Oh, Those Holiday Memories!
by Ellie Marrandette
Published on December 5, 2022

Oh, Those Holiday Memories!

By Ellie Marrandette

I’d like you to travel back with me to the good old days. How did your family celebrate the Christmas holidays? Did Mom spoil you with an abundance of homemade cookies, pies, and brownies? Did relatives encourage second or even third helpings around the dinner table? Do you carry on similar habits simply because it’s tradition?

How we react to those times today has much to do with how we were raised.

For example, I was extremely poor growing up. Therefore, the first time I went to my college cafeteria, I had a hard time stopping at just one plate of food. After all, it’s free! It might not be there tomorrow!  Only after I realized why I acted as I did, was I able to change my behavior.

Even today, our adult habits/traditions have much to do with the environment we grew up in – even during the holidays.

How would you describe yourself?

When you were young, was Christmas a fun, expressive, over-the-top event where the entire family gathered together to celebrate around a table of immense bounty? Did Grandpa dress up as Santa? Do you long to recapture those happy, carefree holidays of your youth but now, it’s only you and the cat?

Was it a time when Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Ethel arrived loaded down with gift packages and gave you embarrassing, sloppy kisses? Are those recaptured feelings lost forever, except in your memory?

Did you begrudge Grandma and Grandpa’s gifts because she knitted you a sweater and he gave you his old watch? You never appreciated them because you wanted a bike!

Or, does something homemade mean more to you than a Cartier watch, realizing it comes from someone’s heart?

Did you resent having little money for gifts, decorations, or lavish family dinners? Now you go overboard to make up for it.

Perhaps you came from a lonely, broken home where you only watched holiday TV shows to pass the day. Now you don’t care to decorate or celebrate. You’ve placed a shell around your heart to pretend “holidays don’t matter anyway.” Yeah, sure.

Surprisingly not everyone enjoys the holidays. Of course, holidays should reprise days of security and innocence once again. But for some, their memories are of immense loss, and sadness for a loved one no longer around. You might find yourself eating more because nutrients (especially from sweets and chocolate) can chemically suppress pain.

Fast forward to today: How much do you spend on your holidays now? Do you go into debt to make up for the past? Is it all about the presents or is time more important than money to you? Did you remain thrifty or become demonstratively generous? Are holidays simply another day? Remember that some have difficulties due to missing a loved one during the holidays.

Did you eat your way through the festivities and discover on January 2nd that you gained ten to fifteen pounds? Pigging out at every party might have seemed like a good idea at the time – but did you like yourself afterward? Probably not.

Change your viewpoint:

“You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires;” (Ephesians 4:22)

How much self-discipline are you retaining this holiday season?  

Are you facing temptations at every turn?

Are co-workers bringing goodies into the break room?

Is your spouse placing decadent cookies from work on the kitchen counter? 

Is your favorite holiday treat featured on television commercials every half hour?  

And even church presents no sanctuary, as members outdo each other by offering their most caloric recipes at the Christmas Fellowship dinner!

Realistically, however, one faces two office parties, neighborhood get-togethers, a church potluck, a Christmas Eve party, and perhaps a New Year’s Celebration – that’s a lot!!! How can you honor your bodily temple and still enjoy the holiday festivities? 

First, recognize that the upcoming weeks are but a short blurb on the timeline of one’s life. It’s not easy but believe it or not, one can enjoy holiday festivities while maintaining a healthier lifestyleHere are some general tips to assist you as you face these challenges:

Don’t arrive famished or you’ll lose control.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)

Give the food table a once-over and choose healthy selections: shrimp cocktail, hummus with pita chips, fruit trays, crab or smoked salmon, grilled vegetable kabobs, or a small, sliced veggie wrap are better choices than fatty dips.  Even two party-size meatballs are better choices than potato chips.

Eat like a Royal. Nibble and chew your food slowly like a proper guest! As you know, it takes twenty minutes for your brain to realize you’re full. If you’re still hungry after that, you’re either eating too quickly or unconscious behavior. Recommendation: Keep your back to the food table and concentrate on conversations.

Some hate that awkward feeling of not being comfortable with small talk. To compensate, they’ll unconsciously eat.

If you are one, carry a drink in your hand. Try a glass of club soda with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange. Or choose carbonated water with a little fruit juice in a wine glass and no one will comment on why you aren’t drinking. 

Remember alcoholic drinks are extremely caloric at 7 calories per gram (that’s about a 1/4 teaspoon.) That certainly adds up!  Also, physiologically speaking, the body burns the alcohol before the fat, carbohydrates, and protein, so you’ll probably gain weight.

Remember get-togethers are not about gifts and “stuff.” Stuff wears out – only love, kindness and memories are important.  It pleases God when we appreciate the True Gift, He has given us. It truly is the greatest present of all. He asks nothing in return except to love and honor His Son.

Strive for a healthier lifestyle and give that gift of yourself to the Savior. Always remember the real reason for the Christmas season!

Merry Christmas!

After attending Graham Jr. College in Boston and Moody Bible College, Ellie Marrandette earned her Bachelor of Ministry (BMIN) from Trinity Theological Seminary. Fascinated by psychology and physiology, God directed Ellie toward a rewarding healthcare career. She became a licensed, certified nutritional counselor, working with doctors, nutritional centers, and independently as the founder of New Creations Ministries , a faith-based solution in overcoming health challenges. 

In recent years, God has focused Ellie’s path toward writing. She is the author of four Christian novels, a novella, and a non-fiction book on healthy living entitled, Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us.) Her current endeavor is to complete a children’s devotional this year. For more about Ellie Marrandette visit New Creations Ministries.

Feature Photo By Wallpaper Cave

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  1. Bill

    Great ideas for the holidays. Thanks Ellie.

    • Ellie Marrandette

      Oh, you’re welcome Bill, I appreciate your comment. May you and your loved ones have a Joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂


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