By Ashley Spivey
My first holiday season in New York almost resulted in my return to the south. I was so unhappy, felt so unhealthy, and was functioning like a frozen zombie/Scrooge mashup, barely existing on a vicious cycle of pizza and champagne. Christmas is my favorite time of the year — and I couldn’t wait to for it to all be over. As someone who has now successfully survived six years of holiday party circuits in NYC, I have a compiled a little holiday party guide that will help you make it to 2015 with your sanity intact, and all of your friends will still love you.
Keep Up Your Workouts, and Make a Plan
The absolute best advice I can give during these next couple of weeks is to effectively plan your workouts around your parties. Have a holiday party that night? Make sure you workout the morning before. Are you going to attend an office rager until at least 2AM? Go ahead and schedule an afternoon workout. You know you’re gonna have a hangover, and stubbornly won’t cancel that 6am morning class. Think of all the presents you can buy people with the money you’re going to save on no-shows and late fees!
Keeping active during December requires some strategic class planning. Do a SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, or other type of cardio class if you know you’re going to pig-out at the dinner party later that day. Choose workouts like SLT and barre classes for the afternoons with the hangovers. If you have enough time to fit in a workout before the parties that night, definitely pick one that won’t require a shower after so you can quickly get ready for the event. Ideally, I try to work out 3-4 times a week, sometimes 5 times if its been a particularly boozy week; just do your best to stick to whatever your normal routine is during the year, however often that may be. And speaking of boozy weeks, hot yoga is an amazing detox on Sundays. Most importantly, make sure to take rest days and get lots of sleep on the weekends — you’re gonna need it.
Eat And Drink Like You Normally Do
People tend to eat and drink with abandon during December. This was me before I started paying attention to what I was consuming: Breakfast - Holy hangover, I need a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel pronto. Lunch - Feeling remorse, must eat a salad. Dinner - RED WINE. Shit, I forgot to eat dinner and there’s only light bites here. RED WINE. Hovering around the cheese and cookie plate for way too long. Late night - Give me all the pizza!
Try to stick as closely as possible to what you normally eat — and what you normally drink when you are out on the town — and you will stay feeling your best. Obviously there’s some wiggle room, but if you normally have a few cocktails, there’s no reason to up it to 6-7 cocktails just because it’s the holidays. A couple other tips:
- Always eat dinner before the party. Starving yourself will most certainly result in you getting way too drunk or ordering late night Domino’s. If you eat a proper meal, you’ll be less likely to fill up on unhealthy appetizers and you’ll have a great base to drink on.
- Vodka soda is your friend, learn to love it. Of all the cocktails, it is one of the cleanest cocktail options out there. Champagne is another great option, but it always results in me having the worst headaches of my life the next morning. I like to start off with a celebratory glass of champagne, then switch to vodka sodas or white wine for the rest of the night.
- Throw in a glass of water in between drinks to stay hydrated and coherent. Stick with sparkling water with a lime, if you feel awkward ordering water.
- Try not to mix alcohols. That whole beer before wine thing isn’t true. Reality is if you have a beer, switch to liquor, and finish it off with wine - you will spend the rest of the night feeling awful.
Know When to Call It
Making yourself go home is essential to making sure you will be rested and feel amazing the next day. Before you go out set your wake up alarm, and an alarm that will make you take your ass home. You need to sleep, and take care of yourself once you get home, also. I’m a huge fan of stocking my fridge with coconut waters that I chug before bed. Tums, Advil, and Pepto Bismol should be stocked in your medicine cabinet in case you need them before bed or in the morning.
Take Care of Your Skin
I know this sounds crazy in a party-going guide, but make sure to take care of your skin during this time of year. Your face is already dry from the cold, and drinking is going to dry it out even more. Keep face wipes by your bed if you are too lazy to wash your face and make sure to moisturize. I adore Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery line and you will too when your face doesn’t look swollen, wrinkly, or dry for the next month.
Keep It Simple, and Say “No” With Grace
Now that we’ve tackled how to maintain your body and make good choices, let’s focus on how to support your friends and favorite businesses and maintain your sanity. You’re going to have 20 parties to attend, 50 friends and businesses to keep happy, and only a couple of hours every week to do this. Learn the power of no. You aren’t going to be able to make every party or please everyone. Focus on parties where you will see the most friends, maintain the best relationships, and don’t travel too far to do this. Party-hopping doesn’t make sense if you are going to be stressed out, low on cash, and have sore feet from all the dancing and walking. However, send a sweet gift or note if you can’t make the bash. A sincere regret is always better than an insincere, last-minute flake.
The holiday party circuit doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be a great opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family — just make sure to take good care of yourself as well! And despite all the strategies in this guide, let yourself have pure, unbridled fun for a couple nights. Hangovers are worth it once in a while, if you have great memories to look back on. Here’s to ending the year on a good note so you have less New Year’s resolutions for 2015!
Ashley Spivey is a girlfriend, nanny, professional partier, and workout enthusiast. In her spare time she likes to be a movie snob, try every fitness studio in New York, and document everything on Instagram. You can usually find her at Bandier, Shake Shake, Bounce, or on the couch watching a million DVR’d shows. She was once on a reality show, has a ton of useless knowledge, and has a disturbing affinity for Fireball. Ashley lives in NYC in a tiny box with her boyfriend Steve and their dog Jackson.