While searching for an old column a reader requested a copy of I saw one from several holiday seasons ago that is timely again. It was so long ago I'd forgotten it, and am sure readers have also.
It was from an email titled "Ten holiday eating rules from Dave." Although the Dave was not further identified, my guess is he is funnyman Dave Barry. Here are his 10 tips about things we are all familiar with this time of year:
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrot sticks in a holiday buffet knows nothing about the Christmas spirit. If you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door where they may be serving rum balls.
2. Drink a cup of eggnog. Or two. As quickly as you can, as you can find it no other time of the year. So drink up. Who cares if every sip has 10,000 calories? It's a once-a-year treat, so enjoy it when you can.
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. It does not stand alone, so pour it on. Pour gravy on your mashed potatoes with this rule: Eat, then repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it was skim, pass. It's like buying a sports car with automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Eat lots of it, and enjoy.
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is a time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and a vat of eggnog. Eat, drink.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Eat as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They are like a pair of shoes in a store: If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same goes for pies of any kind. Have a slice of each. Or two if you don't like one of them. Always have three pieces of pie. When else do you get to have more than one piece of dessert? Not again until Labor Day.
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. A final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't paid attention to the above. Re-read all tips. But hurry, as January is right around the corner. Remember the following motto to survive the holidays.
Page 2 of 2 - Motto: Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather you should slide in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, screaming "Woohoo, what a ride that was."
Readers who are familiar with Dave Barry's writings can see why I suspect him of being the unidentified author. Some of the tips actually make sense to me, so perhaps it's a good thing I don't get invited to many Christmas parties.
If I followed the tips, I could look like Santa sans the padding. I especially liked the one about Christmas cookies. Since Christmas parties are only for a few days once a year, indulging in some "celebratory calories" couldn't hurt too much.
Merry Christmas to one and all, and may we remember the reason for the season.
John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.