Gingerbread houses, candy canes, egg nog, and hot chocolate… OH MY! It may seem like we’re celebrating gluten, sugar and dairy more than anything this time of year and if you are new to following a restricted diet, the holidays can feel challenging and sometimes depressing. So many of us have family traditions centered around food that we can feel at a loss for how to get in the Christmas spirit any other way. That is why I have compiled a list of some great fun ways to make memories and feel jolly that don’t involve any food at all!
15+ Food Free Christmas Traditions
Drive around and look at Christmas lights
Every town has THAT house… the one that goes all out on the Christmas lights. These days you can often find guides online that will point you to the best light displays in your area. Get cozy in the car with blankets and Christmas music on the radio and prepare to ooo and ahhh.
Keep yourself and your children centered in the real spirit of the season and give back to those in need. Fill up a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, or contact local churches or agencies that are in need of volunteers at this time of year.
Having a Tree Trimming Party
Make decking the halls a fun family tradition rather than a chore. Put on your favorite tunes and involve everyone in the decorating fun.
We don’t all live in a Hallmark Movie with fluffy snow and pine trees, but chances are that even if its warm outside you can find an indoor skating rink to go enjoy.
Watching Christmas Movies
Hallmark, The Grinch, A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, Polar Express… we all have our favorites. Snuggle up and enjoy!
Go See a Live Performance
Getting dressed up in your fancy holiday attire and going to see a performance can be a true memory maker. Many towns host performances of The Nutcracker, or Special Christmas Cantatas.
Watch a Parade or a Town Tree Lighting
Get outside with your neighbors and get into the holiday mood at your town’s Christmas Parade or Tree Lighting. The hustle and bustle of excitement is often contagious.
Light an Advent Wreath and Read through the Christmas Story
No, I don’t mean a chocolate advent calendar, I mean a real advent wreath with candles. (Like this one) Each week light a new candle and read a new part of The Christmas Story.
Take Family Photos or Pictures with Santa
Christmas is a great time of year to get new pictures taken. Whether you hire a professional, go to the mall or just go out in your backyard and set the timer on your phone, have fun and show your silly side.
Write Letters to Santa
This is a classic. Have your kiddos think about what things they might like for Christmas and then have them practice their letter writing skills. You might even make a special trip to the post office to mail them!
Go spread some Christmas cheer around your neighborhood, at a retirement home or at a hospital by singing some classic carols and bringing joy to others.
Have a Gift Exchange/Christmas Sweater Party
Ugly sweater competition, gift exchange, secret Santa there are so many fun ways to celebrate that don’t involve eggnog.
Go to Church
I’m a pastor’s wife, so this one is a given for me, but going to church on Christmas Eve or throughout Advent is probably the best way to be reminded that Santa, Elves, Candy Canes and Presents are not the real reason for the season. Plus nothing is sweeter than singing silent night by candle light on Christmas Eve.
Get Family Christmas PJs
Matching Christmas PJs for everyone!
Learn about St. Nicholas
The real St. Nicholas was a very interesting man and is worth learning about. St. Nicholas Day is December 6th and is a great opportunity to have a little fun and learn a little more about the origins of Santa Clause.
Bonus: Track Santa
On Christmas Eve, track Santa’s location around the globe through http://www.noradsanta.org/