Sucking the merry out of Christmas
Special to Stars and Stripes December 21, 2023
I’m being haunted.
Not by swaddle-jawed, clanking Jacob Marley. Not by the wispy, shimmering Ghost of Christmas Past. Not by the bearded, boisterous Ghost of Christmas Present. Not by the dark, looming Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. No, the spirit that has invaded the drafty nooks and crannies of my earthly home is not your conventional, run-of-the-mill apparition. It is a specter of a different sort but terrifying nonetheless.
During the time of year when sugarplums should be dancing in my head, my thoughts are being tormented by a raven-haired siren of 1970s fame. Her busty form and lilting voice belie the doom she brings to merrymakers like me, who just want to enjoy the holidays without remorse. The pestering presence intent on spoiling the fun is none other than, yep, you guessed it, Marie Osmond.
As far as I know, Marie isn’t a ghost at all. She is alive and well and living somewhere former Mormon teen idols and QVC doll designers live, like Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. But despite her current status as a breathing human being, her ghostly image still haunts my visions.
Why, just the other day, I was reaching for two sticks of butter to add to a mixing bowl full of granulated sugar for a double batch of Christmas cookies, when suddenly, I thought I heard her, speaking directly to me through the television in our kitchen like some kind of Dickensian holiday poltergeist.
“I’m Marie Osmond, and I lost 50 pounds on Nutrisystem!”
No sooner did the words leave her television spokesperson’s rosy red, plumped up, lipsticked mouth, than I felt it: pure, unadulterated GUILT. How was I supposed to bake cookies in that condition?
Thanks, Marie. Like some kind of yuletide plastic surgeon, you just liposuctioned the Merry right out of Christmas.
To make matters worse, the media can’t stop yapping about yo-yo dieting celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, Amy Schumer and a host of reality TV stars who’ve finally shed significant pounds using weight loss meds. This news comes as a slap in the chubby-cheeked face to those of us using military insurance, because the odds that our Primary Care Manager will prescribe weight loss meds isn’t much better than a snowball’s chance in hell.
I mean, I’m happy for all these trimmed-down celebrities and all that, but seriously, “Bah Humbug!” Whose idea was it to run weight loss ads and stories during the holidays anyway? Isn’t there some local ordinance, federal law, or Supreme Court decision mandating that all diet news must air after the new year?
After we’ve baked our cookies, thickened our gravies and slurped our nog? After we’ve eaten too much fudge, whaled on a bowl of mixed nuts and downed too many Irish Creams? After we’ve housed half a loaf of monkey bread, guzzled Irish Cream and picked all the good stuff out of the Chex Mix? After we’ve blown off the gym, lazed around in our new pj’s binge-watching “The Bear” and sucked on a dozen candy canes?
I get it. It’s never a great idea to go on a monthlong, hog-wild holiday binge, lest we find ourselves 20 pounds heavier in January.when January rolls around. But can’t we just enjoy the traditional seasonal delights without feelings of guilt, defeat and self-loathing? Apparently, just like Halloween candy displays in August, and stores opening for holiday shopping on Thanksgiving, the post-New Year’s diet fervor has now infiltrated the Christmas season.
Apparently, just like Halloween candy displays in August, and stores opening for holiday shopping on Thanksgiving, the post-New Year’s diet fervor has now infiltrated the Christmas season.
All the Scrooge-like body-shaming spirits can haunt me all they want this year, because I fully intend to savor my beloved holiday traditions. I swear, if it’s the last thing I do, I will NOT restrict my fun by restricting calories. I will NOT get on the scale until after New Year’s Day. And, I WILL bake as many Christmas cookies as I damned well please!
Lord knows this time next month, I’ll be gnawing on celery sticks and coughing up a lung at the base gym, so I intend to enjoy myself while I can. Like the jolly partygoers at Fezzywig’s, I’ll eat, drink and be merry — for tomorrow we diet.
Read more at themeatandpotatoesoflife.com and in Lisa’s book, “The Meat and Potatoes of Life: My True Lit Com.” Email: email@example.com