Does Celebration Have To Be Synonymous With Food?

My husband’s birthday was on Sunday. With that came food; not just an abundance of food, but an abundance of unhealthy food.

And I ate some. A few more ‘somes’ than I needed.

Apparently, I had a modicum of self-control because I didn’t gain any weight this week. I didn’t lose any either, though.

It’s got me thinking about how we celebrate. And when I say ‘we,’ I mean all of humanity. It’s not just an American or contemporary  tradition. Throughout history and various cultures, feasting has accompanied celebrations of marriage, birth, death, holidays, etc… Add to that the fact that Jesus’ first recorded miracle (water to wine) supplied drinks for a feast. We like to celebrate and we need to celebrate. And food is an integral part of celebration.

But how do we reconcile our need for celebration with the importance of self-control? Because if you’re anything like me, celebration is a license to indulge.

Maybe I’m getting this whole celebration business all wrong. Maybe I’m missing the point. Can I find joy in celebration without food? Is my happiness as shallow as that bowl of ice cream?

I didn’t overdo it for my husband’s birthday as badly as I have in the past, but I’m still not sure I can trust myself to have appropriate self-control in these circumstances.

There’s also something about reaching some weight loss milestones that makes me want to celebrate, and the first thing I always think of is food – some sort of treat. But that completely defeats the point of this journey!

So I’ve gathered some ideas on how to celebrate without food.

  1. Go to a movie.
  2. Have a board game night with friends.
  3. Take a bubble bath.
  4. Buy a new outfit.
  5. Get a facial, or pedicure, or manicure.
  6. Go hiking with family or friends.
  7. Gather a group to go volunteer.
  8. Get crafty and creative! Make something with friends.
  9. Throw a tea tasting party (tea is guilt free!).
  10. Run/walk in a race during the holidays.
  11. Take a nap.
  12. Turn up the music and dance!

These are just a few ideas. Do you have more to add to the list? Please share! I think we all would benefit from considering some of these before racing to food as our first source of celebration.

It’s inevitable that we will all continue to attend celebrations where food is involved, though. So what are we to do then?

Those are the difficult moments when we must employ self-control and have a mind focused on the true source of celebration. Often, the point of celebration is to share in the joy of others. I think the key then becomes thinking of others instead of ourselves. Enjoying good conversations with old friends or getting to know someone new, encouraging those who may be downhearted and adding to the joy of the joyful. This is how we can truly add to the celebration!

The holiday which should inspire the abundant joy in our lives is almost here – Easter. Most of us will be celebrating with packed dinner plates. But maybe we will discover that true fullness and satisfaction will come when we spend time praising and thanking God for the tremendous gift of His Son. And bringing glory to His name by sharing Him with others – might that be sweeter to the soul than the most delicious of desserts?


4 thoughts on “Does Celebration Have To Be Synonymous With Food?”

  1. i have been reading the book “The Brain Maker” by David Perlmutter, and has given me a good reason to stay true to healthful eating. Dr. Perlmutter is a neurologist, and his revelations in his book are eye opening. It is extremely difficult to celebrate and not indulge. The cookbook by the name “The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook” by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. Has excellent recipes that to prepare for you and your guests. I sometimes indulge, and go back to reading The Brain Maker book to keep me focused.


    1. Christina, it’s great to hear form you 🙂 I just read a synopsis of the book and it looks intriguing! I watched a documentary a while back that proposed some of the same ideas – health of body and health of mind being related. I think there is more to this than a lot of people realize. I hope you and Wesley are doing well these days!


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