Holiday Tradition Family Walks — A Healthy and Heartwarming Activity

I’m willing to bet that most people feel a little fear when they think of the holiday season — not much, but it’s there. It’s overwhelming how all those tantalizing aromas and delicious flavours can make us look forward to the holidays while simultaneously sticking a nagging fear in the back of our minds: how to avoid getting too stuffed. If healthy eating is your thing, then check out Holiday Overeating: Guilt-Free Fulfilment. But if you’re into getting active, then read on about my holiday tradition family walks.

We've taken holiday tradition family walks down snowy Lafrenière Road (pictured) in Noëlville a few times...

This may come as a shock coming from a hiker, but I used to say that walking isn’t real exercise. I know, I know — don’t say it! That was over ten years ago — obviously I know better now (winky face).

But I had to mention it because one of the things that changed my mind was holiday tradition family walks after huge holiday meals. Trying to be healthier, we began making it a habit to go for a walk in the late afternoon, before dark. I couldn’t believe then how much these holiday tradition family walks helped relieve that disgustingly full feeling.

After a few years, I noticed that I wasn’t putting on any holiday weight anymore, either. Holiday foods are richer than everyday foods, so weight gain can still be a factor even without overeating. But obviously exercise helps with that!

And city-dwelling family members have always loved spending the time outdoors. Everyone has noticed the benefits of our holiday tradition family walks, even if it has somewhat changed from year to year.

Some years, we walked along a low-traffic country road. At other times, my father built an ice trail connected to a rink on the lake in front of the house, motivating impromptu hockey games. We’d walk or skate the trail every day. Of course, we got to use it long after the holidays were over, which was great! My parents have moved, so now we can take out the snowshoes and use the backyard bush trails. We’ve got some spare sets of snowshoes for family members who want to join in on our holiday tradition family walks.

When we used to go out walking, it would be with aunts and uncles and cousins. Now many of the cousins, including my siblings, have kids of their own. Perhaps because the kids were too young and it was harder for the mommies and grandmas to get away, over the past few years, my family has forgotten its holiday tradition family walks. Marc and I have still been going out by ourselves on our own time, but I miss spending the quality time with family. I hope to renew the holiday tradition family walks this year. Now that the kids are older, they’re full of energy at holiday parties. Taking them outside seems like the best thing to do!

Sure, we’ll all be dressed up, but that shouldn’t stop us. Back in the day, we’d just pull on our boots and go for a walk, but we weren’t making snow angels or anything. So this year, I’m planning on bringing my play clothes to holiday parties, and I’ll be sending text messages to my closest mommies to remind them that the kids should, too. And to not forget their snowsuits!

It’s definitely not rocket science, yet a healthy lifestyle can be hard to stick with at times, especially during special occasions and at busy times of the year, like the jolly season. Still, now that I’m aware of eating healthy and being active year-round (most of the time), the holidays aren’t quite so intimidating.

What kind of active holiday traditions does your family have? Do you have any tips for healthy holidays?

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