Christmas with the Bensons

The Bensons are one-of-a-kind, to say the least. My family is made up of a caring mother who is a nurse, a lively father that works around the clock at his law firm, and a sister who shows her strength daily by playing rugby for the USA in addition to studying to be a chiropractor. As for me, we all know I beat to my own drum- heck my college coach even gave me the nickname “Abbienormal”. So when it comes to Christmas, there is no surprise that we do not celebrate the holiday as most Americans.

Every year our family chooses a country and Amy, Michael, Catherine, Abigail, Joann, Chip, Odelia, Wyland, Adie, Kathy, Lauren, Ella, Patrick, and whoever else decides to show up that year, will celebrate it how the chosen country would. (When I say family chooses- what I really mean is Amy has the final say).

Whether it is waking up at 4 am to make saffron rolls, pretending we all really like to drink Glogg, dressing up as Knecht Ruprecht, carving a TurDuckEn, or opening a piñata – our family has had our fair share of memorable Christmases.


Celebrating a Swedish Christmas

Our tradition takes some of the stress out of the holidays. As fellow spice girl, Haley said weeks prior, the holidays can be balanced. Christmas no longer needs to be about the food but can be about the true meaning of Christmas: religious beliefs and celebrating the love between your family & friends. Sometimes it is nice to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Additionally, the family recently started a new tradition. Instead of swapping presents, we participate in an activity as a family. Through this endeavor, we have used muscles we didn’t think we had while zip-lining trough Ellicottville, jet-boating through  whirlpools of Niagara, and Laser Tagging!

Best way to work up an appetite!

Go into this holiday season knowing you do not have to be perfect- you do not have to avoid every single dessert. Continue to work on your Mindfulness! It is okay to have a day where all you do is watch Christmas movies. Just remember one cookie cut-out will not make you gain 20 lbs, while eating salad for dinner will not make you drop 2 dress sizes. There is no magic pill, everyone should eat a variety and use moderation when it comes to the less nutrient rich foods (egg nog, cookies, pie, casseroles). Because I truly believe everyone should eat all meals with enjoyment and not  be filled with guilt causing them to avoid eating, which can cause bingeing later on.

Do you remember this picture? Mindful Eating is eating when you’re hungry (not stressed or ecstatic). Therefore eating is much more pleasurable!

I felt that I could not end this post without a recipe. If you are similar to my family and like trying things new here is a spin on mashed potatoes. Growing up, we served this during the fall/winter as a side favorite. Turnips are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and it been studied along other cruciferous vegetables to lower your risk of cancer!

Mashed Turnips!


  1. Peal, wash, and quarter turnips (around 7)
  2. Boil for 35 min or until tender
  3. Strain and rinse
  4. Add turnips to a large mixing bowl with Salt, Pepper & 2 tablespoons of butter. Use a fork to mash the turnips into smaller pieces.
  5. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays, Love Cinnamon 

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