My favourite thing about Christmas is getting together with family. Everyone seems to make a bigger effort to all get together at once, working around conflicting work schedules to do so. With some family being interstate, we rarely get to see all the relies but Christmas cards are sent, phone calls are made or this year my Uncle even joined us from interstate for dessert via Skype.
Some people over spend like crazy at this time of the year and let’s be honest some of the things people buy (especially when stressed and short on time) are not the most thoughtful or useful gifts. There is nothing fun about going into debt so avoid this by choosing as a family not to buy gifts for each other or do what we do and participate in Secret Santa (we do this for both mine and my husband’s family). We all pull a name out of a hat and buy that person a gift to a nominated value (we usually pick $30 or $50). Our Secret Santa usually ends up being not so Secret Santa by the time everyone has their gifts so you are then able to thank the person that bought it for you. In addition to Secret Santa gifts, we buy the nieces and nephew a little something each and if feeling extra crafty, take along a few homemade goodies to give out. Other gift alternatives you may like to consider are donating to a charity (for example Oxfam where you can buy a family a goat or clean water for a school) or homeless shelter. We did this at work by placing a couple of boxes in a central office and everyone filled them with food items, toiletries and money that was then given to people in need.
- Plan when you will indulge: You may say that you will skip the dessert on Christmas day but will you really? I know I won’t. Scheduling in your Christmas celebrations helps you see where you are likely to be indulging and provides encouragement to eat clean(er) for the rest of the week. Just don’t schedule a celebration every night but if that can’t be helped then choose not to indulge at every event.
- Know your non-compromise foods: Do you push the bread basket away the rest of the year knowing that gluten gives you a guts ache the next day but then eat 3 bread rolls on Christmas day? Ask yourself if having the guts ache the next day will be worth it. If not then don’t compromise on that food. If you really want bread rolls then have gluten free rolls instead. For me gluten and dairy proteins make me feel dreadful so I don’t compromise on those foods but if I have a cider or two and a dessert that contains a little sugar I enjoy and savour every mouthful.
- Take something to share: Bring a plate of something to share, for example a salad or a Paleo dessert (for example the one at the end of this post). That way even if nothing else supplied if suitable for you to eat you won’t go hungry. And make it extra special so you don’t feel like you are missing out at all.
- Don’t forget about your fitness: just because you are having a break from work doesn’t mean that you should take a break from exercising. In fact with all that extra indulging surely an extra walk would do us all good. See if you can convince the family to go for a walk after Christmas lunch or play a game of cricket or Frisbee in the park.
There are plenty more tips that I could share however I am aware that this post is getting lengthy and many of the tips will end up over lapping the Party Tips if I continue. And besides I have a little Christmas gift for you. My mum made an amazing Christmas Pudding for a Family Christmas last Sunday (yes we celebrated early) and I begged her for the recipe so that I could share it. It was seriously the best Christmas pudding I have ever had…. and its gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free so even better.
- 1 cup fresh or dried dates
- 1 cup dried figs
- 1 cup dried prunes
- 1 ⁄ 2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup brazil nuts
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds
- 1 ⁄ 4 – 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 3/4 cup melted (but not hot) coconut oil or butter
- 1 ⁄ 2 cup bourbon plus a splash or two extra for good measure
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sultanas
- 1 tbsp grated orange rind
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 ⁄ 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ⁄ 4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 ⁄ 4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 2 tbsp honey (optional)
- Place the dates, figs, prunes, hot water, brazil nuts, almonds, orange juice, coconut oil or butter, bourbon and eggs into a food processor and process the mixture until chopped and well combined.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the sultanas, orange rind, almond flour, coconut flour, spices and bicarb soda.
- Mix well and add honey to taste if it’s not sweet enough for your liking.
- Pour the dough into a 1.5 litre pudding dish and cover with baking paper and al-foil.
- Place the pudding dish into a large pot with water so the level reaches 2/3 the way up the pudding dish. Cover the pot and steam for 6 hours adding more water if water level drops.