I love holiday picture books. I have memories from when I was a child of special holiday books being brought out of storage in December, along with the Christmas decorations. The books felt rare, special and full of excitement and magic. I could sit for hours flipping through these books that I hadn’t seen in a full year. Some had stories of families at holiday time, with images of snow, gingerbread houses, and candy canes throughout. Others were books about different holidays and cultures and how people celebrate. I loved books about the food people traditionally cook for different holidays and if there was a recipe included, I’d be sure to try it out.
One book I remember well, and has been reinforced by several big screen movies, is The Grinch That Stole Christmas. You may know the story: the Grinch is an unhappy being that systematically steals Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. He dresses up like Santa Claus and jumps down chimneys, stealing presents, decorations, even Christmas trees.
How Diet Culture Steals the Holidays
When I think about how diet culture has seeped into the holiday season, it feels just like the Grinch. Diet Culture is the Grinch that tries to steal the holiday joy. Diet culture, the belief that eating a certain way is morally superior to other ways of eating, and the idea that certain body types are better than others, has found its way into all aspects of our culture. The holidays are no exception.
The Grinch is:
- Holiday recipe ingredient swaps to make it “healthier.”
- Comments about holiday season weight changes
- Saying you’ve been “bad” when you eat a traditional holiday food.
- Comments about what others are eating/not eating at a gathering
- Worry about more desserts being around this time of year
Focus On What is Important
The holidays will be different this year, due to the pandemic. There will be smaller gatherings and many of us will feel grief from not celebrating in the ways we always do. This year, more than ever, I want to focus on what is important to me this holiday season and keep diet culture out.
So, over the next few weeks. We’re going to be posting about how to not let diet culture steal the holidays. We will post tips throughout the holiday season on how to stay grounded in feeding yourself and your children and focus on little glimmers of joy. We will be using the hashtag #dietfreeholidays and invite you to follow along and use the hashtag in your posts, too!