I was excited when IRIS Visual Group asked me to share a look at how being an athlete makes the holidays different!
Most winters, I head south before the holidays to begin off-season training. Florida, California and even Colorado have been my destinations in the past. This year I'm in Tucson, Arizona right until Christmas Eve! I always find it funny to see snowmen and bundled up Santa Claus holiday decorations as I ride my bike by shops and houses in these warm places.
Because I'm not one to begin picking out gifts early, by the time I get into the spirit, I'm already training far from home. So most of my Christmas shopping is done online and the gifts are shipped to wherever I am. Presents that are too big to travel with get delivered directly to family back home, with strict instructions not to open until I'm back! I'll be writing Christmas cards and wrapping boxes among the cacti in the desert this year ;).
During the holidays, I love being active with my family outdoors, doing endurance-type activities like snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is great since it is accessible and fun for everyone: it doesn't require much equipment or experience. We start together and when everyone has had their fill, I often add on a longer loop before I head back inside. Other times, I'll do my cycling workout early in the morning on rollers (it's like a treadmill for a bike, that I can bring almost anywhere) and keep the rest of the day free to spend with everyone.
My favourite Christmas foods are tourtière, my Oma's Christmas Soup, and I usually make an industrial quantity of gingerbread men to share! I had a sushi Christmas dinner one year, and that was fun too. It's true that it can be tempting to overindulge throughout the holidays, so I stick to having one plate for Christmas dinner with whatever I want, but not refilling it. It's going back for seconds (and thirds!) that seems to get us into trouble.
Whether you're celebrating in the desert, in the mountains, at the beach or in the snow, I wish you all a wonderful time doing the activities you enjoy most with the people you love. Happy holidays!