I don't give up anything for Lent anymore except Lent itself. Lots of people use this time to go on some kind of abstemious regimen--no sugary snacks, no fast food (would that mean, for Canadians, no poutine!?)--that kind of thing. Every year I think about how Lent has meant giving up things that are GOOD for us, not just our bad habits. My parents kept the church's fast every year of their adult lives (except Mom, when she was pregnant or nursing), and that involved consuming far less (good, home-cooked) food than they were used to eating.
'Twasn't easy, McGee. They got hungry and tired, they got headaches, they got crabby--and most humans soothe these minor complaints by having a snack. Snacks were not allowed during Lent--no eating between meals! My dad went even further by giving up his bad habits, too: no smoking and no alcohol! My siblings and I could bear witness to the pain of this sacrifice! He got pretty owly, cooped up in the heart of winter with no smokes and no highballs after work.
Actually, it's too bad Dad gave up his highballs. Drinking beverages, including alcohol, was allowed during the fast. And if he had continued to have his nightly Jim Beam and water, according to Canon Law he could have eaten snacks so he would not get drunk. If only we had known! We would have stood on the kitchen stool to get the ice cubes out of the tiny freezing compartment of the refrigerator and had his highball glass loaded waiting for him to pour in exactly one shot of whiskey after he walked in the back door at 5:30 p.m.
There is almost no church rule you can't get around if you know your Canon Law. Of course, the red beanies won't tell us these things now, especially when they're gaining such ground with the right wing being hard noses.
I think for Lent I'm going to have more of what's good for me (greens, berries, homemade pasta) and less of the stuff that'll take me out early (bacon, hot dogs, anything made with high fructose corn syrup). That'll be my gift of gratitude for the miraculous life I share with everyone else on the planet.