Foodie Sunday: Making your holidays just a bit more stress free!
Don’t you wish that you could just take the time right now for a luxurious and blissfully indulgent spa weekend? There’s nothing like the hustle and hurry of the holiday season to make even the most seasoned shopper like me long for a bit of time out! Long years spent in the grueling trenches of holiday retail have taught me a few tricks! I’ve learned that if I just give myself an extra bit of TLC during the month of December that life is looking pretty good by my annual Winter Solstice party! So here is my gift to you in the form of some of the most relaxing tips that I know to keep the holidays special, sparkling and bright!
First of all please make sure that you’re taking the time to eat right. For every piece of candy or every Christmas cookie that you eat (and I am the first to admit that I’ll enjoy plenty this month!) make sure that you eat at least 2 pieces offresh fruit, or a snack of fresh vegetables with a bit of cheese. Salads as often as possible this month can really help to move the sugar through your system, just remember to watch the dressing. If you’ve got a juicer, try to have at least one glass of fresh juice today to gently detoxify your system!
You need even more hydration than normal when enjoying Champagne filled evenings so I love to sip lots of green tea or my own herbal tea blend (I love red rooibos tea blended with cinnamon, pink peppercorn and sage!), sweetened with agave nectar or raw honey. I can’t say it enough, if you’re a coffee drinker, alternate between tea or sparkling water. If you have a soda-stream machine you can make your own, but if not why not buy good seltzer water and flavor it yourself? One of my favorites this time of year is a classic combination of soda, peppermint essential oil or extract and a bit of chocolate syrup with about a teaspoon of agave nectar. Stir, pour over ice and enjoy! You can add fresh juice to soda water or even flavored green tea to make a healthy spritzer. Absolutely no sugary soft drinks…PLEASE?
If you really overindulge one evening just jump back on the bandwagon! After a night of too much eggnog (and who can resist too much eggnog every now and then!) just make sure that the next day is filled with food that’s as “clean” as possible and by this I mean nothing processed and everything simply cooked and fresh! Drink lots of fresh water and add some extra vitamin B and in a few hours you’ll feel like new again!
Make sure that you get plenty of fresh air this time of year even if it’s cold outside. Just bundle up and take a quick walk or if you have an office, open the window, shut the door and do a few simple yoga stretches. If you can take a walk before you go to work in the morning begin and end it with a few simple stretches. Then sit down and drink a cup of tea and read something delightful ( Perfume Smellin things!) even if it’s only for 15 minutes. This will relax and prepare you for the busy day ahead.
A bath or a lovely shower at the end of a long day is my idea of nirvana, but a bath in the morning before work is true pampering. My mother used to take one everyday and she swore by them. If you can, get up early one weekday and fill up the tub with bubbles or delicious bath oil; I particularly love Jo Malones French Lime Blossom for the mornings. Not too hot and not too cold… choose a temperature that relaxes and refreshes you. If you want, add a yummy sugar or salt scrub (Laura Merciers Crème Brûlée !) to keep your skin glowing, then slip out of the tub, wrap yourself in a huge bath sheet and moisturize with a light sesame, olive or almond oil. Don’t forget a spritz of your favorite perfume and you’ll feel ready for the busiest day.
If you don’t have time for a bath, how about throwing a big handful of fresh or dried herbs like lavender, rose, peppermint or lemon verbena into a pot for a wonderful facial steam. Bring the herbs and water to a simmer, put your head over the pot and cover your head and shoulders with a soft loose towel for a few minutes. Afterwards, splash some cool water on your face and spritz with some rosewater that you can buy at any health food store. Alight massage of your favorite moisturizer will have your skin glowing and ready for makeup if you wear it!
If you’re lucky enough to have someone around to give you a healing massage don’t hesitate to ask for one this time of year (don’t forget to give as good as you get!) but if not you can give yourself a very good self massage quite easily! Keep a tube of peppermint foot cream and another of your favorite hand cream in your purse or briefcase at all times. When you feel in need of a quick break, just give yourself a simple hand massage by gently pulling on each finger and rubbing the cream into your palms, massaging all of the tendons in your hands. Be sure to rub your neck and shoulders, the easiest way to do this is to interlock the fingers in both hands and then use your thumbs to massage gently all of the way around your head and neck. You’ll be surprised when in a few minutes you’re feeling refreshed and ready to tackle all of that unfinished Christmas business!
Last but definitely not least, be sure to set the scene for the holiday that you want. Fill your home with candles and fresh greens, and let yourself enjoy the sounds and spirit of the season. Have this holiday season be the way that YOU want it to be and be sure to include my favorite ingredient of all…Lots of Mistletoe for kissing under! Make your own Peppermint Bark; just look in The Food Network magazine this month for the coveted Williams Sonoma recipe! Find your inner child and decorate a gingerbread house or two! Too often these days our holidays are dictated by marketing groups sitting isolated in their offices far away so instead, why don’t you choose what you want your December to look like this year. If you want your home to be a peaceful haven completely removed from the holiday madness then that’s what you should create but if you want the Norman Rockwell/ Martha Stewart version go ahead and try for that too! Just don’t stress yourself out with images of perfection that are airbrushed and unrealistic.Take a deep breath, jump in and enjoy yourself. This is a season full of magic and good wishes and my wish for you is the very happiest and most original of holidays this year!
Wrapping all of you in Huge hugs , plenty of kisses and a luxurious cloud of Nuit de Noel….
Beth Schreibman Gehring