Tis the season of holiday parties, extra spending, and perhaps a bit too much eggnog. This time of year used to be so stressful for me. We were charging Christmas on our credit card, I couldn’t stop eating all the Christmas cookies, and I seemed to ramp up my time spent at the gym. The last one was in part to combat the extra pounds I was terrified of gaining and to help me cope with the additional stress this most joyous season tended to bring out.

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 This year my husband and I vowed to spend less money on stuff and instead invest more money on experiences. 

I’ll admit at first I was a little hesitant. Not really for me, but more for my kids. The thoughts of ruining Christmas for them swirled in my head and I even began to question whether or not I was a bad mom for not wanting to spend a ton of money on my kids. I guess that is just another ugly head of the comparison game.

As a kid at Christmas time it seems like your whole world revolves around getting all the things on your Christmas list.  The thought of not getting my kids the things they long for (even though I know in my heart spoiling my kids by getting them every single thing they want isn’t good for them either ) brings up emotions from my own childhood where  money was always in short supply and quite often I remember NOT getting the things on my list.

The thing of it is…I’m ok. I have not been scarred for life. And while I’ll admit  I do believe my parent’s money habits have  contributed to the way I handle and spend money. I am still working on this.

Stress less by saying no, thank you.

No, on its own IS a complete sentence, but if you’re looking to soften the blow just a bit you can add a smile and a gracious thank you to the end of your no.

The point isn’t really whether you add the ‘thank you’ or you don’t, it’s that you are being choosy about what you are committing yourself to. Especially this time of year. So think about the things you actually want to do and that align with your own personal core values. Then  make sure you do those things first.

Everything else can get deleted. Of course, sometimes you will have to make sacrifices and that is also ok. Just decide what you’re wiling to sacrifice on and what isn’t worth it.

For example if you’re eating a slice of pie just because you don’t want to disappoint someone or hurt their feelings or you don’t want them to feel alone in eating, then a ‘no thank you’ would be ok. You don’t have to cave into someone else’s agenda to show them you love them.

 Give more

While this time of year seems to be especially marked by additional spending and gift giving, there are more ways than one that you can be generous or lavish others in gifts.

Get creative–How can you give more of your time, your talent, or your natural gifts? Instead of focusing on all the time you don’t have or spending money that isn’t really there, think about the joy you’ll be adding and the cheer you’ll be spreading instead when you choose to invest time in other people or causes that are important to you.

 Enjoy the fun foods

Self control always. Restriction never. This year instead of counting all the treats, calories and macros, why not let yourself relax a little bit more? As long as you make your food choices with intention and mindfulness I say have that extra cookie without another thought about it.

Focus on REALLY enjoy the fun, festive foods of this season–savor each bite. Create an experience around that special food. It goes without saying this is a stressful time of year for many, let’s not take it out on Grandma’s homemade goodies. Eat in moderation and in alignment with your goals. Sometimes that is simply having the thing and not stressing over it.

Explore new ways to move your body

It is easy to get into a rut with our fitness. Instead of just doing the same thing over and over why not try a new activity this winter. Snowshoeing anyone? Or maybe there is a class you’ve been wanting to try, but you’ve been too busy hitting the trails on your runs. Whatever you’re used to doing to get your body moving, try something else this winter. Your body will thank you. Your mind will thank you. And you’ll appreciate the new skills and challenges that come with trying something new.

You can always make it better by grabbing a buddy.

Be just a smidge more intentional

This one goes without saying, but I’ll repeat it anyway…whatever you do, do it with intention. This means actively choosing what you’re doing, what you’re eating, how you’re spending your time and your hard-earned cash. Don’t get stuck in the same routines and ruts. For most women we operate on autopilot. We’ve got so many things to do in a day we just get going without ever really stopping to see how what we are doing are either helping us get closer to living our dream life or slowly pushing us further from it.


What is one way you plan to do the holidays a tad different this year? Join the conversation below. And if you ever have any topics you want covered in an upcoming post, shoot your questions over to alisha@alishacarlson.com


Here’s to creating food freedom, finding joy in moving your body, and making peace with your body long before you ever reach your fitness goals.


Alisha Carlson (8)