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I absolutely love this time of the year. To me the holidays are all about spending time with family, friends, and loved ones. My family always had some wonderful traditions growing up which I have tried to incorporate with my own family now that I am a husband/father. As I reflect on these traditions, I can’t help but notice there is a common thread to them – we were always doing something active! One issue that I hear about a lot this time of the year is how hard it is to be healthy and active. With the colder weather outside, people tend to stay indoors more and be sedentary throughout the winter months. Well not today! Today is the day we take back our activity from the cold weather; and we will do it in the form of creating some beautiful family memories! Check out 10 of my favorite traditions that you can do with your family this winter to stay healthy and active!
1. Get out and see the Christmas lights – one of my all-time favorite traditions at Christmas time has always been our annual trip down to downtown Salt Lake City to see the Christmas light display at Temple Square. Not only is it stunning to look at, but it’s great walk with the family! Find a local Christmas lights display and take your family to go look at it!
2. Delivering neighborhood presents – every year, we would always take Christmas gifts around to our neighbors and friends. Everything from hot cocoa mixes and popcorn to homemade fudge and cookies, I loved running around with my family as we would deliver these gifts to our neighbors’ homes. What better way to spread some holiday cheer, teach your children about service, and get some cardio all in one!
3. Skiing/snowboarding – every year growing up, the holiday season was the official unofficial start to the ski season! Some of my favorite memories of the holidays were spent on the slopes with my family; I have love carrying on this tradition with my family. My wife isn’t a huge fan of skiing, so every year my kids know that it’s “daddy’s thing”. I truly cherish these days of one on one time with my kids; I also love that it’s a great workout, as well!
4. Attending sporting events – One of my favorite memories growing up was going to football and basketball games with my dad. Every year we got season tickets to Utah State University football and basketball. I loved screaming, jumping, and cheering your team on to victory. Of course, there is usually a pretty good walk involved to get to and from the venue!
5. Go ice skating – one of my favorite memories around the holiday season is heading down to the local park which would be flooded into and ice skating rink. We would rent skates for two bucks and then spend hours out on the ice (Or until we were too sore from falling or two frozen from the cold – whichever one came first!). Most of the time, this tradition was usually followed by a tall mug of hot chocolate afterwards.
6. Build a snowman – whether it’s for date night or with the kiddos, the answer to the question “do you want to build a snowman?” should always be YES! We try to build one every year; my kids are always coming up with different ideas on how it should look and how it should be dressed up. The thing is – amidst the pushing, pulling, rolling, and lifting, it’s also a pretty great workout!
7. Decorate your house – stifle your inner Grinch and channel your inner Griswold as you hang lights and decorations around your house. Not only does it add significantly to the holiday spirit, walking, bending, lifting, reaching, and navigating ladders are a great way to get in some more activity!
8. Family game time – one of my favorite things to do with my family at the holidays is game night. But we’re not talking just sit-around-the-table board games… there are actually a ton of things you can do that are a lot more active! We usually all get together for a big family basketball or football game. We hold racquetball tournaments or get together for the family-favorite “Wallyball” (volleyball in a racquetball court – no out of bounds so the kiddos love it!). One year we even went and played laser tag! Get a little creative and get out and play!
9. Swimming – I know, I know… when you think of winter your mind probably doesn’t go immediately to swimming. But think about it – most swimming pools, YMCA’s and rec centers offer some sort of indoor option where you can swim and splash all through the winter months! It’s one of my kids’ favorite winter-time activities; we always go over the winter break when they’re out of school and border-line stir crazy! Keep you sanity and theirs and head down to the pool!
10. Go shopping – But please, please, please don’t bring this one to my wife’s attention! 🙂 Get off your computer this year and plan to make it in to at least a couple of stores to do some holiday shopping! It’s a great way to get up, get active, stay warm (most stores are indoors!), and even spread some holiday cheer. We usually try to take our kids and participate in an “Angel Tree” or “Sub For Santa” program where we buy toys, hats, gloves, etc for needy children. It’s been fun to watch them really grasp this concept and get into what the season is really all about.
There they are! 10 of our favorite active traditions that you can do this holiday season!
I’m curious – what are some of your favorite healthy holiday traditions? What do you love to do with your family, friends, and loved ones? Help me to grow this list and leave me some of your ideas in a comment below!
Make it happen,
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