Baked on the Bright Side

The Gift That Keeps on Giving, by Guest Blogger Kristin Beltaos, M.A.

November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. The holiday doesn’t demand that I riskily ignite fireworks and run, dangerously scale my house to create exterior illumination that rivals the neighbors or look for a groundhog’s shadow. Thanksgiving simply requires me to be grateful…and grateful I am.

So often I hear people rejoice and grumble about the holidays. There are so many stresses out there…the spread of unsafe food for the allergic and intolerant…whether Aunt Bethany will wrap up her cat as a Christmas gift…perhaps cousin Catherine will dry out the turkey…or Uncle Lewis will set fire to the Christmas tree with one fatal ash from his cigar. Whoops, I started to think about National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie, instead of real life.

But seriously, so many of us have a sigh of relief when the holidays are over. I hope to persuade you to live this year’s holidays to the fullest.

Sure I think we all start with good intentions at Thanksgiving…and then slowly but surely our intentions spiral out of control when hopping from party to party, decorating, shopping for those perfect gifts, completing holiday cards and cooking and baking up a storm. Who wouldn’t want a holiday away from the holidays? Add a dash of food allergies or intolerances to the season of celebrations and our stress levels can put us over the edge.

On top of the mayhem listed above, we live in a society that socializes, celebrates and rewards with food. How do we keep the meaning of our traditions alive, even in the midst of food challenges?

I think it’s about working with life’s challenges and ensuring that you keep adding value to your family’s rituals and traditions. Not sure what I mean about value?

The value is what you share as a family, and it is also what you will pass along to generations to come. Perhaps we confuse an activity like a meal, making cutout cookies or how we decorate as an end. The truth is our activities are a means to an end: to experience the value. That value may be emotional, spiritual or social. Those are the feelings and values that we want our family, friends and ourselves to remember. It’s not about gosh that’s a mind-blowing, good tasting cutout cookie…it was the experience of making those cookies that we remember. It’s what I remember every time I pull out my mother’s cookie cutters and carry on that tradition, that experience, that value, with my boys.

While I know that cousin Eddie might get irritating wearing his green dicky under his cream sweater, drinking eggnog from a moose mug and pontificating about how wonderful his Rottweiler named Snots is…

Remember that the holidays are about the time that we spend together, the value that we create, and the tasty food we partake of is a wonderful accent to our rituals and traditions. And as cousin Eddie said, “That Clark is the gift that keeps on giving!”

About Kristin Beltaos, M.A.

Kristin Beltaos, M.A. is life/business coach and owner of A Gift of Miles and creator of The Scrumptious Truthä, a food allergy and intolerant education and support program. She provides national life coaching and support services to those dealing with Stress Management, Food Allergies and Reproductive Challenges via telephone, web conferencing and in-person in a variety of clinics in the Twin Cities. Prior to her life coaching business, Kristin was employed and independently consulted for a variety of companies in the areas of business and strategic planning and marketing. Kristin also served as a board member for the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota. Her eldest son has multiple food allergies to: dairy (by touch and ingestion), eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame.

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