Food = Energy

Food = Energy

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Celebrated Christmas? Congratulations on your Marathon!

If you think of Christmas in purely the consumer-culture sense and take away the religious part, it's pretty fitting that Christmas falls on December 25th. What do I mean? Let's look at each day leading up to Christmas as a mile run. Once Thanksgiving ends, the Christmas season begins....literally. The next day is Black Friday in America and what is Black Friday for? Why, it's to spend money on gifts for the holiday season, of course. Now let my analogy begin...

What is the greatest and one of the most important elements of marathon preparation during the week prior to your event? Sufficient and proper food intake, a.k.a. carbo-loading. What better way to carbo-load for this 26 day Christmas marathon experience than by enjoying a delicious, carbohydrate-packed Thanksgiving meal?

Media: Fill 'Er Up
(Article on Carbo-loading: )

Thanksgiving fell on November 28th this year. I want you all to open up your phone or desktop calendar. Now, count the number of days from Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) until Christmas day. 26. Miles in a marathon? You guessed it: 26 + .2. Okay's so it's almost a marathon. This is kind of what the consumer-culture Christmas feels like nowadays: a full-blown marathon. 

Each day can be considered a mile of the marathon: your end-goal. You begin your Christmas marathon journey on Black Friday which is kind of like the first mile for many marathoners. How you run that first mile is important for how your overall experience will be. Most marathoners will advise any newbie to not go out too fast so you don't burn out or bonk before you hit the half-way mark.

 So, do you spend, spend, spend and overexert your wallet or purse early on or do you spend wisely, only purchasing big-ticket items that you know will cost much more in a week or two? Decisions, decisions. You barely have time to enjoy Thanksgiving before you are thrust into the holiday-spending season. 

Hopefully, you get through that first mile unscathed and your marathon/Christmas experience isn't jeopardized in any way. You're not done, though. You still have 25 miles left and those 25 miles have to be run smartly. How you stretch your dollars over these next 25 miles is crucial to your overall experience and what you think of yourself after you cross the finish line that is Christmas morning.  

For Val and I, we definitely had to stretch our dollars. We weren't able to go all out like our hearts desired; we had to spend wisely and maintain a frugal sense of mind. In a sense, we really had to pace ourselves so that we didn't collapse before Christmas arrived and as I'm posting this on the night after Christmas day, it's safe to say that we survived.

So I guess I owe Val a congratulations on completing her first, albeit proverbial marathon. We put in our training (work) for the holiday and we definitely carbo-loaded before the big day (more Tofurky please!). Now we can begin our post-Christmas recovery plan which definitely includes replenishing our glycogen stores (read: bank accounts). 

All of this sounds pretty heavy and maybe as if I only think of Christmas as something I'm forced to just get through. This is not the case at all. I am merely hitting that stage where Christmas is starting to revolve around others and not yourself and with that comes the inevitable reflection of the financial cost of how our society-at-large "celebrates" Christmas. To me, I can literally breathe a sigh of relief that Christmas is done because, like I said, I can stop spending money and start earning and saving it again. 

It's kind of sad that this is part of how I feel, but I have to stress that it is only part of how I feel. The rest of my feelings are much more positive and certainly dominate the negative ones. These feelings include: the swelling of my heart that I felt when I saw my 7 year old niece opening up her gifts from Santa and remembering how I felt at her age. Or seeing Val's little cousin fill with excitement and become overtaken by hyperactivity as Christmas Eve started to wind down and her bedtime was fast-approaching. These are the memories that make it all worthwhile in the end. 

As a Christian, Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus's birth and I acknowledge and celebrate this important event. As an American, though, I have to accept all the elements of Christmas and those include the consumer-centric elements. What gets me through this sad truth is the look of our family's faces as thoughtful gifts and cards are exchanged on Christmas day. Decorating our first Christmas tree with Val and enjoying soy eggnog for the first time (definitely worth a try!) are some additional memories that make it all worthwhile. 

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a safe and very enjoyable Christmas. The holiday may have passed, but the holiday season has certainly not ended yet (just take a look at any department store for the proof!). So, enjoy your post-Christmas Marathon everybody. We will all celebrate our accomplishment together in just a few days...get it?

Happy Running!

Don't know what Silk Nog looks like in your grocery store? Here it is! You can also look for it in a red carton as well. Try it!

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