From workplace parties to festivities with friends to family get-togethers, your calendar might be bursting this holiday season with opportunities for eating and drinking outside of your regular routine. Combine that with cold weather and the urge to curl up in front of the fire or a football game on TV, and you might find yourself feeling like a slug come January.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with five fun holiday activities to do with friends or family that are on the healthier side. While it’s certainly ok to indulge a bit during the holidays and relax your normal routine, sprinkling in some of these activities can help keep things in balance.
You’ll see that our favorite healthy holiday activities share some common traits, such as getting outside, spending time together, and being creative. They’re simple ways to get into the holiday spirit with your family while also staying active and connected.
Play games outside
Got an afternoon without much on the schedule? Don’t settle for playing yard games only in the summertime. Instead of staying inside, grab a football or a Frisbee and head to the backyard or local park. You can simply throw back and forth or play a more structured game like flag football.
If there’s snow coming down, you could build a snowman, have a snowball fight, make snow angels, or go sledding. After all, coming back inside after a little fresh air and exercise makes a hot toddy taste even better.
If the weather outside is truly frightful, consider an indoor activity like bowling, roller skating, or one of these family-friendly party games.
Take a holiday lights tour
Is there a neighborhood near where you live that is known for its vivid displays of holiday lights? Gather your family members and take a stroll to see each house decked out in its finest. You can also keep an eye out for light displays at zoos and parks, or along the waterfront if you live near the water. In some seaside towns, carol ships glide through on scheduled nights, lit up and playing holiday music.
Cut down your own Christmas tree
If you celebrate Christmas, cutting down your own tree can add a little adventure and exercise to your day. Look for u-cut tree farms selling the type of tree you’re hoping to get (such as Noble, Grand, or Douglas fir). Some specialize in larger, bushier trees and others in Charlie Brown-style trees that only a mother could love.
Once you determine where to go, be sure to bring the kids, since many u-cut tree farms also provide holiday cheer in the form of wagon rides, cider or hot cocoa, a warm fire, and sometimes even Santa himself.
You’ll need to trek a short distance to get your tree, but the farm should provide an axe, twine, and assistance loading the tree onto your vehicle.
Make wholesome and tasty seasonal snacks
If your pantry is overflowing with peanut brittle, you’ve had a bit too much buttery apple pie lately, and the kids are strung out on sugar, it might be time to whip up some substitute snacks. Here are a few that don’t skimp on flavor but are still pretty good for you. They’re also easy and fun to make with kids.
- Healthy pumpkin cheesecake muffins
- Banana maple yogurt parfait
- Vegan carrot cake smoothie
- Broccoli cheese bites
- Apple cheddar quick bread
Make holiday wreaths or ornaments
A little decoration goes a long way in spreading holiday cheer. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or something else, creating a wreath or ornament can be fun, creative, and bonding.
These days, there are so many ideas to choose from on craft sites like Pinterest that you don’t need to go far to find the right materials. You can make festive decorations out of household objects like bottle corks, ribbon, holiday light bulbs, old cookie cutters, sheet music, maps, or pine cones from the yard.
Put on your creative hat, do a little Internet searching for designs that appeal to you, and make an afternoon or evening of it.
Don’t forget to relax
With all the extra rushing around that the holidays tend to require, it’s easy to feel pressured and stressed. Look for small and manageable ways to stay active every day, don’t worry too much about the inevitable holiday indulgences now and then, and remember to put your feet up if you need to rest.