Bet you didn’t know about THESE "traditional" holiday activities

“Free at last, free at last, thank the Lord I’m free at last!” Okay, so maybe work wasn’t quite that bad yesterday, but I am still pretty thrilled that I’m done and don’t have to work for TEN DAYS. Incredible. My plans for the period mostly involve working out and drinking, which, let’s be honest, are two of the best ways to spend a vacation.

Speaking of working out and drinking, let’s talk about the family gathering I attended last night. There have been so many articles with tips on how to avoid weight gain at holiday parties that it’s pretty much all been said before. Eat before you go, scan the whole buffet before you eat anything, take small bites and don’t go back for seconds, etc, etc. I really thought I would have nothing new to say on this matter… UNTIL! I discovered the family party trick that really will help you lose weight and stay in shape.

Turns out, my Aunt Kathy is a certified Zumba instructor. (I didn’t know this before going to said family gathering, I swear). When this fact came out, we plugged in the iPod, cranked up the speakers, and soon all the women were in the kitchen shaking it to “Spice Up Your Life.” (We go old-school in this family). Oh, yes, my family holiday party turned into a Zumba-thon where all the women were all stripping off our Christmas sweaters to get down to our tank tops and SWEAT. Before long, we were out of breath after following Aunt Kathy for nearly an hour doing routine after routine (and sometimes making them up as we went along). It went on for so long that my sister-in-law remarked to me that she had lost her buzz from the Christmas beers we had been drinking before the dance craze took over. (“Tragedy!”, I told her – “Go hydrate with another!”).

Sadly, we could not get the guys to participate, aside from taking embarrassing photos that are sure to show up on my Facebook wall in the near future. But they’re the ones who really missed out, because post-Zumba, we kept things segregated and pulled out the nail polish and trying out the latest in “crackle polish”. The guys spent the time watching some Chipmunks movie on TV and discussing football – I think we got the better part of that deal.

Today – I head back to NYC with my mom, and then we’re going over to my friend Susan’s tonight for “a Jewish Christmas.” Susan is an amazing chef – she won the people’s choice in the Cookie Takedown last week with her chocolate salted cara-mal-lard (duck fat caramel) cookies. And for her Jewish friends and Christmas orphans, she’s offered to show us how it’s done with a (homemade from scratch!) Chinese food feast and movies. I can’t wait! (I’ve also heard rumors that my friend Meg is bringing her “Who Wants to Be a Broadway Star” board game, to which I responded by offering to bring plenty of Christmas beer so that there are no inhibitions when we’re required to belt out “You Can’t Stop the Beat” when challenged to name the closing song from Hairspray, or similar challenges).

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!


  1. Now THAT is an awesome way to spend time with the family! (Healthy and WAY more fun than the stereotype of the family making passive-aggressive, dysfunctional jabs at one another.) ;)

    Thankfully my family hikes. So when we get together, everyone bundles up and goes out walking…

    Hmm…I wonder if I could get them into Zumba, too?

  2. Happy Holidays to you Laura!!

  3. Happy Holidays to you Laura!!

  4. I’ve decided my goal to avoid holiday weight gain is NOT to obsess about it! I guess I feel like a couple of pounds is worth it to enjoy parties without thinking about weight gain too much!

  5. GREAT point, Laura. As long as celebrations are limited to a few days a year and then we get back to our regular healthy eating/exercising, it’s not going to have a long term effect!

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