Healthy Holiday Activities: Non-Couch Potato Style!

 

Day 12: Board Games crop

I hadn’t realized how deeply ingrained was the idea of keeping In Balance’s second “A” letter, Activity, a part of our family holiday festivities, until I recently came across a clipping of an article I wrote for Canadian Living magazine over 2 decades ago.

Called Great Party, the article focused on three secrets of how to keep guests entertained, engaged, enjoying the holiday season AND active. The tips are still valid so here they are, dusted off for the 21st century!

Break a Leg

Almost everyone considers themselves a bit of a closet Hollywood star or musical virtuoso who, if given the opportunity, could knock it out of the park on The Voice . . . so give your holiday visitors a chance to shine! Organize a party where the guests are the entertainment. Get the invitations out early enough for performances to be practised and polished (and get RSVPs on who’s performing so you can make up a program detailing each selection and artist) or simply have a spontaneous talent show. Either way-formal or fly-by-the-seat of your pants-keep food and decorations simple; the star of the event really will be the artistic gifts of the guests and the active way you keep everyone engaged!

Games People Play

You know all those games you see in the local toy store or advertised on TV but never take time to play?

Well now’s the time! Borrow or buy games that can be played in 30-40 minutes (go for boisterous classics like Taboo, Pictionary or Catch Phrase), divide guests into an even number of teams and then pair them up at 3 or 4 games tables you’ve set up around the house. Be sure at least one person in every group knows how to play each game.  Keep score, giving a set amount of points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and at the end of the evening reward the winners (or the losers!) with gifts such as take home healthy treats or tree ornaments.

The Thrill of a Hill

When you have a lot of friends you want to gather together, some of whom don’t know each other, you need a lively celebration to ensure everyone feels a sense of welcome and belonging. Enter a winter outdoor activity and a menu plan that includes guest involvement! Our “bestie” Alberta friends used to plan a toboggan party followed by a hearty baked potato supper (they baked the potatoes; guests provided a variety of tasty and healthy chili, grilled veggie and salsa toppings). If snow-covered hills don’t appear outside your kitchen window then consider gathering at a local indoor skating rink or carolling throughout your neighbourhood before heading home for a themed potluck or a progressive supper where each course is hosted at a different home.

You can even get super creative and, like we did almost 15 years ago, start a new annual “non-couch potato” tradition of your own. Because the reality is nothing says fun, family, joy and making room for turkey dinner better than the Wollenberg family’s Christmas Day flag football! Merry Christmas . . .and see you on the field!


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