November 19, 2018

Healthy Holiday Celebrations & Traditions

This post is part of our #HealthyHolidays blog series, highlighting healthy ways to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season at home, school and work. View all posts in the series here.

When reflecting on past holiday seasons, one thing remains ever-present – the traditions you share with others. Whether simple or extravagant, holiday traditions have a way of making the winter season feel special. To kick off the holidays, we’ve asked Healthier Generation staff, partners, and representatives from America’s Healthiest Schools to share their favorite healthy holiday traditions. 

Read on for some festive inspiration and ideas for a healthier holiday season!  


"I celebrate the holidays with my family in Northern California. When I visit, I like to take advantage of the blue skies and mild temperatures to go on long hikes along the coast with family and friends!" 

Nora Hall, Digital Marketing Manager, Healthier Generation  


"Traditionally on Christmas morning after opening presents and brunch, we transition outside for a game of basketball!  We live in New England, so there is a good chance there may be some light snow or cold air awaiting us!"  

Georgia Hall, Director and Senior Research Scientist, National Institute on Out-of-School Time at Wellesley College 


"Each year I give back to an organization that’s making a positive impact on my community. Even if it’s a small amount or just one day of volunteering, the practice helps me mindfully embrace gratitude. As I enter my 11th year at Healthier Generation, I hope you’ll consider making a donation to help us give more kids a #HealthyFuture." 

Daniel Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Healthier Generation 


"I am fortunate enough to live in Southern California and a healthy tradition I started is playing beach volleyball before eating on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. If my group doesn't happen to meet that day, I will head to the beach regardless and fast walk on the sand." 

Julia Gabor, Executive Chef, Breakfast Club Blog of BOOST Collaborative 


"Each year at Thanksgiving my family tries at least one new healthy recipe. This year, we’re excited to try Ocean Spray’s® recipe for Broccoli Apple Slaw, which is one of our new featured recipes in the Smart Food Planner!" 

Sean Gustafson, Healthy Schools Program Manager, Healthier Generation  


"My husband and I have lived in a new city each Thanksgiving for the past three years, and each year spend time exploring our new surroundings. Two years ago, we took our pups hiking around Mount Bonnell in Austin, TX and last year we spent the day enjoying Patterson Park in Baltimore, MD. This year, our plans in Hartford, CT are still up in the air – but I'm sure we will take advantage of the many trails around the area."  

Ashley Riggs, Human Resources Manager, Healthier Generation 


"I like to look up festive recipes and experiment with making healthy alterations to them. I also love looking for festive teas to enjoy while catching up on some reading!" 

Kassy Rousselle, Health and Wellness Coordinator/Trainer, OregonASK 


"We have made it a tradition to center our school celebrations on physical activity, rather than around food."  

Mercedes Mulvey, School Nurse, Hunters Creek Elementary, Houston, TX  


"No matter how cold it is in Oklahoma, we bundle up and head to the park or just a walk through the neighborhood. We do this every day during winter break. It really helps to expend some of the extra energy the kids have from being inside all day." 

Brandon Rowland, Customer Success Director, Healthier Generation 


"For Christmas, our family has a long-standing tradition of going to see the Winter Wonderland of Lights in Central Park. Instead of driving around the park, I like to bundle everyone up, park the car nearby, and walk. It’s a good 30 to 45-minute walk to see it all!"

Tamsyn Oakes, Director, Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance, Save the Children 


"My family lives on ten acres and we have a small hobby farm. Every year we try to make side dishes from something grown in our garden. Our favorites are pumpkin or carrot soup, zucchini muffins, and homemade salsa! This is really important to our family because we value knowing where our food comes from, taking care of our land, and spending time together to make healthy homemade meals!" 

Ashley Schwader, Healthy Schools Program Manager, Healthier Generation 


"We incorporate activities like an annual Turkey Trot into our school- and community-wide events."  

Jose R. Diaz, Physical Education Teacher, Lucile McKee Hendricks Elementary, McAllen, TX   


"A couple of traditions we have are a walk with the whole family (grandmas, dogs, kids, everyone is encouraged) around the neighborhood after Thanksgiving dinner, and my mom always made green bean casserole with low-fat yogurt." 

Erin Hogeboom, Director of Strategic Partnerships, National Girls Collaborative 


"Every Thanksgiving – I run. I run to give thanks for my body’s ability to be active, which I didn’t always think would be possible due to a knee injury. I run to connect with nature, to find peace, to reflect on the year. This Thanksgiving, I can’t wait to lace up my favorite shoes and get moving. Because regardless of how far I go, I’m grateful for the chance to run, just one more time."  

Krista Washington, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Healthier Generation 


What are your favorite healthy ways to celebrate the holiday season? Share your best healthy holiday celebration tips, recipes and photos on social media using #HealthyHolidays.