Get a Jump on a Joy-Full Season


Thanksgiving and Christmas – Yikes! Here already? Yes, already! I’m thinking of all that needs to be done and in the midst of having a knee replacement. In spite of limitations, I plan to hang on to my JOY. How do I keep my joy in the middle of family dynamics, finances, food and weight management? It’s a lot to think and plan for. How about something different? Let’s think of new ways to celebrate the holidays this season. And perhaps new ways to manage the ever-mounting stress that often comes with the holidays.

Joyful Idea for Thanksgiving

Instead of the traditional question “what are you thankful for this year?” consider another kind of question. “What is a favorite holiday memory growing up”? Or, ask your family to share a favorite church person they are thankful for. I love this for several reasons. As we answer these questions, it gives our children and grandchildren a glimpse into the “good ole days” our generation experienced growing up. One of my favorite holiday memories was getting together with the other military families stationed on our base. Because of the diversity of the military, my sisters and I were able to experience real Chinese cooking and homemade from scratch Italian holiday meals. As our children answer these questions, we may get a glimpse into their hearts of what they cherish about the holidays. I need accountability daily. I need people in my life I can be gut-level honest with. I need those around me to spur me on to good works when I become weary in well-doing. We all do. One level of our membership offers quarterly wellness consultations that will help you identify and overcome obstacles holding you back on your wellness journey.

Joyful Ideas for Staying on Track

  • Stay committed to your current exercise routines and add an extra ten minutes to every workout. When you’re penciling in parties and other holiday responsibilities on your calendar, write in your exercise times. By writing your workouts into your schedule, you’ll be more likely to regard them as scheduled time and actually do them.
  • Add Christmas music to your workout routines. Find a Christmas music playlist on your favorite music player and incorporate it into your workout. This will keep you moving right through the holidays. Jumping jacks to the Halleluiah Chorus will definitely burn some calories!
  • Enjoy your favorite holiday foods, just in reasonable portions.
  • Add fresh cranberries and orange slices to your drinking water and drink up. Staying hydrated will help you feel full and avoid snacking on all the holiday treats. • Focus on friends more than the food. Find a spot away from the buffet table to enjoy conversations with friends and family. That time can be much more satisfying than that second helping.

Joyful Idea for Staying Within Your Budget

Get creative by purchasing all gifts from a thrift store or garage sale. We did this the first year we were married. None of us had much money. We drew names and I received a set of electric curlers. My brother in law, Tim bought them from a junk store and rewired them so that worked perfectly! Same year we all received a “personalized paperweight” from Rob’s brother, Kenny. He found a box of ceramic tiles at a garage sale and with a permanent marker, initialed each one with our first name. That was a fun, creative, inexpensive Christmas.

Joyful Ideas for Holiday Devotions

  • Place Christmas puzzles coloring books and crayons on the coffee table for children and adults alike. And turn off the modern technology!
  • Enjoy telling the Christmas story with a Nativity scene.
  • Treat yourself to FP4H’s Holiday Devotion Book, A Joy-full Season.

Life is crazy busy and the holiday to-do lists are filled with tasks. I pray your holiday is also filled with fun, family and joy!

Vicki Heath is National Director of First Place 4 Health. Vicki is a certified fitness instructor for the American Council on Exercise, a certified life coach and Wellness Coordinator for her church in Edisto Beach, SC. Vicki is an author of the books Don’t Quit Get Fit and Wellness Journey of a Lifetime. She has led a successful First Place 4 Health ministry in her church for twenty years. Vicki is passionate about Christ and has a desire to help others understand the value of caring for their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Vicki is a pastor’s wife and mother of four wonderful children and six grandchildren. She strives to bring others into the Kingdom through health and wellness.