Monday, 24 December 2012

'Tis The Night Before Christmas

As a mom, one of the Christmas traditions that I remember fondly was sitting down with my girls and reading T’was the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.  I remember that the version of the book we read was a big book with a blue cover.  Sitting in an oversized chair with a girl on each side of me, the book was big enough to span all three laps.

Being of German heritage we have always opened our gifts late on Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas morning.  Let me tell you that book caused me to have to do some quick thinking and fast-talking when my girls were on the cusp of not believing in Santa anymore.  “Well, you see” I would start to explain, “the world is such a big place now that Santa has to make two trips to get it all done.  One for the children who open their gifts on Christmas Eve and one for the children who open them Christmas morning.”  That satisfied them for a little bit, and let’s face it, once those gifts were under the tree they really didn’t concern themselves about much of anything other than tearing open the wrapping paper.

Still, I remember the warmth those two little bodies generated as we sat and read the story.  My girls are beautiful young women now and although I have never done it, one Christmas I will have to hunt down a copy of the book for each of them and put it under their tree … from “Santa” of course!

In our TOPS meetings I find it particularly difficult to inspire people to stay on their healthy eating plan when holidays are looming.  By the time the last meeting before Christmas rolls around they are pretty much tired of my preaching about “How to Handle Buffets”, “Tricks and Tips for Staying on Track” and “Realistic Expectations So You Don’t Spiral Out of Control”.  All good things to think about but a little tiring to hear about all the time.  The last meeting before we break for Christmas I try to keep things light and fun.  I invented a Diet Christmas Carol game last year (think a poor version of Weird Al with Christmas Carol titles).  In researching “fun” diet topics, and if that’s not an oxymoron I don’t know what is, I came across a dieter’s version of T’was the Night Before Christmas.   I thought it was amazingly creative and it made me laugh.  Surprisingly enough it is pretty much on point too.  Perfect for the close of the meeting!  Everyone loved it.  Consequently, as so many traditions begin by accident, I have closed our last meeting before Christmas with this poem for the last three years.  Not quite the same warm fuzzy feeling as sitting and reading the original with my little ones, but pretty darn close.

This rendition is all over the internet but I could not find any reference to the original author … so again, if it’s yours let me know and I would be more than happy to acknowledge it correctly.

For your enjoyment …

T’was The Night before Christmas (Diet Version)

T’was the night before Christmas
And all through my home,
My family was sleeping,
I was completely alone.

The stockings were hung
On the mantle (it’s fake),
And on the table was placed
Some cookies and cake.

Gingerbread and chocolate,
Sugar and spice.
I was sure that Santa
Would find it quite nice.

My mouth started to water,
I looked at the treats twice.
Santa would understand
If I had just one bite.

Then what to my
Chocolate-smeared face did appear?
But Santa, an elf,
And a bunch of reindeer.

Santa walked up to me.
We stood toe to toe.
He said “Those are mine,
Or didn’t you know?”

I looked Santa square
In his twinkling eye.
And said
“You touch theses treats … you die.”

You see,
With chocolate, nothing can compare
Even with Santa,
I would not share.

I’ve always had trouble with this,
To make matters worse,
Snacks go right to my hips.

But I wouldn’t give up.
Those treats they were mine!
So I told Santa Claus
He was way out of line.

He wrote my name on his list
The one that’s naughty, not nice.
Then I balled up my fist and
Punched him not once, but twice.

The scuffle that night
Was ugly to see.
We knocked over the elf,
We destroyed the tree.

Santa and I got into a fight.
It seemed to last
Almost all night.

We fought over those treats,
Those snacks and sweets.
I even stomped
On his black booted feet.

Because when it comes
To sugary snacks,
I won’t give up.
I just attack.

But Santa’s tough,
Quicker than he looks.
(And besides that
He throws a mean left hook.)

Finally we sat,
Panting and bruised.
Santa said
“This just won’t do.”

He asked
“Tell me, tell me, why do you fight?
Are these treats so precious,
That you’ll fight all night?”

“Oh Santa!” I cried,
As I massaged my black eye.
“I don’t know why I love treats!
They go straight to my thighs!”

“I know that these snacks
Will just make me fat.
But I still want them.”
And there we sat.

Santa looked at me closely,
He may have shed a tear.
And quietly asked me
“What do you want this year?”

“Oh Santa” I cried
“I want to be thin!
Though I don’t act that way.
Is that such a sin?”

“I eat more than I should.”
I continued to say
“And what’s even worse,
I have treats every day.”

“And, yes.
I know that those snacks are yours,
But cookies and cake
I truly adore.”

“I don’t want to eat them.
Really, that’s true!
Because after I eat them,
I only feel blue.”

Santa nodded
To show that he understood.
He smiled at me
As he quietly stood.

“My child” he said
“This gift you desire,
The one that you dream of,
That sets you on fire.”

“This gift I cannot
Stock on my shelf.
The only way to receive it
Is to give it to yourself.”

The gift of good health,
Being fit, tone and trim.
Cannot be given,
Even by him.

“It must be earned,”
He said to me.
“With diet and exercise,
Don’t you see?”

“There is not shortcut.
No quick fix.
No elf magic.
No Santa tricks.”

“Oh, Santa” I asked,
“Are you really sure?
All of that effort,
Must I endure?”

“My dear” he replied,
“To be truly fit,
You cannot just wait,
You must work for it!”

He continued “Cheer up!
I know you’ll succeed!
For I’ve known you since you
Were as tall as my knee.”

“You can do it!” he said,
In a voice that rang true,
“Because, my dear child,
I believe in you.”

“Thanks, Santa!” I cried,
“For the gift of good health.”
“Don’t thank me” he replied,
“You give this to yourself.”

Santa turned to leave,
Back to his work.
But at the last minute
He turned with a jerk.

“Go ahead” he said,
“I’ll leave those treats you adore.”
“No thanks” I replied,
“I don’t want them anymore.”

And then up the chimney
His sack he did lift.
As he called back to me
“Good health … what a gift!”

And I swear I heard
As he flew off in the night …
“Merry Christmas to all,
and next year – no fight!”

Merry Christmas everyone!

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