THE STRAIGHT UP
Schrödinger's Christmas Present The Magic of Anticipatory Savoring
The single greatest sorrow in my life may be the fact that we never get snow in South Carolina. I’ll admit, that’s a bit dramatic. But as a kid, I was sad that Christmas didn’t look like the pictures in storybooks. I have always loved Christmas. I love the music, the decorations, the food, and above all else, I love gifts. I’m a gift shaker. Even today, if you give me a present, it better be wrapped securely because the first thing I’m going to do is shake it and guess what it could be. As a kid, I loved the gifts that were beneath the tree weeks before Christmas because I got to shake each one and try to figure out what’s inside. I got so good at guessing that my parents started to wrap my gifts in elaborate ways to throw me off the scent. They even put extra things inside the box to make it sound different when I shook it. Their efforts made guessing even more fun.
getting her every year. I couldn't even think about it around her, because she could figure the gift out frommy brain waves! It must be genetic. Over the years, some people have said that guessing right somehow ruins the surprise, but we’ve never felt that way. If I guess right, then I’m excited to be right. And if I’m way off, then I get to be surprised by what my present actually is. I like the game of guessing gifts because it’s like Schrödinger's cat; until I open the present, anything could be inside! While I still like guessing gifts around Christmas, I tend to be more excited these days about giving gifts. Not to brag, but I’m a pretty great gift-giver. I like to surprise people and pick out things they didn’t know they wanted. When I buy presents for my friends’ kids, I most look forward to seeing their pictures on Christmas Day. Of course, Buster gets presents, too. Sometimes I am so excited to give someone a present that I make them open it early! My joy of guessing and giving gifts falls under a phenomenon called anticipatory savoring, which is just a really fancy way of saying you’re looking forward to something. Some people can get as much enjoyment out of looking forward to something exciting as they do experiencing that thing. High expectations can lead to disappointment,
but the difference is that I’m not expecting anything specific when I look forward to a trip, gift, or holiday. I’m more looking forward to experiencing what happens, whenever that may be. Anticipatory savoring is part of the reason I love Christmas so much. Starting the day after Thanksgiving — or maybe a few weeks before — we start to get ready for Christmas. There’s music in the stores, colorful lights on every building, kids lining up to see Santa, and holiday magic in the air. Even if it never snows, I love that we all get to look forward to Christmas and the holiday season together. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all. I hope you have something wonderful to look forward to this season! –Dr. Leslie Pitner
This passion for guessing gifts comes frommy mom. She could always figure out what I was
“WHILE I STILL LIKE GUESSING GIFTS AROUND CHRISTMAS, I TEND TO BE MORE EXCITED THESE DAYS ABOUT GIVING GIFTS.”
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PLAN YOUR FAMILY’S CHRISTMAS CAROLING PARTY HereWe Come A-Wassailing
Have Songs Picked Out Will your caroling group perform classics like “Silent Night” or something silly like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”? Get everyone on the same page, print out sheet music, and practice before the big night. Dress for Success Some carolers wear matching scarves, while others go out in full Victorian-inspired costumes. Whatever dress code you decide on, dress for what the temperature will be after dark.You don’t want your caroling to get cut short because of frostbite. If you are caroling outdoors, add reflective tape and flashing lights to your clothing so your party can be seen by passing cars. Don’t Make Everyone Sing One of your kids may be ready to rock around the Christmas tree, but what if another would rather get coal in their stocking than sing in public? That’s okay! Nonsingers can still participate in caroling Not being able to see the progress you’re making is one reason why wearing braces can be so frustrating. My teeth are perfectly straight, so I don’t need orthodontic treatment. But if I did, I wouldn’t want my pretty smile hidden behind braces the whole time! Not only does wearing braces mean avoiding tasty foods, it also means that with all the metal in the way, you can’t even see if the treatment is working! It is working, of course. But I know a lot of patients get discouraged after dealing with braces for so long, especially when they still have months of treatment ahead. And when they finally reach the end, some patients are even more nervous about getting their braces off! They can’t appreciate their beautiful new smile because they’re distracted by how “big” or “weird” their teeth look. This is just because your teeth might look different after they’ve been covered by braces for almost two years.
In some families,
by ringing silver bells or handing out candy canes at the door.
caroling is an annual event, while others stick to watching the characters sing at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” If
Bring Gifts Small goodies like bottles of cider, homemade Christmas cookies, or candy canes are always sure to spread holiday cheer.
you want to make Christmas caroling part of your holiday traditions, we have some tips to help make your outing
Keep the Party Going! After a night of singing your heart out,
everyone deserves a treat.When you get back home, enjoy some traditional wassail or hot chocolate.Warmup, enjoy leftover cookies, and spend time with your loved ones. It takes a little planning to pull off a great caroling party, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just try to have a
the best ever.
Plan Early Calendars fill up fast around the holidays, so if you want to include people outside of your household in your caroling party, send out invitations early.You don’t want your caroling gathering to be a bust because all your guests had other plans.
good time.You don’t have to sound like a choir of angels to bring joy to the world.
