December 14, 2009
Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Yet for many of us, the sacred aspects of Advent are lost in the holiday shuffle and it can become the unhealthiest time of the year. Sweet foods seem to be everywhere. Shopping, baking and traveling leave us tired and stressed.
This season, use these traditions to change unhealthy habits. Think of the holiday season as an opportunity to spend more time with family and friends. Build traditions that encourage healthy living during the most wondrous time of the year.
1) Do-It-Yourself Christmas. Get outside and gather twigs and other materials from your neighborhood or yard. Create your own manger scene or crèche. Make ornaments. Consider using these ornaments to start a tradition of making a branch tree. Gathering the branches can be part of your tradition.
2) Sunrise Walk. Take a sunrise walk as a family on Christmas morning. Make time for silence on the walk. Find a stopping point along the way and read the Christmas story.
3) Animal Christmas. Animals surrounded Jesus and his parents in the manger. Volunteer at your local animal shelter and take a dog for a walk—good for both of you.
4) Praying through Advent. In this time of stress, take a small Sabbath every day. This relieves stress, giving you time for you and God. Use these prayers>>
5) Healthy baking tradition. Instead of more batches of sugar cookies and brownies, make granola or a healthier sweet together. Replace sugary holiday breakfast treats with a giant fruit salad. Use this recipe for Honey Almond Granola Bars>>
6) Christmas dance. Have a Christmas dance party. Dance and sing with your children to your favorite holiday songs. Make an event of it and invite family and friends. Children love to see adults being silly!
7) Visit a tree farm. Pack up the family or a group of friends and visit a Christmas tree farm. Walk through the fields to find the “perfect” tree to cut down and drag back to the car. This is a great way to get active as a group.
8) Run/Walk race. Many cities have races on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. Gather together a team of family and friends to run or walk together.
9) Healthy Advent calendar. Instead of a chocolate Advent calendar, have a crèche Advent calendar. Have a prayer each day on the journey that Mary and Joseph made before Jesus’ birth.
10) Vigorous caroling. Plan a caroling route that covers several miles. Combine singing and walking for some carols.
In collaboration with Wellness Education at Church Health Center.