Creating Healthy Holiday Traditions

Photo Credit: http://www.johnlund.com

Traditions during the holidays run far and wide. Each family creating, sometimes by accident, memories that bond them and provide the warm and fuzzies.

I like warm and fuzzy.

Like any family we have our traditions. Making my sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving and buying new jammies for the kids to wear to bed Christmas eve.

In the comments in my last post Fretless Holiday Fitness, my twitter pal Kris shared that her whole family has a tradition of taking a long walk together. I love that.

In the spirit of the season and building new traditions, here’s some traditions that add healthy fun to the holiday. Weather permitting, they’re things that the whole family can do together and pass down.

Do a Turkey Trot: The first Turkey Trot was in Buffalo, New York in 1896 and won by Henry A. Allison. That first race had only 6 runners, but today it boasts over 10,000 participants. It wasn’t until 1972 that the first woman ran in that race for the first time. Now they are held all over the country and there’s likely to be one in your area you can be a part of.

Play a game: Pick a physical game like Frisbee or tag football. One of my favorites is croquet and horseshoes. If going outdoors isn’t an option, you can play an interactive video game like boxing, bowling, or tennis. They really are fun. Although it’s no 5K, you’re off the couch and playing together.

Go ice skating: A piece of pumpkin pie is approximately 180 calories. If you weigh 140 lbs and you ice skate for 30 minutes, you’ll burn about 233 calories. When my family and I went ice skating the hours just flew by. You’re not even thinking about it being exercise because you’re having so much fun!

Build your first holiday snowman: Nothing says holiday season to me like a snowman. If you happen to be where there’s snow at Thanksgiving, it’s fun to build that first one. And after, it’s great to walk into a warm house filled with all the wonderful smells.

Go to a parade: I love parades. I love the celebration and watching all the kids and how excited they become when another float rolls by. Those are priceless moments we always remember. You’re outside and most likely you had to walk to where you’ll watch the parade. If possible, park farther away and take advantage of the walking time.

Hang your holiday lights: Hanging lights alone can be a bummer. In the beginning you pull out 50 strands of lights and have a grand plan. Halfway through, when two thirds of the lights don’t work and you climbed the ladder 15 times, you end up stringing them around the front door and calling it a day. That’s personally not acceptable in my book and it’s so much more fun with many hands and some hot chai tea with a bit of honey!

Volunteer: It’s one of the healthiest things you can do! One of the best Thanksgivings I can remember was volunteering at a community center on Maui. I carried that day with me for weeks after. It changed my attitude and warmed my heart. My husband and I received much more than any amount of food that was served that day and I walked away healthier than when I walked in. There’s something about thinking of other people’s needs before your own that heals you on the inside.

The holidays can be a great time to make new friends, renew relationships, and spend time with family. The time goes by so quickly. With a little thought, some self-control, and a healthy attitude, it doesn’t have to be a healthy-eating disaster but a chance to make new memories!

So now it’s your turn.

What healthy tradition does your family do or plan to do this year?

Share your thoughts!

If you’re looking for a community to help you be your very best, come join the awesome peeps over at the Sears Fit Club on Facebook. We have lots of fun and there’s always great advice, tips, videos and lots more coming!


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Comments

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Comments

  1. Fun Post Joyce! It’s funny, because before this “health” chapter, I was never a walker. But whether it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, the 3 (or 4) generations would head out in the afternoon. At my grandma’s house, we would walk around the hilly-neighborhood in Woodland Hills. We would chat, hug, switch places in the group so we could connect and chat with everyone. At my mom’s, we would head to the pier in Cayucos and walk back up the beach towards her neighborhood. We would beach comb, avoid the waves, and chat. I never really thought of it as a family tradition, but it really is. I can’t remember one holiday that we didn’t do it. What a lovely legacy of health and connection ~ sort of what we’re all looking for, eh? Thanks so much for the kind mention! Kris

  2. You inspired my post Kris– so thank you!! So many times the mere thought of the holidays becomes a negative for people trying to walk a healthy path. Your family tradition is what’s so positive about the season! I think we need to take the focus off the food and direct it to what really matters and that’s our friends and family!

  3. What fun ideas! You’re both right, the food can bring everyone together but it’s not about the food or cooking. It’s just being in the same house at the same time! We might do a turkey trot this year if the weather holds up, but if not, it’s still special just being with family.

    • Wishing you the good weather to do the turkey trot Suzanne, but like you said, it’s the people that make it so special and the rest is just side dish!

  4. We love having a BIG football game!! Friends come over and we just start playing! Even in the snow!! It is my favorite tradition because my boys love it!! We love the food, the yumminess, but above all we enjoy our friends and family the most! Thanks Joyce!!

  5. I am always about playing in the snow, and I also do a lot of leaf raking. I love ice skating…but since my surgery, I’m outta commission for a while. Which is maybe good b/c it means someone else will have to shovel the snow. LOL!!!!

  6. Great blog :) I couldn’t agree more with encouraging healthy holiday traditions. We also always take a long walk after Thanksgiving dinner. And I totally want to start volunteering around Christmas time. My gym use to put on a big day after thanksgiving work-out-athon too! I loved teaching in it

  7. Love these suggestions! I would love to do a turkey trot, but live in the middle of nowhere. I plan to workout that morning, and then, hmmm. maybe I can talk my kids and brothers into some wii sports.

  8. Great insights Joyce. My wife and I make a tradition of exercising first thing in the morning–EVERY DAY–during the holidays. We’ve found that it calms us and helps us be much more mindful of what we eat over the course of the day. After all, once you’ve worked out, you don’t want to mindlessly cancel it out with unhealthy food. PS: I stumbled onto your blog for the first time today and I feel like I’ve found my twin!

  9. Garick Chan says:

    For the holidays, my girlfriend and I love tuning into an Internet streaming radio station for Christmas music 24/7, and watching cherished Christmas movies!

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