FROM THE OFFICE OF BUSTER
The Importance of Tracking Your Progress
G’DAY, MATE! The end of the year is coming up fast, and that means it’s time for NewYear’s resolutions. I resolve to get more cuddles in 2019! A great way to achieve your resolutions, no matter what they may be, is to track your progress. This is because tracking your progress influences your behavior in a number of ways. By making note of our habits and progress, the mere measurement effect encourages us to improve ourselves. If you know where you started, you can set realistic goals that help you commit to long-term change. You can better appreciate how far you’ve come, which can help you get through a rough patch. • • •
But illusions or not, it can really take away from the excitement of finally having your braces off.
With Invisalign, your smile isn’t hidden behind an “Under Construction” sign.You get to see the progress you make every day and know all your hard work is making a difference.
The Tooth Fairy Goes International Toothy Traditions Around the World
Every night, children in houses all over the U.S. crawl into their beds with anticipation, their recently lost baby teeth stashed carefully under their pillows. Why? They await the arrival of the tooth fairy, of course! Nearly everyone has at least one memory of falling asleep with a tooth under their pillow and waking up a dollar or two richer. While the tooth fairy we know and love didn’t flutter her way into the American social consciousness until the 1920s, other countries around the world have their own tooth-centric traditions dating back several centuries. My Dog Ate My …Tooth? Rather than sliding the tooth under your pillow, throughout Central Asia, it's traditional to put the tooth into a delicious fatty snack and feed it to a dog. Children take part in this tradition to ensure that their adult teeth grow in to be as strong as the dog's teeth. No dog?
No problem! The next best practice is to bury the tooth by a tree so that the new tooth has strong roots. El Ratón de Los Dientes One of the most beloved myths in many Spanish-speaking countries involves a magical mouse. This mouse goes by Ratón Pérez or El Ratón de Los Dientes, and he is exactly what his name suggests: a mouse who collects teeth. Like the tooth fairy, Pérez gets the teeth only after they’ve been lost and put under children’s pillows. In Argentina, a lost tooth is placed in a glass of water before bed. When Pérez shows up, he’ll drink up the water, grab the tooth, and leave his gift in the empty glass. Toss Those Teeth In countries like China, India, and Japan, kids will toss their teeth rather than hide them
under their pillows. Teeth lost from the lower jaw are usually thrown up onto a roof, while teeth from the upper jaw are tossed onto the floor or ground. The logic behind this practice is that the strategic placement of the old tooth will help the new tooth grow in strong.
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH WITH ALMONDS
3 delicata squash (about 1 pound each), halved and seeded 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup roasted almonds, preferably Marcona, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon agave nectar Chopped fresh chives, to garnish 4. Remove squash from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and top with crushed almonds, chives, and a drizzle of oil and agave nectar. 5. Serve immediately.
1. Heat an oven to 350 F. 2. On a workspace, brush cut sides of squash with olive oil and season cavity with salt, pepper, andAleppo or paprika. 3. Place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
Inspired byThe NewYorkTimes
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5953 Wescott Rd. Columbia, SC 29212 803-781-5225 Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.drpitner.com
What Could It Be?
The Ultimate Christmas Caroling Checklist Celebrate Your Progress The Tooth Fairy Goes International Roasted Delicata Squash With Almonds
The Most Holiday Fun South of the North Pole
‘Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol’ Where: Trustus Theatre, Columbia When: Nov. 30 to Dec. 22 Admission: See website for tickets. Website: Trustus.org/event/jacob-marleys- christmas-carol In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” a greedy miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, learns the true meaning of Christmas thanks to a visit from four unusual ghosts. This year, Trustus Theatre puts a new twist on the Christmas favorite and examines the very first ghost to visit Scrooge. After redeeming his business partner, did the ghostly Jacob Marley escape from his own chains? That’s the question this hilarious, terrifying, and emotional play aims to answer.
Holiday Lights on the River Where: Saluda Shoals Park, Columbia When: Nov. 30 to Dec. 31; 6–10 p.m. Admission: $20 per car Website: ICRC.net/event/holiday-lights- river-49 Light and color illuminate these cold winter nights at Saluda Shoals Park. Columbia’s most magical Christmas tradition returns with over
Famously Hot NewYear Where: South Carolina State House When: Monday, Dec. 31; 6:30 p.m. Admission: Free Website: FamouslyHotNewYear.com NewYear’s Eve only comes once a year, so why not celebrate in a big way? The Famously Hot NewYear bash is the biggest NYE party in South Carolina, and it’s a celebration for all
400 animated displays and a million shining lights. Don’t forget to stop by the winter wonderland for marshmallows, train rides, crafts, and a laser light show. Who knows?You might even get a picture with Santa Claus himself! This is a holiday tradition you'll want to share with your family.
ages. While the grown-ups enjoy live music, dancing, food trucks, and their favorite adult beverages, kids can have fun with rides, games, and face painting at the NYE Carnival for Kids. Start the new year with your whole family at the best party in the state!
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