10 Ways to Make it a Delightful December

Hi! Catching up from the weekend? We ran a Color Vibe 5k and also have a new sister for Bell. I’ll be posting Caroline’s story later today, but in the meantime, here are some ideas to Carpe December πŸ™‚ It’s definitely one of my favorite months, and while I wish it didn’t go by so quickly, I love to savor every little moment. Here are some of the things I’ll be doing to make December even more delightful:

1) Take a drive to check out Christmas lights, bring a mug of hot cocoa and blast some holiday tunes. In Tucson, we have a neighborhood called Winterhaven, where each homeowner is encouraged to have elaborate light displays. It’s pretty amazing, and they even have trolleys and hay rides that will take you through the property (or you can walk). One of my favorite houses has a Wishing Tree, where you can write a wish on a small sheet of paper and attach it to paper chains adorning an enormous tree. This year, it will be even more special to have Oliv with us and enjoy the trolley ride with Kyle and Meg, who got engaged at Winterhaven last year.Β 

Fountain 1

2) Focus on short and effective workouts and aim to maintain. The holidays only come once a year, but my philosophy is to live it up while they’re here. There will be times where I’m lazy with the family instead of getting in a workout, and will feast on copious amounts of the grammie bars madre makes. When I do have time for a quick gym session, I’ll focus on making them as effective as possible, and aim to maintain my current fitness. I would like to have a big fitness goal when I finish my next half, but probably won’t really get started until after Liv’s birthday.

Side plank bottom leg raise

Looking for some quick routines?

Here ya go!

Holiday HIITΒ 

Knockout Workout

Turkey Day Detox Circuit

HIIT and Steady Cardio Workout

Funfetti Blitz

Any Ab Burner or Tabata Thursday video

3) Organize. Since the holiday seasons tend to be so busy with events and parties, it’s a great time to up your organization to minimize stress. I have a small notebook that is always with me, so it’s easy to jot down to-dos, blog ideas or grocery lists.Β 

4) Treat yourself to a cozy new sweater. Whoo hoo for holiday sales! I got this sweater in my StitchFix box and know it will get a lot of use from now until spring.

Stitch fix

5) Girls’ night cocktail and some holiday movies. My favorite holiday movies aren’t actually “Christmas movies”- just chick flicks centered around the holiday season. I absolutely love The Holiday and Love Actually. For a festive cocktail, I’ve been eyeing these margaritas….

6) Dine In! I’m so excited that so many of you are joining in the Dine-In December challenge. Enjoy as many meals and snacks at home as possible, and be sure to check-in via the app or website each time. The more you check in, the higher your chances of winning a $100 lululemon gift card. Bonus: dining in is a great way to save some extra cash this month to prepare for any New Year’s savings goals.Β 

Dinner 3

7) Play secret Santa with homemade treats or a small gift. I adore Secret Santa or similar events- we’re having a small one at work. I think one of the best parts about this season is taking the chance to give back to others, and a great way to do this is surprise someone you love with a small homemade gift or little treat. If you’re still stumped on gift ideas, check out these holiday gift guides, too.Β 

8) Volunteer. While this time of year there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of volunteer opportunities, I try to be mindful of the fact that there are people in need ALL year. People who need food, warmth, shelter, all over the world, all year. In addition to the usual holiday philanthropy opportunities (there’s an abundance of food drives, Angel trees and clothing donations), I’m going to make an effort to give back through some events on base for the airmen. It’s hard to be away from home, especially during the holiday season, and I’d imagine it would be even harder preparing for deployment alone, or coming back to an empty house. Anything that can be done to boost morale is worth participation.

Choc cookies

9) Listen to this Michael Buble song. Swoon, melt, repeat.Β 

10) Kiss someone you love.. mistletoe is optional πŸ˜‰Β 

Tree 2

I hope you have a very happy and healthy December! What are you doing to make it a delightful month? What are you looking forward to??



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  1. China on December 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Awesome list! And, heh, Cold December Night is my favorite Christmas song. LOVE.

  2. NYC Fit GIrl on December 3, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I am looking forward to spending time with my friends and family!

