10 Ways to Have Happy Holidays—No Eating Required

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Whenever you hear the word Thanksgiving, what is the first image you picture? The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Your guests sitting around the T.V. watching the football game? For many of us, it is a time for family and friends to sit around a festively dressed table with a nice roasted turkey sitting in the middle with lots of side dishes scattered around. It is a day we give thanks, but it is also a day many of us will eat a hearty meal of turkey, fixings, and lots of yummy, tasty desserts.

But what if you had a few fun-filled activities to participate in that did not involve food preparation and eating, would that help make the holiday a little less stressed about being around all that food?

Below is a list of a few fun-filled activities, both indoors and out that may inspire you and your family to get up and move, while taking the focus off of the food.

  1. Take part in your local Turkey Trot or Thanksgiving Day run- Many cities across the country host an early morning run/walk event for all fitness levels. Check Active.com or visit your local running specialty store to see if they may know of an event in your area.

  2. Take a walk with family and friends- If your city doesn't hold a Turkey Trot event, how about holding your own with family members? Walking is a great way to begin the day and get moving.

  3. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen or nursing home- With many people out of work and others living on a limited income, soup kitchens are expected to overflowing with people seeking a hot meal this Thanksgiving Day. What better way than to spend a couple hours donating your time helping others.

  4. Have a Wii-Fit or Dance, Dance Revolution tournament- Not only are you going to have a great time with family and friends, but you will be sneaking in some exercise while having fun, too.

  5. Take a family photo- For many Thanksgiving is the ideal time to take the yearly family photo. The weather in most parts of the country is still warm enough to go outside to take a photo of the family amid the beautiful fall skies.

  6. Hold a Thanksgiving Day scavenger hunt -Who doesn't like going on a scavenger hunt? Come up with a list of items such as acorns, oak leaves, pumpkins, pine cones, even objects you have hidden ahead of time for your guests to find. Whoever finds all the objects on their list first has a special seat at the table.

  7. Play a friendly game of flag football, soccer or even basketball- For many this is a family tradition that is just as important as the Thanksgiving feast itself. Not only do we get in some nice activity, it gets your guests out of the house while enjoying the crisp fall temperatures.

  8. Play a fun game of charades- Try choosing holiday themed answers such as pilgrims, The Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, Turkey, etc. Here is a link how to play charades for those who may not know how.

  9. Play board games such as Trivial Pursuit or Pictionary- Break up into teams and have a friendly competition. Just imagine the fun to be shared as new family traditions are being made.

  10. Share family stories- Thanksgiving is a great time to sit down and listen to stories from our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, etc. One of the biggest regrets I have is not sitting down with my Grandparents and listening to their childhood tales. This is a great way for us to connect to our past.
These are just a few ideas I have, but I do hope you will share a few of your own family traditions and ideas that may help others take the focus off the food and place it on giving thanks for sharing a wonderful day with family and friends.


What are some of your non-food activities you and your family participate in? Is there a special activity that you would like to do this Thanksgiving that you have never done before?

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Good ideas... Report
Wonderful ideas, thanks for sharing. Report
Yep, my husband and I are running in our first 5K Turkey Trot. I hope it's not raining here in the Detroit area! Happy Thanksgiving! Report
Those were some great ideas. I think we are going to incorporate a few. I don't have dance dance revolution but some other games that will work I think. Report
Is that you and your daughter in the picture? Report
I hope I at least get a walk in after dinner. Report
My family rents a hall. We dance, play video games, and play board games. It's a lot of fun and stops mindless munching. Report
I will walk and visit family...and then the next week I will watch my son graduate from Navy Basic Report
My DD and I are going to take a walk after our meal. Later we are playing Apples to Apples. Report
I am going to treat Thanksgiving the same as any other day. I will continue with my workout and watch my food intake. Report
We are having a Wii-Fit tournament. Report
I'll probably go for a walk. Maybe my daughter will come with me. Report
Thanks, this is just what I needed. I need to keep busy this holiday season. Report
This will be our third year of Turkey Trotting in Detroit. My daughter and I love doing it! Such a healthy start to one of the biggest eating days on the calendar!! Report
I would love to do more than overeat and lounge around stuffed and half asleep afterward, but I'd need a new family or some friends to share the day with for that! Report
The local YMCA is hosting a "justify your pie" event with a sampler aerobics class (a bunch of different styles all crammed into one hour) and a run/walk. Admission proceeds are going to charity.

So it's win, win, win, all the way around!

http://www.genevafamilyymca.org Report
I never knew about Active.com I think its great! Might get out and do a Turkey Trot Early in the Morning :) Sounds like fun! Report
We are doing a turkey trot this year- some are walking the 5k, some are running the 10k. It's just a good way to get out there! Report
We always watch the NFL games on Thanksgiving. I'd love to do a turkey trot, but we never have anything like that around here :( Report
We are spending Thanksgiving at home this year, just the two of us (and the pets) in our jammies, with a few select Thanksgiving favorite foods. We will probably watch some movies, and it will be very fun.

DH and i WERE going to BE in the Seattle Macy's parade. Our Saint Bernard was going to be pulling a cart and I was going to walk it. (Our local club is going - there will be 15-20 Saints and carts) Totally cool, huh? Unfortunately I found out a week before I couldn't get the time off. DH was still going to go, but our dog ripped his toenail off (ACK!!!!) today so no parade for them either. But NEXT year, we will go. Report
Sounds good to me. Report
Last year I participated in my first 5k at our local Turkey Trot. It's now becoming a tradition. Report
Funny, I just wrote a blog about this last night. I suggested people watch some food-related movies that show the dark side of overeating such as "Supersize Me." There is a new film that should be out soon called "Lbs. The Movie" ( http://www.lbsthemovie.com /).

Love the idea of using the extra time off with family to get moving. Traditionally, we run the Seattle Half Marathon (before my injury). This year I'll be riding my bike to various check point to cheer on the runners.

Whatever we do this year, I think we should make the word "Thanksgiving" mean thanks for having enough instead of a celebration of eating too much. Report
The last few years we've gone for walks as a family in either a nature reserve or at a beach. Report
With my boyfriend's family, we tend to play music (except I just listen!) and play a lot of card games. I'm hoping the weather is good so we can go for a walk before and/or after the big meal. I can't convince anyone to do the local Turkey Trot or volunteer at the open door food kitchen on Thanksgiving, unfortunately.

With my family, we usually cook together, clean up together, and then play Scrabble. Report
After a big Thanksgiving dinner,we all go to the local bowling alley!...We have a great time!..Grandparents,children,grandc
hildren and any friends who shared dinner with us!...Hugs,Mona Report
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