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15 Wonderful Family Activities for Christmas Holiday

15 Wonderful Family Activities for Christmas Holiday

Every year, people from around the world spend billions in the pursuit of a fun and enjoyable Christmas holiday. With British citizens alone spending an estimated £700 each on festive goods and gifts, there is clearly a huge annual investment made during the festive period.

The question that remains is whether this money is spent wisely? After all, Christmas is a time of wonderful traditions and rich heritage, many of which have been lost to the age of consumerism. Christmas in 2015 may be the ideal time to revisit these traditions, as you plan a number of unique family activities that offer perspective on the holiday as a whole.

15 Unique Family Activities to enjoy this Christmas

So, let’s take a look at 15 unique and wonderful family activities that you can look to enjoy during the forthcoming festive seasons.

Travel

1. Run with the Turkeys

If you wish to travel to understand how other cultures’ interpret and celebrate the festive period, you should consider participating in Seattle’s annual Turkey Trot this year. This is incredible fun for the whole family, as you embark on a five kilometer jog that takes place above the Golden Gardens in Ballard. Not only will you spend quality time with your family celebrating an alternative Christmas tradition, but you will also be able to raise money for the Ballard Food Bank and the poverty-stricken families that it helps on a daily basis.

run with turkeys

    2. Explore Family Volunteer Opportunities

    It is important to recognize Christmas as a time of giving, as this will enable you to educate your children about the fundamental values of the festive season. What better way to achieve this than by exploring family volunteer opportunities, through which you can participate in domestic and international causes and help those less fortunate than yourself at Christmas. If you do want to travel abroad, you can still visit a number of domestic soup kitchens and children’s’ hospitals this Christmas to effect significant social change.

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    volunteer

      3. Visit the Warm Beach in Seattle

      Another Seattle favorite, the Warm Beach is a fascinating location that is renowned for its eclectic selection of more than one million Christmas lights. While visiting local boroughs and neighborhoods to see Christmas lights unveiled is a global Christmas tradition, the Warm Beach is unique in that it features stunning illuminations that help to narrate the history of the festive season through the ages. Open each weekend in December, visitors to the Stanwood Grounds can enjoy Victorian carolers while also exploring some of the history behind Christmas.

      best_christmas_lights_in_america

        4. Build Igloos in the French Alps

        If you are willing to sacrifice material gifts in the pursuit of genuinely rewarding experiences, you should consider visiting the stunning French Alps this Christmas. This picturesque location has a rich cultural heritage, while it is renowned for offering a range of family activities during the festive season. Under the guidance of activity holiday firm Undiscovered Alps, you can visit as a family and enjoy a range of experiences including snowshoe walking, ice-climbing and even igloo building! This will cost up to and beyond $1000, but it will also deliver a once in a lifetime experience.

        Orcieres-Merlette( Hautes-Alpes) village d'igloos Kanata Chalet de Rocherousse Igloo igloo village o

          5. Go Christmas Tree Hunting

          The festive season is incomplete without a Christmas tree, although many contemporary households purchase synthetic fabrications from their local store. While this may be convenient, it denies you and your family an opportunity to take to the road and go in search of an authentic Christmas tree for the home. Whether you target a local supplier, travel out of town or even head abroad to the vast Highlead Plantation in North America’s Arlington, this is a tremendous way to spend your family time and embark on a festive adventure!

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          TheGriswoldFamilyChristmasTree

            Exploring Old Traditions

            6. Leave out Christmas Treats for Pets and Wildlife

            The legend of Christmas is thought to have originated in Scandinavia, although older traditions associated with the holiday have been lost in translation over the course of the last 100 years. According to an ancient Norwegian holiday legend, God granted animals in the manger a voice to give their praise for the miracle birth of Jesus Christ. This was often celebrated on Christmas Eve by families who left festive treats out for their pets and additional wildlife in the surrounding region. Whether this is observed by laying out tasty treats on the bird table or leaving turkey out on your porch, it can help to bring families together and educate youngsters on the meaning of Christmas.

            christmas-in-advance-l1

              7. Celebrate the Season of Light

              In many cultures, the winter solstice helps to offer perspective during a busy and increasingly hectic season. This traditional holiday celebrates the longest night of the year (December 22nd), and it allows families to take a break from the hustle and bustle of preparing for a modern Christmas. Simply by planning a candle-lit dinner for the whole family and encouraging your children to create their own illuminations for the porch, you can take time out to celebrate the traditional festive season and one of its understated elements.

              winter-solstice

                8. Make a Homemade Christmas Journal

                The frenetic pace of modern life can make it extremely difficult to build memories and immortalize your families most precious holidays. Christmas is the ideal time to reminisce about happy experiences, however, and traditionally families would always recount their favorite events of the year once all gifts had been opened. This would provide additional cause for celebration, and remind families that they had a great deal of reason to be thankful for their lot in life. You should attempt this with your family this year, and offer youngsters an opportunity to celebrate the true spirit of the festive period.

