by Valerie Nusbaum

You probably just read my column title and thought to yourself that unless one gets the flu, it’s nearly impossible to lose ten pounds in one week, not to mention that it could be unhealthy to diet and exercise to such an extreme. You’re absolutely correct, but now that I have your full attention, let’s discuss some other important issues.

First of all, did I tell you that I bought myself an elf costume? It was in a moment of weakness. I was shopping at the The Village Outlets in Gettysburg, and I wandered into a lingerie store and saw the elf outfit. Randy was sitting outside on a bench waiting for me; he refuses to go into a lingerie store ever since I gave him a hard time for buying me padded hangers in Victoria’s Secret.  Seriously? All that sexy, seductive stuff hanging there and I get hangers? And this was back in the days when all my parts were perky. 

Anyway, the elf suit is really fleece pajamas, but I figured, “What the heck?” Randy has a Santa suit, and since he insists on walking through our neighborhood at midnight on Christmas Eve with me forced to accompany him to keep him from being arrested, I thought that maybe I should dress up, too.  As I said, it was in a rare moment of weakness.

I brought the costume home and forgot about it until one night when Randy was standing at the sink and rinsing some dishes. I scooted upstairs and slipped into my elf jammies, complete with hat, and walked back into the kitchen, announcing that I’d done a dumb thing. Evidently, my dear husband wasn’t expecting that dumb thing to be me buying an elf outfit, let alone me actually putting it on. The look on his face was priceless. To his credit, he tried hard not to laugh, but he couldn’t look at me. I don’t think it dawned on him that I could see the reflection of his face in the kitchen window. As of this date, it remains to be seen whether I’ll wear the outfit on Christmas Eve or any other time.

Last year we went away for Christmas. Since it was just going to be the three of us (Randy, Mom, and me), we decided that staying at home and staring at each other was not sounding like much fun, so we booked a suite and an adjoining room at The Dunes Manor in Ocean City, Maryland. The old hotel was decorated beautifully, and most of the other people staying there for Christmas were in the same boat that we were, and they were glad to have some company. Everyone was merry and friendly, and having the bar just off the lobby didn’t hurt for some of them. We left home on Christmas Eve, stopped for brunch on the way down, did a little shopping just for the fun of it, and checked into the hotel in time to judge the gingerbread house contest, write a letter to Santa, and have afternoon tea. We went out for dinner and had Italian food, which is kind of a tradition in my family, at least when we’re not celebrating Christmas Eve with my aunts and cousins in West Virginia.

On Christmas morning, we spent some time on the balcony, gazing out at the ocean. Then, we exchanged some presents and had a light breakfast from room service.  Afterward, Mom rested and made phone calls and read, and Randy and I went out for a drive. We went back to the hotel, changed into our dress-up clothes, and headed down to the dining room for a fabulous buffet that none of us had to cook.  This might sound like a lonely holiday to some of you, but it was really quite nice. As I said, everyone else there was in the same situation, and it was very cozy and warm. The staff was exceptional, especially considering that they were all working on Christmas day. We even found filled stockings hanging from the doorknobs of our hotel rooms.  After dinner, we joined some others in the lobby for a carol sing-around-the-piano. I can’t sing at all, but I didn’t care one bit.

We drove home the day after Christmas, stopping to do a little more shopping (sales!) and for crab cake sandwiches at Kent Island. No, we didn’t spend the whole holiday alone. Randy and I threw a party just before New Year’s, and we had a house full of family and friends. We even did a Yankee swap. It was such a lovely time that we’re thinking of doing it all over again this year—the trip to the beach, not the party. We had a Halloween party this year, and we’ve been going out with friends and family a lot lately. The hubby and I are not party animals, and we’re both pretty worn out, not to mention that we’ve been eating all the wrong things. Too little rest and too much food can’t be good for us.

Which begs the question: Does anyone know how I can lose ten pounds by next week? I have to fit into my elf costume!

Happy New Year to all!

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