Monday 19 December 2011

How to Survive the Christmas Party Season

Gretel Hallet, is a Trained Chocolate Fairy and is running the Getting Started half day workshop in Norwich - perfect for beginners to experience the core principles of Beyond Chocolate and equally great as a refresher for any Beyond Chocolater. If you live in East Anglia and want to know more about Beyond Chocolate or her workshops, get in touch with Gretel.

The internet is full of helpful last minute advice to beleaguered party-goers on how to survive the Festive Season with all those parties that all involve all that food and drink ... I’ve added my Beyond Chocolate inspired thoughts on this well-meaning but misguided advice. As for the parties and food and drink – bring them on!

So when they suggest...

1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Give something you would like to receive, possibly a fruit basket or some low fat muffins. The favour just may be returned.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: Tell you what, if someone gave me low fat muffins they’d end up wearing them ... yes, it might be lovely to give someone a basket of fruit or cake, but not if it’s with the intention of ‘saving’ them from eating ‘bad things’ or in the hope that they will reciprocate with ‘good’ things ... bah!

2. Take a vegetable or fruit plate to a party. Be the designated driver. Save your friends and your waistline at the same time.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: Ok, veg or fruit plate sounds nice, but unless you only eat your own food at parties, this isn’t going to stop over-indulgence. Avoidance tactics don’t stop over-indulgence; it just pops up somewhere else – like when you get home and no-one’s watching. How much better it is to see what’s available and make a choice based on what you like and what you feel like eating
3. Don't let family or friends pressure you into overindulging. When they say 'You have nothing to worry about — you're fine as you are' reply: 'The reason I'm fine is because I've worked hard to lose the weight, and I'm not going to blow it now'.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: Why not just say, ‘Thank you’, Tune In and make your own decision about whether or eat or not?

4. Be assertive. Refuse food and drinks if you don't want them.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: This is more BC – if you’re not hungry or thirsty and don’t want to eat –refuse politely. Saying a polite 'no thanks' with a smile, repeated, broken record style, usually works. They will give up eventually!

5. At a buffet, limit the number of choices on your plate. Enjoy a few smart selections instead of giving in to overzealous sampling.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: You know what? I like sampling. That way I get to taste foods I may not have had before. It doesn’t mean I then scarf down the whole lot, but experimenting with tastes, textures and new foods is one of life’s pleasures.

6. Keep your hands full of anything but food. Take along photos, a branch of mistletoe, a camera or anything else that will keep your hands occupied.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: Oh, this isn’t going to look odd at all, is it?! Again, avoidance tactics are doomed to failure. It’s far better to make an active choice rather than spend the whole party pretending that food doesn’t exist and then eat the contents of your kitchen when you get home!

7. Plan a guilt-free event — organise a dance party and serve a hearty buffet of veggies and low-fat dips.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: What a shame it is that pleasure is so wrapped up with guilt in our culture. Why can’t we throw any sort of party we like and enjoy it?
8. Deliver cards in person to your neighbours and/or friends. Do it on foot and get a little exercise while you boost your community spirit.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: I approve of exercise by stealth. Hand-delivering Christmas cards if your recipients live locally is an excellent way of getting some fresh air and a bit of free exercise)

9. Give party leftovers and gifts of cakes, biscuits and chocolates to the local food shelter. You'll remove rich foods from your grasp and provide a treat to those in need.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: This sounds like one of those very good ideas dreamed up by someone who lives in a big city where there are homeless shelters. I wouldn’t know where to take excess party food in the small rural town where I live and, by the end of a party, most left-over party food is good only for compost or throwing away in my experience. And I don’t want rich foods removed from my grasp, thank you very much! I want to choose whether I eat them or not.

10. Keep your mind off food and your heart in the right place by volunteering. Charity organisations, toy drives and other endeavours can use all the help they can get.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: ?? I don’t think I have ever heard this before. Volunteering in order to avoid eating? Whatever next?! Volunteer because you want to help out, not because you’re avoiding eating, for goodness sake!

11. If you slip a little off track, don't dwell on it. That doesn't solve anything and can ruin your holiday fun. Just learn from the mistake, make sure to weigh in as usual and most of all, keep your sense of humour and good cheer.

Chocolate Fairy Gretel says: Firstly, I don’t have a ‘track’ to slip off. I don’t ‘dwell’ on my eating – I may reflect and learn from how, when, where I ate. I certainly don’t consider it a ‘mistake’. It happened and maybe I don’t want to do it like that again, but it wasn’t a ‘mistake’. I don’t ‘weigh in’. I can imagine worse things, certainly, but ‘weighing in’ comes pretty close to a worst thing. I hope I will always have a sense of humour and good cheer, neither of which is dependent on me torturing myself over food at this time of year.

Merry Festive Season whatever you are doing and Enjoy!


  1. This is priceless Gretel! I cannot believe its for real, I honestly can't.... low fat muffins, local shelters, TAKING A VEGETABLE TO A PARTY. ... totally hilarious...
    Thanks for the laugh!

  2. You're welcome, Denise - but it's all true, I'm afraid. This really is the advice being offered party-goers on the internet ... unbelievable isn't it?!


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