  3. Katie@ skinnyminniemoves on December 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

    You look great in that plank picture! πŸ™‚

  4. RachelG on December 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Gina, thank you for this post! I didn’t think I’d have time to work out tonight because after work I need to run right to the new house to paint and organize. After reading this I realized that now we’re in a house without neighbors below us so I can do a hardcore HIIT workout in the dining room. WOOHOO!! πŸ™‚

  5. Liz @ Southern Charm on December 3, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Great list!! I actually just got done, well almost minus my junk closet, my house!! it feels amazing especially knowing how busy I will be in the up coming weeks!

  6. Kimberly on December 3, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Love both of those chick flicks and always want to watch them around the holidays…another fave Christmas Vacation!

  7. Karla @ myhighonlife on December 3, 2012 at 11:59 am

    This list is fantastic! Michael Buble’s Christmas CD is fantastic.. probably one of my favorites πŸ™‚

    I am focusing on quick, effective & intense workouts this month too. I just don’t have the time to devote to the gym like I usually do.

    During Thanksgiving I served food at a homeless shelter and it was such a humbling experience. Looking to do something similar around Christmas. Or I heard about ‘Project Smile’ on my morning commute and something so easy and meaningful that I want to do this year πŸ™‚

  8. Sarah @ Yogi in Action on December 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I love this list! I’m with you as far as making December as great as possible- as I LOVE the holiday season! And it always seems to be over before you know it.

    I will definitely be doing most/all of the things on your list!

  9. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on December 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks for the linking up the exercise ideas. I’m in need of switching things up a bit. πŸ™‚ My husband and I plan on driving around to look at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music next weekend–one of my favorite December traditions.

  10. Julie on December 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I’m going to do all of these things. The last one, um, might have to go find someone first.

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm


  11. Simone on December 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I want to get outside daily, rain, snow or shine, whether its for a run or walk getting fresh air always makes me feel better

  12. Joanne on December 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Hey Gina – love your blog – one of the first I go to every morning. πŸ™‚ Love Actually is my all time favourite movie. Four Christmases is also another favourite. They are both stored in my PVR for enjoyment whenever the mood strikes.

    For fitness over the Winter I will keep teaching bootcamp leading up to the holidays and I have started getting up before work and running again. I live in Canada and its dark / cold so it’s to the treadmill for me but I’m not letting that stop me. Besides running and bootcamps I do your exercise options as well as bodyrock circuits for variety. Lots of good options out there. πŸ™‚

    At work we are sponsoring Christmas hampers for families in need and so yesterday I spent the day baking some goodies to “sell” today at work. A great feeling to be helping others in whatever way we can.

    Have a great day and I look forward to hearing the story of Bella’s new “sister”. πŸ™‚


  13. Amanda @ .running with spoons. on December 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I’m so loving all of these ideas. This is my favorite time of year and I’m planning on milking it for all it’s worth. I welcomed the new month by decorating all weekend, and you can bet that copious amounts of cookies, movies, lights, and Michael Buble were involved. I actually really want to get into some volunteering as well, so I’ll be looking up places this week where I can give some of my time.

  14. Ashley Smith on December 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I LOVE WINTERHAVEN! My husband and i got engaged there two years ago and the wishing tree is my absolute favorite. We’ve gone every year since I was a little girl! <3

  15. alyssa - life a la wife on December 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I am looking forward to volunteering this December and picking a child from the angel tree to buy christmas presents for.

  16. britt on December 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    having oliv around is definitely going to make this year so much fun for you!! i love the michael buble Christmas CD! in fact, i think i actually bought it after you raved about it so much last year. we have had it on everyday since a week before thanksgiving. we’re THOSE people πŸ˜‰

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      i’m right there with ya πŸ™‚

  17. Alicia @NeverEverBeenSkinny on December 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    There used to be a place here in So Cal that had amazing Christmas Lights. It was in Ontario but it has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller as the years gone by. Now its barely there. I really hope that doesn’t happen to your plan in Tuscan!

    You had some great ideas!

