This Year, Start Some New, Healthy Holiday Traditions

The next six weeks are all about traditions—the special food, decorations and activities that have been a part of your family for years and that have been passed down from generation to generation. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room in your season for some new traditions. And since you’re starting from scratch, you can make them healthy! Here are three ideas to get you and your family started with a new holiday tradition and make new memories:

  1. Run a holiday race. Holiday races can get the whole family, even the kids, out of bed and moving. Plus they’re a lot of fun! Holiday races are hosted around Michigan for walkers and runners, but here are five that are worth lacing up your sneakers:
    • Detroit Turkey Trot: For the 33rd year in a row, Thanksgiving morning is when runners and walkers gather in Detroit. Choose between the Mashed Potato Mile, 5K or 10K (or both the 5K and 10K, known as a Drumstick Double). You can definitely run in your normal racing gear, but costumes are heavily encouraged. Stick around afterwards to watch the Thanksgiving parade on the big screen in the Cobo Atrium.
    • Petoskey Turkey Trot: Start off Thursday, November 26 by burning some calories before sitting down for the big feast. This race, which is a 5K run/walk, starts and stops in downtown Pennsylvania Park.
    • Grand Rapids Turkey Trot: This race’s slogan is “use our feet before we eat,” and that’s exactly what you’ll do through the 5K course. Have a little one who wants to join in? There’s a free mini trot for kids. And you’ll be doing something good for the community: Proceeds from the race help fund interscholastic athletics for students in kindergarten through 12th
    • The Ugly Sweater Run in Grand Rapids: Everyone loves an ugly sweater – why not take a jog while wearing one? This year’s 5K race is on December 5th and includes prizes for the best ugly sweater, best pet sweater, and best real (and fake!) mustache and beard.
    • Lake Orion New Year’s Resolution Run: If your New Year’s goal is to sweat off those holiday treats, Lake Orion’s Resolution Run on January 1st will start your year off right. Choose between a 5K or a 1.5-mile fun run.
  1. Volunteer together. Remind your family that this time of year isn’t about receiving, it’s also about giving. There are hundreds of great organizations around the state that could use your help; here are three to get you started:
    • Meals on Wheels: Many seniors are unable to go grocery shopping or prepare traditional holiday meals for themselves. Meals on Wheels is there for them and the holidays are one of their busiest times.
    • Isabella Community Soup Kitchen: Soup kitchens like this one, which is located in Mt. Pleasant, could use your help as they provide Michiganders with a safe place for a hot meal.
    • Big Family of Michigan: Support the 14,000 Michigan children in foster care by participating in gift drives and gift wrapping fundraisers.
  1. Get outside. Michigan winters don’t have to leave you hibernating until spring. The snow, cold and ice can create beautiful outdoor activities that the family will love—especially during the holidays. Check out a holiday village like Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village, which has fireworks, carolers and horse-drawn wagon rides. Or head to your local outdoor ice skating rink. One favorite: the Rink at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit.

If you’re looking for other ways to find joy this season, check out these other blogs:

 Photo credit: Elvert Barnes

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