I'm always sad when the winter holidays are over. For just a few months every year, we get to make our homes look beautiful, cook the very best food, and dress in fun party clothes. We visit our loved ones, spend time with our friends, and try to share as much love as possible. In truth, we spend this short season doing what we should be doing all year around.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not advocating that we incorporate the more stressful parts of the holidays, like overspending or crowded air travel, into our everyday lives. But why do certain behaviors only happen during the winter holidays?
Here's my manifesto for making the holidays last all year long:
1. Keep the home beautiful
I don't know about you, but I always give my home a thorough cleaning right before Thanksgiving. Often it's the only real cleaning it gets all year. Then, I set out the good china, the pretty centerpieces, and all of the special decorations. I make sure the front yard is tidy, and I put out the Christmas lights. My home looks beautiful, warm, and inviting -- a far cry from the rest of the year, when it generally looks untidy and cluttered.
This year, I want to make my home look beautiful all year long. I want to keep the good china on the dinner table and put fresh flowers on the mantlepiece. I want to keep the clutter off the shelves and light the candles. There's no reason why a clean, welcoming home should only exist for two months out of the year.
2. Eat good food
For many people, the winter holidays are all about the meals: turkey, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, fruit salad. It's kind of sad when you think about it: for a lot of people, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner are the only two "real meals" they eat all year.
Why can't we eat good meals year round? I know that the traditional holiday dinners take hours to prepare, but it seems like we've lost track of eating full meals, including fruit and vegetable side dishes. It's no coincidence that obesity levels rose and health plummeted around the time we started substituting snack foods and fast foods for real, healthy dinners.
This year I am going to try to have as many complete meals, including protein, carbs, fat, and the all-important fruits and vegetables, on the table as possible.
3. Wear fun clothing
Yes, I am one of those people who climbs straight into pajamas as soon as I get home from work. Of course, ten months out of the year it means I wear worn-out sweats, and the other two months I wear fresh, fun holiday-print pajamas. I'm changing that up this year. There is a lot of chic, fun, comfortable lounge wear out there, and it's time to spend the evenings looking good, not worn out.
4. Throw parties
We have lost the art of entertaining. For one month a year, we have more parties than we can handle; for the rest of the year, nothing. This year, I am going to try to throw one party at least every two months. It'll also be a good excuse to make sure the house is clean! I'm already looking at party theme ideas at PartyLights.com, because part of the fun of party-throwing is adding lights and decorations.
5. Treat people with love
And we end with the most important part of the holidays: treating everyone around you with love. The winter holidays are a time to mend fences, build ties, and share affection, and there's no reason why this type of holiday spirit shouldn't last year-round. This year, I am going to make sure that everyone I care about knows just how much I love and appreciate them, and I hope you will do the same.