  18. Shannon on December 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    The Holiday & Love Actually are the 2 I rotate between almost every day, even just having them on as background music. Then I like to throw in the actual Christmas movies a couple of times a week for good measure:)

  19. Anna @ The Guiltless Life on December 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Great ideas! I especially agree on super quick workouts for December so you don’t miss out on time with the family but also don’t completely derail yourself (!), the cozy sweater and the volunteering, and also the Christmas movies – Love Actually is my favourite as well and I totally consider it a Christmas movie! After all, “Christmas is all around me…” haha.

  20. Emily @ Emily Eats and Runs on December 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    What an awesome list! I’m excited to spend time with my family and friends and to bake lots and lots cookies!

  21. Grace @ Practicing Grace on December 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I just organized a huge soup kitchen volunteer activity over the weekend with my yoga studio. It was so great. I love being able to give back and affect others. Buble is very swoon worthy–I have glee holiday pandora going 24-7. You MUST try it

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

      ohhh will listen to that on our next car ride

  22. lena @lenaandthebear on December 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I always love your “10 ways” at the beginning of each month. As part of my new project, my goal for December is to “celebrate home”, especially as this month lends itself to the task so well.

    I’m so glad you mentioned volunteering in your 10, though. As I strive to celebrate home this December, the counterpoint has to be remembering just how blessed I am to have a home, a loving family, and so much to give – if only I take the time to connect with it.

    Thanks, Gina

  23. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on December 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Great list! This month I’m looking forward to going home for the holidays, baking lots of cookies, watching Love Actually with some friends, catching up with my high school friends, and enjoying time with my family!

  24. Sarah on December 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    You look BOMB in that work out pic! Just FYI! Inspiration alert πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on December 3, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      wow, thank you!

  25. Danica @ It's Progression on December 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    such a fun list…and I love that sweater!!

  26. Bek @ Crave on December 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Love this! Definitely going to be employing these- I can’t wait to go looking at Christmas lights πŸ™‚

  27. Gina @HealthLoveandChocolate on December 4, 2012 at 1:35 am

    I love all of these! I am planning on making my December delightful my spending as much time as possible with friends and family while I have a much needed break from classes.

  28. Lucie on December 4, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Love that list! Especially the drive to check out the christmas lighting. I love to stroll through our neighbourhood and see at all the beautiful decoration. and then head back home into the warm house and having a comforting dinner or a cup of tea!

  29. Meghan @ After the Ivy League on December 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Great list of things to do in December, love it! I agree that this time of year, it’s all about the short, effective workouts. Make the most out of the 20-30 minutes that you do have, and don’t worry that there’s less time for the gym. It just means more time with family! Organizing is great to do this time of year too, esp after Christmas. It’s a yearly tradition for me to clean out my closets and make room for the new goods!

  30. Chelsa on December 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    What a great list!

    I’m doing the same thing, just trying to maintain my current fitness level and not aim too high during this season. Come January 2nd I’ll motivate myself to go harder. Just completed your Dec. workout a 20 minutes ago and loved it. Thanks for your blog, it’s in my top 3 favorites of all time that’s for sure!!

  31. Natalie on December 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Love the sweater!!! Can you tell us the brand of it?

  32. Herbivore Triathlete on December 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    This is a great list of ideas. I’ve been stressing out about how to enjoy the holidays and still fit in working out and not gaining a ton of weight or losing fitness level. I need to take your advice and relax and just do my best.

  33. matt on December 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    One thing I love about the holiday season is the amount of movies being released at the box office as well, along with the classic ones being shows on TV at home. Sometimes you just need to get out of the house, and sometimes you just need to have a movie night with friends, not necessarily watching Christmas movies. We’ll be seeing the Hobbit and Django at the theater; at home however, I’ll be using the Hopper to record as many classic favorites as possible. I work a lot at DISH, so I love having a DVR with 2,000 hours of recording space. Most of the movies we want will be airing at some point on the big four networks, so I’ll also be setting my PrimeTime Anytime feature to catch them all. PTAT records the entire primetime lineup on all four major networks, and with that kind of recording space, I’ll be able to store them away until next year! Now, I’ll be able to have non-holiday movie night to watch movies, and can record all the Christmas movies simultaneously in another part of the house!

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