This year, about 50 percent of people in the United States will attend at least one holiday party. For about half of us, our employer will host a party for us. About 20 percent of us will even host our own.
With those numbers, it’s easy to see a lot of potential pitfalls ahead. So don’t let yourself get caught off-guard, read this guide to see how you can be happy and healthy all holiday season long!
1. If you’re watching what you eat, a holiday party can be an exercise in torture. A single piece of brie on toast can be more than 100 calories, and who could possibly eat just one? Nearly 40 percent of Americans say that the most stressful part of the holiday season is gaining weight, and it’s not hard to see why. But you can prevent a lot of the damage to your diet by planning ahead. If you know a party is going to have a lot of calorie-dense foods or that dinner is going to be served late, eat a healthy snack or small meal before you arrive. That way, the heavier amuse-bouches won’t be as tempting. You can also fill your plate up with lighter fare, like shrimp and vegetables. These will fill you up without filling you out, which can take a big holiday stressor off your mind.
2. Going off that point, it can be just as tough to limit your drinks during these parties, whether it’s because you want to have more fun, calm your nerves, or avoid peer pressure. But it can quickly get out of hand and the last thing you want is to have your wild night broadcast over Facebook or be the subject of water cooler gossip. To avoid having too much, volunteer to drive, and after one or two drinks, start drinking cranberry and soda with no alcohol so you have something to hold. And if the party is during the week, make it to work the next day. Your boss can easily find out what you were up to the night before by looking at anything you posted on social media, and you don’t want word to get around about your party animal tendencies.
3. At potluck-style meals, there are a lot of precautions you should consider taking to make the events safe and healthy for everyone. First, include the list of ingredients for any dish you prepare, so anyone with allergies knows immediately whether or not they can eat it. When serving the dishes, make sure there are serving utensils available so people don’t have to touch food with their hands, potentially spreading germs. Make sure hand sanitizer and hand soap are always readily available and encourage everyone to use it. And if you are sick, medications like Theraflu can speed up the recovery process and get you back onto the social scene as soon as possible.
4. Consider the preferences of your host when choosing a host gift. If they choose not to drink alcohol, a bottle of wine is probably not the most appropriate gift. Same goes for any dietary restrictions they may have. If you don’t know the person very well, easy gifts include flowers, a coffee table book, or a gift card in a small amount.
The holidays can be a whirlwind of activity, from preparing to travel, getting shopping done, finishing up end-of-year projects at work and any number of other tasks.
With this list of survival tips, we at AFC/Doctors Express hope to get rid of some of that stress, so you can focus on what’s really important, enjoying your holiday!