The holidays are full of traditions that involve food. From cookie decorating to holiday dinners, the holiday seasons if full of food. The food-focused holiday traditions can be overwhelming for people with medically restricted diets, food allergies, and those recovering from eating disorders.
I know for me, these traditions can be isolating because they often involve gluten, something I can’t enjoy because of my celiac disease. Last year I wrote a blog post featuring 5 gluten-free holiday traditions to try, this year I’m writing this post on 10 non-food related holiday traditions.
(Also, if you’re looking for more guidance on handling the holidays, I dedicate an entire week of prompts in the 10-week Celiac Disease Wellness Journal to helping you navigate the holidays!)
Have a Holiday Decoration Making Party
My first non-food related holiday tradition to try is to have a party where you make holiday decorations. Of course, to keep it non-food related, make sure the decorations being made don’t involve food.
Here’s a quick list of some fun holiday decorations to try to make:
- Paper snowflakes (be ready to sweep up paper clippings)
- Make modern holiday wreaths
- Make bows to tie on to gifts or put up as decorations
- Make succulent baskets
- Paint/draw/make holiday cards (not really a decoration but it involves decorating so it counts right?)
Play Board Games
Before you click away, let me elaborate. Playing board, card, or even video games can be an amazing non-food related holiday tradition to start. Not only does it not involve food, but it also can be great for team-building. Or in other words, it’s perfect for bonding with your loved ones, something that the holidays are ALL about. My family’s favorite game to play is Suspend. It brough tons of laughs to our family holiday celebrations this year.
Have a Self-Care Party
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I am an enormously loud supporter of self-care. Why? Because self-care is important when you have celiac disease (or any invisible illness). I even wrote up an entire blog post and developed a workbook to help you develop your own self-care routines.
So what do I mean by hosting a self-care party? I mean celebrate yourself and your loved ones by filling your cups together. This could involve pampering yourselves with face masks or painting each other’s nails. Alternatively, it can mean going for a hike in nature. Basically, take your favorite self-care practices and turn them into a party!
Have a Holiday Music/Dance Party
Make a playlist together of your favorite holiday music (or just simply your favorite music) and then dance to it! It’s simple but not only does it help you stay social (and not isolated), but it also helps you all get those endorphins pumping through enjoyable movement. Win/win right?
Drive/Walk around looking at lights
Depending on what holiday it is, driving/waling (whatever you can/want to do) can be fun. Seeing how other people are celebrating the holidays can be inspiring and help you still feel a part of the season. Not to mention that it can be a good excuse to get out of the house in this usually dreary season!
One of my family’s strongest non-food related holiday traditions is going to the movies together. Watching a new release together and talking about it after is always such fun. It also again, is a good excuse to get out of the house! Of course, you don’t even have to leave the house to take part in this tradition. Simply watching a movie at home that you’ve been dying to see can suffice.
Man, do I like parties haha. I guess in my mind, turning things into parties helps make them more fun. Another non-food related holiday tradition you might want to consider is doing a little holiday cleaning. What I mean by this is to use the holiday time to go through and donate gently used things that you don’t use or want anymore. This can be so helpful – especially if you have a lot of things coming into your home during this season – it can help you feel like you have things together.
I think this is on everyone’s holiday tradition idealist, and thus I figure it should be on mine. One of the best ways to fight isolation and stay connected to your community is by volunteering.
One of my last non-food holiday tradition ideas is to engage in enjoyable physical activity with your loved ones. Whether it be hiking, skiing, walking around the neighborhood – getting active together can be a great tradition to start. This year I think I’ll be going rock climbing with my friends during the holidays. Wish me luck!
Give distant loved one’s a call
In my family, every holiday, we call those who were unable to make it to our gathering. It’s a lovely tradition that helps our family stay connected. During the holidays, gather around and give someone who’s distant a call and check-in to see how their doing. Better yet, a facetime is even better!
Those were my non-food holiday tradition ideas, now it’s your turn! Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite non-food holiday traditions.
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