Healthy Holiday Survival Guide

Christmas family

(like the faux beard?!)

It’s our first holiday season in our new home. I was very much looking forward to this time of year. How our family usually does it, is have many little parties/gatherings at the various family homes. We have a lot of December birthdays on this side of the fam so we tend to see a whole lot of each other from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day.

Two of my aunts, two of my cousins, and one uncle celebrate in December. We have thanksgiving (though we did it at a restaurant this year to switch things up) then a random holiday party, our Christmas Eve Soiree, Christmas Morning at Gram’s, Christmas dinner at my aunt’s, then New Year’s eve party at my aunts. By the end of the year we’re fat, happy and sick of each other.

This year we planned on adding an event to the December craziness. The OKDani household has to represent in the party fun, so we decided on making a tree-trimming party! We were thinking apps, drinks (nog, ciders, all that good stuff), games, decorating the tree, and the requisite cards and dominos.

Unfortunately our Christmas season is all topsy turvy this year. I’m a lil bummed. My parents and brother are not coming down from NY. My aunt’s house is in the middle of a reno so that knocks out two events and poor planning on my end knocks our tree trimming party off the social calendar.

John and I are only going to be hosting a mini Winter Solstice Celebration for a few people. Outside of that we just have one b-day celebration, and the two Christmas day events.

Despite the “paring down” of our festivities this year, I’m all prepared for a healthy, happy, holiday party month.

Here’s my Holiday Survival Guide:

holiday survival guide

Skinny Cocktail Recipes

I’ve gotten into this in recent years. I like making skinnier versions of sweet cocktails. One of my faves is the skinny mojito. You can save a lot of calories (that you can then spend on dessert #justsayin). Instead of using sweet soda you can do it this way: 2 oz Rum, 1/2 a lime or so, mint leaves, a packet of sweetener, club soda.
Muddle together lime, mint and sweetener. Add your favorite rum, shake a bit and pop it in a glass. Fill the rest of the glass with club soda.

So easy!

I bring it to parties and to Christmas dinner, and will be making it for our winter solstice celebration too.

Fully Stocked Necessities/Basics

It’s easy to forget the basics sometimes when entertaining. I can’t tell you how many times John has had to run out for ice when we have a BBQ. Not this time. I stocked up on basics like extra cups and Viva paper towels for the big messes in the kitchen and Cottonelle and scented candles for the bathrooms. I also got cute canisters of Kleenex to keep on display and holiday scented wax melts for our warmers to keep the house smelling great. (PS: You can get cash back with the Ibotta app on the brands mentioned above at Walmart –I’m talking a few bucks back, not a few cents!–. I told you about that app here.)


(How cute is that canister? I’m going to put one in my car too, fits right in the rear cup holder.)

Healthy Versions of Favorite Recipes

This part of my plan is for both my and John’s waistline, along with easing the burden on the hostesses. I’ll be bringing a healthy side dish for meals and a low-sugar dessert. (Along with my “dranks” I mentioned above) My family loves to do traditional Jamaican foods with a few southern/soul food type items. I’ll bring a low carb veggie dish or a warm quinoa salad of some sort. The dessert I usually bring is mini-cheesecakes (made with sweetener in lieu of sugar).

Stocking Stuffers/Extra Gifts

I racked up in the clearance sections for simple treats like coloring books and small games to plump up the kids stockings. Fun fact, outside of the little sign above, and a mini tree on the counter-top, the kids’ two stockings are the only decorations we’ve put up so far. Also picked up small gifts on sale to give in the white elephant exchanges and to our hostesses. It’s nice to have extra “generic” gifts with broad appeal for any forgotten recipients. #giftcards 🙂

And most importantly:

A good attitude and sense of humor

This goes for any time of the year, but the hectic holidays make it even more of a necessity. Sense of humor will get you through all the mistakes, messups and issues that are sure to pop up when you host an event. And a good attitude will get you through the entire season with all it’s craziness, demands on time, demands on money, and lack of sleep. And…when your evil elves (otherwise known as your preschooler and toddler) do things like this with the Scott toilet paper that you had stored in the hall closet… you’ll be able to laugh it off.

kids scott toilet paper mess

We’re still going to have an amazing holiday season. John, the kids and I are celebrating the winter solstice, Christmas and Kwanzaa. I’m so excited. Next year, my parents and brother will be down, and all the family’s homes should be in working order so we’ll have ALL the parties like usual.

What’s your holiday party plan?!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  1. Laura J says

    We are going to my parents house…all the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will be coming. I really love your A good attitude and sense of humor!!! So true this time of year! I always say I want to be done with my Christmas shopping by the first of December so I can really relax and enjoy December…but I always seem to still be shopping the last week! Maybe next year!

  2. Julie Wood says

    I like the Skinny drinks and the healthy recipes during the Holidays. I hope you have a lot of fun in your new home, and we will be going to my sister’s house on Christmas Eve. We get the family together and take pictures and have dinner and exchange gifts. It is a lot of fun.

  3. Laura S says

    We’ve got 2 job related parties to go to and then get togethers at our families. We had thought about hosting a New Year’s Eve party this year, but then I got scheduled to work (hospitals have to keep going 24/7 every day of the year).

  4. Betsy Barnes says

    These are all very helpful! We are staying home this holiday season, small Christmas Eve gathering with family and friends, then, dinner the next day 🙂

  5. Rachel says

    Not much plans this Christmas. I’m disappointed to not be able to see my parents as they are moving soon. The good news is they are moving closer!!

  6. says

    We’re staying here and chilling!!! The in-laws are coming down after Cheistmas, but for the most part it’ll be a “peaceful” just the three of us time.

  7. says

    Enjoy your first Christmas in your new home! It sucks when things don’t go as planned, but you just keep on chugging and there is so much holiday happy to go around that it will be okay.

  8. says

    Great post. Love the pictures of the kids tearing into the toilet paper.

    I can’t wait to try a skinny mojito. Its a great idea to cut back on cals anyway you can.

    p.s. Those elves look adorable.

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