I love getting gifts. That’s not a hint. Okay, maybe it’s a bit of a hint. Who doesn’t though, really? I would argue that people who say they don’t like receiving gifts are either lying, or they have some deep emotional issues. Not that I’m casting judgement or anything.

Despite my delight in gift-receiving, I’m just going to go out and say it: I don’t like getting chocolates and baked goods as gifts. This puts me in something of a quandary. Because as I said – I still love getting gifts. And I love that someone was thoughtful enough to get me a gift. Truly. But here’s the thing: I don’t really want the hundreds or thousands of extra calories you’ve just given me.

Maybe I would feel differently if I was someone who possessed a spectacular degree of willpower. Unfortunately my ability to resist overindulging in cookies, pastries, chocolates, candy, and fruitcake is largely based on avoidance. So what do I do when I receive these delights as gifts? Ordinarily I eat them up. Usually within 24 hours.

This is not a good thing when more than a couple of people give out tasty gifts.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that I’m not the only person with this problem. Actually I know this for a fact. Here are a few of the comments I have received from people who did our 8 week Get Lean challenge, in response to the question, “If you indulged, was it planned? If not, what happened?”:

“Someone brought a huge bag (of M&Ms) into work and I was craving a sugar rush.”
“colleague brought in cake and everyone was having some”
“No! Someone gave me a big chocolate egg as a treat. I HATE that! Now I have enough willpower to not purchase the things that weaken my resolve, but when it’s dropped on my desk?? People have to stop showing affection with food! End of rant. ”
“It wasn’t planned. My boss brought us donuts. ”
“A friend came over and brought cupcakes. Can’t really say no to that without sounding rude or obsessive about my weight.”
“At a very limited menu was offered an indulgence by someone who I hold on a pedestal- so felt rude to turn it down. … indulgences in the company of others is def a downfall.”

Maybe it’s late in the season to be offering this advice, but next time you think to give someone baked goods or chocolates as a gift, ask yourself whether this is actually a good choice. If the person you’re gifting to doesn’t eat a lot of sweets, or is actively trying to cut back, maybe you’re better off giving something else instead. You can never go wrong with a card that is either hilarious or personal and thoughtful. Well, if you give this card to the wrong person, it might be wrong (if you are easily offended, maybe best to not click for the large version):

(If you’re in Ottawa and are looking for, um, less traditional Christmas cards, check out The Village Quire in Westboro).

If you happen to make the best [insert type of sweet or baked good] on the planet, then of course don’t deprive the world of it! The world needs more delicious. But consider a smaller quantity. Less is more when it comes to sweets.  Similarly, if you’re thinking about store bought sweets, consider a small box of truffles instead of a big box of chocolates.

What do you think? Do you like giving or receiving sweets?

Elsbeth Vaino, is a personal trainer in Ottawa Canada who empathises with people who wish their friends and colleagues wouldn’t bring so many candies and baked goods into the office.

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  1. If personalised mugs aren’t easy to find, I’d much rather be taken out or invited over for a meal over sweets!

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