Traditions May Be the Secret to Happiness During the Holidays

When you think of the holidays, chances are there are specific moments that you just couldn’t imagine the season without. Continuing long-held holiday traditions, such as making Grandma’s famous casserole recipe, playing Trivial Pursuit on Christmas Eve, watching A Christmas Story with your family or hitting up the local ice skating rink with friends, can actually improve your mental well-being. It’s not just that they’re fun in the moment, traditions also give you an important connection with your family and the past.

Family traditions during the holidays allow you and your family to look back and bond over shared memories. And getting a little nostalgic, which is natural this time of year, can give you a reassuring sense that as much as things change, they also stay the same. There’s also the logistical benefit to having traditions: Everyone has packed social calendars this month, but having a can’t-miss event like a night where everyone decorates cookies, a Sunday spent caroling or an early morning hike on your favorite trail brings everyone together at the same time.

If you don’t have any holiday traditions but want to start some new, healthy ones, here are a few ideas:

  • Get outside! Activities outside (yes, even in the snow) aren’t just for kids. Getting out in nature is a great way to spend quality time with your family. Pick the activity (skiing, sledding, ice skating or snowman building) and start a new tradition this year.
  • Bake healthy treats. Explore our Pinterest board to find healthier versions of your traditional holiday cookies and cakes. Then gather everyone around for a giant baking party.
  • Help others. Charitable giving and volunteering is a great tradition to start because it benefits others in your community as much as it does your family. This also takes the emphasis away from the material aspects of the holidays and keeps the focus on what’s really important.

For more ways to make this holiday the healthiest yet, check out these other blogs:

Photo credit: OakleyOriginals

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