But not so. Christmas has been unfairly maligned. It is, in fact, a healthy holiday. Perhaps not in the traditional way one thinks of health, but I’m here to bring it all home for you with a list that gives an answer to “How is Christmas good for you?” Here we go:
1. We learn better eating habits: Clearly we eat too much at Christmas; this is inarguable. Beyond the high caloric items mentioned above, we indulge particularly in Christmas candy, from candy canes and chocolate Santas, to the boxes of gourmet nuts n’ chews and various ethnic confections. In fact, we eat so much candy at Christmas that most of us ultimately become repelled by the stuff, leading to counter-intuitive fantasies of steamed broccoli and a strong desire for a healthier food palate for months to come…at least until Valentine’s Day. That’s two whole months of candy-free living! How healthy is that??
2. We create special bonds with family: While jokes are made and eyes roll at the familiar horror stories of cranky aunts and right-wing Grandpas frothing at the dinner table, in truth, most families look forward to spending time with their beloved cousins or siblings, enjoying relatives they rarely get to see at other times of the year. Christmas affords the opportunity to create new memories each year while reminiscing about the old. And even if Grandpa does go on about his “buddy” Bill O’Reilly for long enough to get your teeth grinding, there’s a palpable sense of relief when he finally heads home; a sense of freedom and aural quiet. Mostly relief. Relief is always healthy.
3. We develop better money management skills: After piling on the credit card, overspending in every way we know how – from presents to high-priced holiday clothing and food and entertainment items – we arrive at the post-gift-opening moment when we look around the room obliterated with crumpled wrapping paper and dismissed gifts and ask ourselves, “so this is what I got for that $_________ I packed onto the VISA?” The answer is so bone-crushingly clear that we immediately text ourselves to sit down on January 2nd with a financial adviser to see what we can do about paying down the debt and putting a moratorium on future spending. Money management inspiration; what could be healthier than that??
4. Bad Christmas TV programming gets us out the door: It’s well known that TV networks ply their holiday schedules with re-runs, holiday variety shows, vintage holiday movies, lame reality programming, Christmas-oriented talk shows, etc.; anything but current programming or anything particularly interesting (unless you want to see Frosty the Snowman for the 20th time). This is excellent because the dearth of compelling programming is bound to get you off the couch, away from the TV, into your running shoes and out the door. Whether you don a Speedo or that purple running suit you got from your Kris Kringle at the office, you’ll be getting some bracing winter exercise and not a person on earth can say that’s not good for you.
5. Santa Terror Teaches Children “Stranger Danger”: We all know how hard parents work to teach their children to be cautious of strangers. But truth be told, there’s little opportunity to put them in actual situations in which, though they’re not really in jeopardy, the reality of “stranger danger” can be illustrated in real life. Until Christmas. Then, as tradition demands, we shove our innocents onto the laps of perfect strangers and order them to “tell Santa what you want for Christmas,” leading the child to stare at the white-bearded oddly attired fellow, realize they have no idea who they are and, as survival instinct wisely dictates, scream bloody murder. Exactly what you want them to do when their personal space is being invaded by a total stranger asking questions and offering them candy! There is no better learning tool and it only comes around once a year; grab the moment.
So there’s your 1-5. Why Christmas is good for you. You’re welcome.
Now go turn those Christmas lemons into Happy New Year lemonade!
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!