My favorite time of year by far is the holidays. Halloween to New Year’s is filled with giving, togetherness, family and friends and tradition. The seasons change, the snow flies (at least in Iowa) and there just seems to be something magical in the air. Everyone seems to partake in this phenomenon. I love it.
There is another holiday tradition that I love a little too much – the food! Everywhere I turn there’s candy and baked goods as far as the eye can see. Left over fun-sized chocolates from Halloween, cookies in the office break room and neighbors delivering pretty little packages of fudge and peanut brittle to my front step. It’s the best and the worst, all at the same time.
For Halloween, my wife buys a big Costco-sized bag of assorted, miniature candies and puts me in charge of rationing them out to the neighborhood kids while she schleps our three daughters from house to house. Those mini chocolates are just the right size to fool me into eating three dozen, or so, before realizing the damage I’ve done. I bet I eat as much candy as I hand out. And Halloween is just my warm up for what’s to come over the next eight weeks.
Thanksgiving brings unnecessarily large meals filled with artery-clogging starches, sugary sauces and a buffet of baked goods that I am unable to turn my nose up to. And if your family is anything like mine, you have multiple homes to visit, all providing their incredible wares for me to consume to excess. After the meal(s), there’s an afternoon filled with football on the TV. This translates into a good enough reason for me to sleep off my embarrassing display, wake up rested and ready for another round of leftovers and/or dessert.
By Christmas all discretion and discipline has been happily packed away weeks ago, not to be welcomed back until January 1st. Any and all self-control has been tossed out the window. Having said that, the Christmas food setting is very similar to my Thanksgiving experience in that there are multiple branches of family, multiple homes and multiple meals. All encouraging me to eat to an extreme that leaves me exhausted and filled with shame (and pie). To top it off, even some of the gifts I receive are food oriented. For example, one of my in-laws gets me a pound of these little decadent Chicago mint chocolate cubes every year. They typically don’t make it home. Combine this with all of the random goodies I stumble onto (break room fudge, home-delivered puppy chow and holiday themed “coffees” at Starbucks), I find myself in a fabulous food abyss that I have no intention of climbing out of any time soon.
And then there’s New Year’s. With the feeling of a fresh start just hours away, why not throw gasoline on the fire of recent month’s poor decision making by ratcheting it up a few notches with an “I’m turning over a new leaf tomorrow” blowout of hedonistic proportions. Those Busch Lights straight from the can not making into your bloodstream fast enough – take a pull or twelve from the beer bong. Those “special recipe” brownies have you scouring the makeshift card table buffet of little smokies, buffalo wings and spinach artichoke dip – have another go. Make out with a random stranger in the bathroom – why not? Pants – who needs ’em?! It’s New Year’s Eve and the last moments of a food and booze fueled holiday season and you’re not leaving anything out on that field! All of this good living will, of course, catch up with you eventually, but you’re instant gratification attitude has clouded your judgment and you’ve simply no time for logic or discipline. Self-negotiations have begun and you convince yourself that you’ll again begin behaving like an adult tomorrow. But in the meantime, crank up the Nickelback and bring on the Jello-O shots!
To sum it up; I simply love the holidays. I immerse myself in the spirit of the season and gladly “eat it up”. However you celebrate this time of year, I hope it’s as fulfilling (pun intended) as it is to me. Happy holidays from a fat man.