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Making the merry even merrier

We're done with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a distant, expensive memory, and Dec. 1 is (eek!) today. 

CandycanesIt's the holiday season and we're knee deep in it.

(cue the jingle bells...)

I'm part of BlogHer's Life Well Lived panel and BlogHer posed the question: What are some of your best tips for surviving the season of parties, celebrations and family get-togethers?

Right about now, people who know me are laughing themselves silly because they know that I am not a party animal. My idea of holiday fun is curling up on the sofa and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas with Santa's stash of cookies. But every now and then I can be coaxed out of my yoga pants and into a festive mood.

Be you; don't be "her": If you're a jeans and T-shirt kind of person, you're going to be miserable squeezed into a cocktail dress. Instead, get the most awesome, dressiest jeans you can find, pair them with some great shoes and finish it off with a knockout top. (I am NOT talking about a Christmas sweater.) That's how I roll.

Make your host gift unique: A bottle of wine is a perfectly fine host gift, but if you're into riesling and they're into cabernet it could get tricky. (I am into riesling, if you're stopping by). Instead, pick up something green like a rosemary topiary, which I've seen at natural foods stores and gourmet shops. They aren't expensive, they're fragrant and even if your host doesn't cook much, it's a nice little tabletop Christmas tree.

Have a game plan at the buffet table: This is a weight-loss blog after all, so I feel the need to add this tip. Eat something before you go. If you starve yourself all day because you're going to a party, you'll end up hoovering the cheese cubes, leaving a giant Jenga superstructure of toothpicks in the corner of the room. A container of Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, will keep your hunger dampened enough to sample the hors d'ouvres like a sensible human being. Friends will gather round and swoon, "Oooh, I wish I had your willpower!"

Do good: Millions of Americans are literally starving, and no one should go hungry, especially this time of year. When doing your holiday grocery shopping, take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free deals and give your extra to a food pantry. Many food pantries are in desperate need of high-protein foods like tuna and peanut butter so make sure those are on your list. Take advantage of holiday toy sales and buy items to donate to Toys For Tots or bring to a homeless shelter. If you live in a cold climate, drop off spare blankets, coats, hats and mittens as well.

Don't let your family drive you nuts: If your mom insists on making pot roast when you're a vegetarian, offer to bring your favorite veggie dish. Hang out with your cousins like when you were little kids and make fun light of your relatives -- it's an awesome holiday party game. If things get too ridiculous, grab your sister, say you're "going out for ice," and disappear for a hour. You'll feel much better when you get back.

Just don't forget the ice.


How do you handle the holiday hustle-bustle? Share your answer in the comment section of the Life Well Lived blog post. While you're there, enter the $250 sweepstakes -- winning would make your holiday extra sweet.