Susan P Harrison of SusanSweats: What Do the Holidays Mean to You?

Photo Credit: Evan Taylor Gunville

Photo Credit: Evan Taylor Gunville

The holidays are here, which are such a magical time for everyone, but especially for children.  As I think about my childhood, I remember cold & snowy afternoons spent baking with my mother, decorating the tree and the entire house with both of my parents, and perhaps my most favorite, bottomless cups of hot chocolate with the biggest, fluffiest marshmallows.  Yes, adittedly, the holidays can be an incredibly stressful time for us as adults. Somehow we become taken in and obsessed by the “must do”s and the “should do’s”… and our “to-do” list grows ever lengthier by the day.  I do believe that the most important aspect of this time of year for our children and for our families, however, is building and making memories.  The magic of the season allows us so many opportunities to discover secret stolen moments with our little ones - whether it be reading stories, going ice skating, taking long winter walks, or simply cherishing some special down time in between the hustle and bustle with our children.

It’ is so interesting the things we think are important to our children, versus the things which actually are.  I am always amazed when months or years later, my little ones say things like “remember that time we did this…” when I really thought it was such a small insignificant event - for them it was everything.  Not to sound cliche, but it truly isn’t the gifts, it isn’t the presents that they remember from year to year… it is the little things.  The singing songs together in the car, the holding hands while skipping through the park, or the impromptu dance-a-thons in the living room.

In our family, my husband is Jewish, I am Catholic, and our children celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.  The other day, a friend of theirs was over the house for a playdate.  She said, “Wow! You are so lucky. You get double the presents because you celebrate two holidays!”.  My little boy looked at her and said, “Yes - we are lucky because our family gets to be together all the time.”  I hope he always feels that way.

This holiday season, I wish for you to take the time to just be. Be present in the moment: for you, for your children, for your family.  Take advantage of the magic inherent in the season to create special memories with your children that can last a lifetime.  We are given opportunities every day to become closer to those we love.  Take advantage of them and build memories!

Contributor: SusanSweats | Susan Potok Harrison @susansweats; Check out her blog at

Bio: Susan worked for 15 years on Wall Street before she became a mother.  She is a die-hard fitness addict whose love affair began in 2012 when she took her first Barry's Bootcamp class, and has continued with other programs and studios in New York City.  As a lover of food and life, it quickly became apparent that as she got older, she needed to be more mindful of her fitness and nutrition.  No longer comfortable in her own body, getting winded when climbing flights of stairs, and tired of buying clothes in bigger sizes, she knew she had to make a change.  When her twin sons turned 3, Susan set a goal of becoming fit and healthier.  Shedding 35 unwanted lbs through sheer determination and lots of sweat, she is a firm believer in the power of fitness.  She holds a BA in Comparative Literature and Theater from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband and twin boys.

SusanSweats is a lifestyle & fitness blog to help inspire people to reach their strongest potential in body, mind & spirit - no matter what age.  Susan tries to sweat every single day, and believes the most important training you can do, is training for life.