Confessions of a Christmas Grinch

I have a confession to make: I’m a Christmas Grinch. I honestly don’t like the holiday season. As I watch my calendar fill up with expectations and demands, I find myself wanting to white-knuckle the kitchen table, close my eyes tight, and hope with everything in me that somehow when I open my eyes, it will magically be 2014.

It’s a season where I struggle with the music. I’m constantly flipping stations and feeding my CD player so I don’t have to listen to Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, or Santa Claus is coming to Town. “It’s NOT the most wonderful time of year!” I’ve found myself yelling while driving to work after shoveling my driveway, scraping my car window, and leaving 20 minutes early so I can arrive on time. Snow and ice are not my friends. Darkness and I aren’t on friendly terms either. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and I usually fall about once a month on the ice; sometimes resulting in lingering pain.

Winter driving is also not one of my favorite activities. One New Year’s Eve I found myself in the passenger seat as my mom was driving me home from college. We hit a patch of ice and the car began to swirl around and around like a tilt-a-whirl. In desperation, my mom reached out her hand to protect me and cried, “Oh Jenny, what are we going to do!?” I sat up straight in my seat, bracing myself for impact. It’s amazing how much peace you have the moment you think you are about to die; I’m now convinced death is a beautiful thing. Even though our car landed safely in the ditch and we went home that evening unscathed, I’ve lived in fear of the weather ever since.

Unfortunately, I don’t fully understand the love language of gift giving. I’m learning that a present is a way of saying to another person, “ I see you, I know the things you care about, and I want to reflect it in this gift,” but my primary love language is physical touch. I want to be held. I want those I love to open their arms wide and receive me in their embrace. No need to pick up something from Target—just sit next to me on the couch.

My struggle with the holidays is what makes me curious if there really is a way that I could enjoy the season? I saw people out skiing this afternoon and I felt a little green with envy. Here are some activities I’ve brainstormed to help get moving. What would you add to the list?

1.) Purchase or use a stationary bike to cycle through the winter months. This type of exercise allows you to do something else at the same time like read a book or watch TV. Recumbent bikes are often a little easier on the back.

2.) Hit the pool and take a friend along! It’s hard to freely move outside this time of year with all the ice and snow. Immersing yourself in water might be just the thing you crave!

3.) Invest in some Yaktrax and Nordic walking poles. Both of these items can help keep you steady and upright when it is warm enough to walk outside.

4.) Cruise the mall whether inside or out. I live next to an outdoor mall and have found it to be one of the most ice-free and well lit places to move. This is quite valuable during the winter months. Walking indoors can be a good option too. You might want to leave your money at home if you do this often—then you won’t be tempted to buy everything you see!

5.) Keep stretching! (I’m mostly preaching to myself here). The winter months leave me tense and tight. Keeping to a regular routine can help keep the body loose during the often stressful holiday season.