‘Tis the season….and I bounce between pounds gained and lost as the holiday partying ebbs and flows. As many of my fellow revelers are the fit ladies from exercise groups who also excel in gourmet cooking and baking, I recalled an article I wrote that described our dilemma. Having sent copies to a few friends in place of a holiday card, I thought…why not blog a non-caloric ode to the season as a holiday greeting? And to all, a happy new year!
“’Tis the season to be jolly” comes from the peculiar notion that fat people are happy people. Anyone gaining less than ten pounds during December is seen as an anorexic Scrooge.
However, one Christmas past, I determined to play Tiny Trim, having jogged 1,000 miserable miles to shed three years of annual compounded holiday avoirdupois. Those same people who regularly veg out with soybean soufflés and tofu burgers, pig out for the holidays. Their goodwill extends to sharing forbidden—also candied and sugared—fruits, Danish and ice cream egg nog in a gastronomical and ecumenical orgy.
The holiday spirit, along with more potent spirits, started creeping into offices right after Thanksgiving. There were client parties (hot hors d’oeuvres), and staff parties (cold canapés). To avoid the festivities, I offered to man the phones—until I answered one artfully crafted from a cheese ball.
“You can’t stay home for the holidays,” said my friend, Serena, “unless you live out of town. So you’ll hit a few parties, gain a few pounds. For New Year’s you can resolve to start smoking again.”
“In Silicon Valley, Serena? The only thing smoked in the Bay Area is salmon.”
“Yummm. And ham and oysters,” she said, licking her lips.
The Rotary, church groups and charity organizations turned meetings into feedings. My polite, “No thanks, strict diet, you know,” equaled a worldwide hunger crisis to those good folks whose good works came molded, meringued and moussed. It was eat or resign.
Even my house came under siege. Neighbors I hadn’t seen all year mounted surprise sorties with “Ho, ho ho’s” and homemade horrors for weight watching—spritzes, stollens and bonbons. If a praline elf or a marzipan angel breached the front door, I shoved it out the back. The garbage men must have keeled over from a series of rum-soaked fruit cakes I put out to re-cycle.
The week before Christmas, I was in an acute state of depression, licking the pages of the Harry and David’s gourmet gift catalog. When I started tasting the package ribbons praying they were candy, I decided to test my will power at an open house.
Victory! I mingled, caroled and merely nibbled. Defeat! The entire buffet was an incredible edible—quiche-crust plates, spun sugar glasses, cappuccino coffee, glazed carrot sticks and spiked water. Even the toothpicks dissolved in my mouth Serena found me crouched behind the Christmas tree.
“You did it!” she cheered. “Hid out and stuck to your diet! Congratulations.”
“Not quite,” I said sheepishly with a small burp. “I forgot about all those caloric ornaments of gingerbread men, popcorn strings, chocolate Santas and candy canes. Does it look too bare with just the lights left?”
I’m back on the wagon this year. My weight’s down, my kitchen’s clean and my calendar’s empty. But all I really want for Christmas? Two turtle doves under glass and a stuffed partridge in a glazed pear tree!