3 Tips for Creating Healthy Holiday Traditions


Gratitude Tag
Photo by eekim

Whether you follow my blog or only read my posts here it’s evident fairly quickly I’m a misfit.

My worldview is a little skewed from other people and I’m ok with that.

I’ve learned to embrace that.

Finally, at age 43, I kinda love that.

As a result when asked to write a blog post about healthy traditions Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof” immediately popped into my head.

I spent the rest of my afternoon singing and pondering the place of Tradition! in my misfit life.

Like my beloved Tevye, tradition plays a large role in most everything we do.

We have daily traditions like our nightly prayers, holiday traditions which range from foods to familial bonding, and newly created as our daughter grows up traditions a few of which we’ve started this month.

These rituals, many of which have been passed down through generations, are important to us.

They create positive feelings, familial closeness, and serve frequently as a non-verbal way for me to convey to my daughter my own values/what’s important to me.

Sure when I examine a few of our holiday-time traditions they’re not the best examples of healthy eating or fitness lifestyle (hello potato latkes for Hanukkah! Greetings chocolate pecan pie for Thanksgiving!), but I’m OK with that.

For us these seemingly non-healthy moments fit into a bigger, overall picture of our lives.  It has taken us a while to get to this place as a family (if there’s anything shared in this life it’s the struggle to find, climb on, and stay on a healthy living path), yet we’ve finally found our way to healthy, long lasting traditions.

In an effort to spare you the trial & error we went through—I give you my three best tips for creating sustainable, healthy holiday traditions.

Tried. Tested. Family of misfits approved.

  • Take what you already do and flip it on its head.
    I recall being shocked the first year I tweaked our favorite Hanukkah dessert,
    made it healthier, and absolutely no one noticed.  It’s amazing how many
    traditional foods can be “lightened” without losing taste.  Or, perhaps, decide
    this is the year you add a new item to the traditional list.  Healthy, decadent
    tasting options (like these amazing mini no-bakepumpkin pies with chocolate crusts)
    abound…and there’s no need to divulge your healthy secret.
  • Add don’t take away.  Traditions are things we look forward to.  Traditions
    bring about warm, fuzzy feelings.  Don’t stop making your grandmother’s
    cheezy potato bake—-ADD fresh, steamed veggies to the table, too.  Removing
    items or experiences you look forward to and enjoy feels punitive.  Holidays
    aren’t a time for punishment.  Keep the favorites just add in some health.
  •  Remember, healthy holiday traditions aren’t all about food.  Make
    this the year your holiday traditions begin with a focus on gratitude. Write letters
    to family members and share what you’re grateful to them for.  Say a gratitude
    prayer at the start of your meal(s).  Stop and reflect on what you’re grateful for
    with regards to your body.  When you live your holidays/begin a holiday meal
    with an attitude of gratitude, the focus subtly shifts to the notion of food
    nourishing your body rather than overindulgence.

Does your family look forward to traditions as much as ours?

What are some of your favorite healthy holiday traditions?


*I realize this fitness blogger failed to mention fitness as part of her healthy traditions.  Consider that your heads up as to what’s coming next month…

Carla photoBe well!

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