It’s that time of the year again where I will be sweating for half an hour to wash chocolate stains out of my clothes, I wake up with Christmas songs jamming through my alarm and I will gain a little weight from eating a little too much good food (Am I right Italians out there 😉 ). It’s the holiday season, and I am pumped for it. Christmas: a holiday that before moving to Sweden my family and I only celebrated a little with a small Christmas tree, a few small presents and a nice dinner (this is because we always celebrated the Dutch holiday: Sinterklaas on the 5th of December which substituted our Christmas). However, Christmas has gained an entirely new meaning here in Sweden. Stockholm is brightly lit by fairy lights (which is great since the sun is up for only a few hours. At three in the afternoon it is already dark here), Pepparkakor (delicious Swedish gingerbread cookies) are for sale everywhere, there is a cute Christmas market in Gamla Stan that sells great Glögg (It’s a Swedish drink and I have no idea what is in it, but it is great!) that I visit often and the Nordiska Kompaniet (the big high-end mall in Stockholm) has put up their Christmas decorations and little window museum (it’s great, they have moving, wooden elves this year that live in huge dollhouses, you have to see it to believe it).
However, though Christmas is great, there are a few problems that I (and I am sure you will too) will encounter. After years of experience, my first and foremost “problem” I will encounter around Christmas is the mountains and mountains of good (amazing) food that are just waiting (asking) to be eaten (absorbed). It is getting darker, and everyone is getting more and more tired and lazy and as a consequence, our kitchen is stacked with cookies and cake and fruit and pasta and more cookies and ice cream and chocolate milk and some very sketchy Italian products that I do not particularly like, like the ink from a squid (which apparently serves great as a pasta sauce). If you do not want to end up looking like Tweedledee and Tweedledum I recommend you lock your good food away and only allow yourself say: one cookie a day, in the evening, after dinner. No wait. Scrap that. Two cookies. You know what, you have already exceeded your initial promise, let’s just eat three. Oh who am I kidding, only fictional characters are able to stick with their food-related promises. Instead of constantly waging whether or not you should eat that last scoop of ice-cream, I personally like to stick with the rule of thumb: smaller portions, more tasting. Also, I increase my daily workout with a few extra push-ups and sit-ups if I fail my rule of thumb.
The thing that will inevitably happen is the scene that we all know. We are dragged to a dinner with your parents, their friends or your family, or people you may not be particularly fond of. First of all, if you will be spending the evening with people much older than you, I would not recommend that really short, red dress in which your breasts look “great”. Instead, stick with that covering black dress in which you feel comfortable in. Remember: you do not have anyone to impress (but yourself). Instead of closing yourself off from any conversation and roll your eyes at everything that will be said, try to smile. If this doesn’t work for you because it is physically impossible, excuse yourself, go to the bathroom, clench a pen between your teeth until you naturally smile (I read it somewhere and tried it out while looking in the mirror and it worked!)(but mostly because I looked incredibly ridiculous). Also a great tip is to ask questions. Who knows, maybe you will make friends, or get to know something incredible (also, ask people for advice (not to an annoying point though), it’s great to keep a conversation going and it might help you). Last year my family and I went to a large Italian land house for Christmas Dinner with a handful of elderly Italian couples, I slipped away after dinner (with consent of the owner of the house off course) and spend the rest of the night roaming the halls of the residence, playing pool in the library and reading first edition copies of great writers. This might sound boring, but since I adore architecture (and it was a beautiful, old house) it was actually a night that exceeded my expectations (this wasn’t difficult to do though… a great dessert could have done the trick too. There was great dessert… Therefore… my night was pretty great).
The holiday season is great, and besides giving presents and spreading love to others, it is also a great season to treat yourself. Maybe with a good book, maybe with many good movies, maybe with *fill in what you love to do, or what you love to buy or what you love to eat*.
Hope this December is going to be great for you guys,
Love // Joy