmas and New Year’s… based on expectations that are often unrealistic.
Unfortunately, it’s the family scene (see above) that has some people so sure of a doomed event when their relatives gather in one spot, that they feel anxious, even depressed about this holiday.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
IF you know for certain that the familiar annual gathering will include comments you can’t accept, e.g. expressing bigotry, homophobia, misogyny… or offensive behaviour for some other disturbing reason, do NOT attend.
Instead, feel the true seasonal spirit by helping out at a Christmas dinner for the homeless (check your local house of faith or the Salvation Army), or at a children’s hospital where some kids have families who can’t visit them.
Or, if you want to enjoy a sparkly-bright environment where laughter abounds, go skating on Christmas Eve and follow with having hot chocolate and Christmas Cake afterwards.
As for New Year’s Eve, stick with the big-night-out plan if you enjoy it and can afford it. Or, have close friends over to watch TV and toast in 2020, as it arrives around the globe’s time zones.
But, unless you’ve been discussing a future with someone you know well enough to respect as well as think you love, do NOT give or expect an engagement ring. Not unless you’re sure.
Me? I love Christmas for the familiar carols, and coloured lights strung along houses, making the streets feel welcoming.
Having been in my Junior High choir, I sang in many churches at this time of year and still know all the words in German to “Silent Night” and in Latin to “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”
New Year’s Resolutions also serve a seasonal purpose, inspiring many to privately examine what’s not working in their choices, routines, friendships, etc.
It’s another boost from the season that can benefit you: Reflect, and resolve.
Ellie - The letter-writer (above) didn’t wait for New Year’s Day to change something basic in her health regime.
However, the timing of a personal decision to change or try something new, starting January 1, is often both a strong impetus and a daily calendar reminder of how well you’re doing.
For those whose drinking, smoking or substance use has reached a worrisome level, surmounting an addiction takes one-day-at-a-time, no matter what the date.
Entering a process of rehabilitating is a profound commitment, I’ve seen it bring back hope into a life that had lost it.
To anyone who enters 2020 with the will to do better - whether in how you respect your own body, and that of others, how you deal with your parents/children/grandparents, or in being part of a larger community - I wish you inner strength, peace and joy.
Enjoy the season the best way that suits YOU!
Tip of the day:
To all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!