Whether it is decorating the tree, caroling, snow shoeing or preparing delectable truffles, ‘tis the season of traditions.
Take a minute and think of your fondest memories of the holidays. How many are connected with food? You will likely have one column that’s food related and one for “other”. I would dare guess the majority of our holiday traditions and memories fall under the “food” column. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just might explain the average American’s holiday weight gain of 5-10 pounds.
The holidays typically combine meals with family & friends. However, there are many traditions unrelated to food that can bring together your loved ones. I love warm apple pie with ice cream as much as the next, but I really don’t want my holidays to be all about food. There needs to be a balance.
My family is still fairly young (kids ranging from 1 to 8 years old). I have a friend, in a similar season of life, ask me what traditions we have as a family. I had to stop and think. During Halloween, we carve pumpkins. When it’s Thanksgiving season, we have a “Thankful Tree” (write notes, with things we are thankful for, and tie them on a tree/house plant). Our Christmas includes sledding, seeing Christmas lights downtown and the 12 days of Christmas for a neighbor. I then thought back to what my family did growing up. One of my fondest memories was serving Thanksgiving to the homeless. My mom has the tradition, when grandkids sleep over, she reads stories to them while having a “campout” by the Christmas tree.
I set a goal to increase healthy yet memorable traditions. I look at it as recreating tradition. The Internet is full of ideas simple to ornate. I did not want this to be a “mom is making us” type of activity. I pulled a few ideas that would fit our budget, age range and abilities, then let the kids vote. It’s amazing how quickly kids get on board when they feel it was their idea.
Here are some possible ideas:
o Cut down your own Christmas tree.
o Make homemade ornaments.
o Go caroling.
o Volunteer at a charity, nursing home, hospital or shelter.
o Sign the family up for a holiday 5-K walk/run.
I would love to hear what other non-food holiday traditions you have with your family. Please share in the comment section below.