We Just Call It Christmas

In England we don’t call it the “Holidays”… we call it Christmas. Depending on your stand point you could say this is a classic example of British traditionalism … or a lack of cultural sensitivity. Either way, it is something that has stuck out for me as the festive season picks up speed. You see, prior to moving here my understanding of the American Christmas was derived from movies like “Christmas Vacation” or “Home Alone” and television. On the flat screen the American Christmas did not seem so different to the English one. How wrong I was…

Having observed the different traditions and nuances of both countires I have to say in my humble opinion there are both positives and negatives. I like what America brings to the food and beverages department… Egg nog, Gingerbread Houses and Spiced Pumpkin Lattes. Delicious. I think it is also fair to say that you do not do decorations by half over here. Stores and homes go all out and it looks great!

That being said, I think there are is one area where you could learn from your cousins across the pond… Christmas music.

Now don’t get me wrong, Bing Crosby, Jingle Bell Rock and something about Grandma getting run over by a reindeer… they all put me in the festive mood. However, listening to the “holiday station” in the car, I have encountered for too many truly terrible songs. I don’t know the names of half of them, but there’s a Faith Hill Christmas song that almost brought me to tears… and not in a good way. I’ve heard countless versions of the drummer boy, although I’ve yet to make it through the whole song, and in between these horrendous tunes I’m forced to listen to the cheesiest DJ’s to grace a microphone.

Now, it wouldn’t be right of me to just bash your music without at least providing a British alternative so I give you The Pogues and Kirsty McCall – FairyTale of New York

Merry Christmas!

Time Magazine’s Year in Health: Yoga

Thank you to one of our clients for bringing an interesting article in today about yoga and eating disorders. This excerpt comes from Time’s annual The Year in Health article, which focuses on important medical topics and developments from 2009.

“A session of yoga for teens with anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders may provide more than a spiritual and physical boost; it could also help them get over their illness, according to a new study of 50 adolescents, mostly girls. The girls were seriously ill — nearly half had been hospitalized because of their eating disorder — and were being treated at an outpatient clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The teens were randomized to receive either their usual treatment at the clinic or that treatment plus two hours a week of yoga classes.

The study lasted eight weeks. While the non-yoga teens showed improvement during treatment, they relapsed a month afterward. In the yoga group, improvement started slowly, but a month later, the teens were showing steady gains. The exertion required by some yoga poses had no negative effect on weight, which was reassuring — the last thing dangerously underweight subjects needed to do was shed more pounds. The researchers suspect that yoga may help by reducing the obsessive concern about weight associated with eating disorders. In their study, they wrote, “Food preoccupation may be reduced by focusing attention on yoga poses.” Some subjects even expressed this idea directly to the researchers. Said one: “This is the only hour in my week when I don’t think about my weight.” A larger study is planned to confirm the findings”

Kate P