Christmas gatherings, especially with the family, can too often be sedentary. Even for the most active, healthy people who usually make the ways of well-being a priority, the models of “Christmas past” don’t involve much movement, let alone real exercise. It seems our image of Christmas is indoors and involves a lot of sitting. Maybe that’s one reason that families notice the strain, when holiday gatherings bring a sudden overdose of the people we see only a few times a year.

When the scent of mulled wine – or pumpkin spice – is moving out from the kitchen and taking over the house; when the sounds of TV football or of movies on the Hallmark Channel are overtaking the exhausted conversation; that might be the right time to suggest a family jog, or a good walk around the neighborhood, or even a touch-football match in the back yard.

Motion is good for emotion. Movement changes moods. Let’s begin this year to build in some action to the old Christmas traditions. Taking the best of our Christmas memories and moving on to make new ones is a worthwhile goal for healthy Christmas gatherings.

New Traditions of Good Eating

The holiday recess from diet restrictions might be one of those traditions we want to revisit and revise. Growing rates of obesity, with all the threats and complications that come from it, from heart attack to stroke to kidney failure to Type 2 diabetes, are reason enough to learn to celebrate without suspending good judgment completely.

Country Living offers no fewer than 15 healthy recipes that only look indulgent – and they include treats and snacks, too. EatingWell presents a host of festive recipes that keep the traditions, but cut the calories, like fresh ham with red pepper glaze, candy cane peppermint bars, and sugar cut-out cookies.

The holidays are not a good enough reason to forget that diet is second only to smoking as the top preventable danger to our health. And healthy eating is only one part of healthy holiday gatherings. Stress reduction is another key to enjoying these holidays more, and most of the tips we’ve shared have to do with recognizing and remaining in control of expectations. This holiday, with these circumstances, is the only one we can celebrate now. Let’s not let traditions become judgments.

Driving safely is key. Holiday gatherings call for celebration, but let’s not make the journey more dangerous. Even Santa had a designated driver named Rudolph, they say. Your family, your happiness and well-being are the focus of our practice. Just call us at 843-815-6468 to get started.