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                Handmade-Journal-from-a-Card-for-Mothers-day

                  9. Create a Thankfulness Wreath

                  On a similar note, you could also get together with your family and create a thankfulness wreath. Typically an autumn-inspired, Thanksgiving tradition, you can take a simple, floral wreath of your choice and embellish it with gift tags. Every member of the family then writes on these tags to share the things that are thankful for, creating a sense of unity and a far greater appreciation for the holiday season. This is far simpler than the idea of creating a Christmas journal, but despite this it is no less effective.

                  IMG_0800-588x391

                    10. Build a Gingerbread Nativity

                    Arguably the single most famous Christmas tradition, the Nativity of Jesus recounts the birth of God’s son and it drawn from the gospels of Luke and Matthew. Though religious in its nature, it is a traditional that transcends popular culture and remains a key feature of primary school education around the world. An unusual way for families to recreate this is to build a Gingerbread Nativity, where the typical house is transformed into the iconic manger scene and characters are recreated using delicious candy!

                    gingerbread-nativity

                      Creative Ideas

                      11. Create your Own Christmas Tree Decorations

                      Every year, households throughout the world embellish their Christmas tree with the same, tired decorations that they have used previously. This could be the year that you change this, however, by gathering the family together and creating new, handmade ornaments from scratch. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to punch or draw festive designs on double-sided adhesive sheets, before sticking them carefully onto glass ornaments and adding some red and white glitter. You can create everything from snowflakes to stylish tree shapes, while those in search of a personal touch can also decorate branches with wooden frames and family photographs.

                      trees11

                        12. Create a Festive Bucket List

                        Advent calendars represent a popular festive tradition among children, but what if this could be developed into a new and creative idea? This year, why not create a simple, homemade advent calendar that replaces festive chocolates with small slips of paper. On each slip is a single event or activity which has been suggested by the family, and families must do one of these every day throughout the month of December. This is effectively a festive bucket list, and it remains a fun and unique way of spending time with your family and rekindling the flame of spontaneity.

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                          13. Buy or Host your Own Christmas Photo Shoot

                          Photographs represent a great way of immortalizing your Christmas memories forever, so why not go all out with an hour long shoot this festive season? Whether you book time with a professional in a studio or employ a family friend to take photographs in the home, you have creative license to create a series of fun, imaginative and memorable images. So wrap the entire family up in lights, invest in a variety of festive sweaters and employ multiple backdrops to create a family album that stands the test of time. If you get a series of high quality photographs, you can even turn these into personalized Christmas cards for 2015.

                          christmas-proposal-13

                            14. Create a Hot Cocoa Bar

                            Almost everyone is partial to a cup of hot chocolate at Christmas, but this must-have festive item has an incredible and often underrated diversity that should be recognised. Instead of making bland drinks on the stove in 2015, create your very own hot cocoa bar that serves hot chocolate beverages alongside classic ingredients such as peppermint sticks, cinnamon, caramel and soft marshmallows. These can be accessible to the family throughout December, and create a single meeting point where loved ones can enjoy quality time together.

                            christmas_1-700_standard

                              15. Launch your Very own Festive Book Club

                              Contrary to popular belief, the 12 days of Christmas actually run from 25th December until the 6th of January. Each night is therefore an important part of the festive period, and you can celebrate this creating your own festive book club and inviting family members to share their favorite, holiday classics. Start by visiting your local library and collecting a predetermined selection of books, before choosing one to enjoy for each of the 12 nights of Christmas. This is a treat for adults and young children alike, while it may also inspire a greater passion for learning and literature.

                              BookTree1-550x550

                                Featured photo credit: Young hipster couple having fun jumping in winter forest via shutterstock.com

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                                Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                                10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                                10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                                There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                                One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                                In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                                Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                                1. Cat Camel Stretch

                                Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                                Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                                Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                                Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                                2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                                This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                                Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                                The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                                Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                                Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                                3. Jumping Jacks

                                Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                                Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                                4. Abductor Side Lifts

                                Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                                Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                                5. Balancing Table Pose

                                This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                                Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

                                ablab

                                  6. Leg Squats

                                  Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                                  Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                                  The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                                  7. Push Ups

                                  You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                                  An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                                  Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                                  This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                                  8. Bicycle Crunches

                                  There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                                  Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                                  9. Lunges

                                  Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                                  Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                                  This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                                  10. Bicep Curls

                                  You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                                  Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                                  Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                                  Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                                  Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                                  These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                                  You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                                  Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                                  More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

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