There’s no doubt that Christmas will be a little different this year. While you may manage to spend it with some loved ones, it’s unlikely there will be any big family get togethers, visits to Christmas markets or the annual office party.

The good news is, you’ll probably save a lot of money. The bad news – being stuck at home certainly won’t get you in the festive spirit and may lead to more indulgences than normal. To help, here are some ideas for you and the family to help you feel Christmassy and enjoy a little bit of healthy exercise along the way!

Christmas trail
After what’s been a pretty miserable year, it’s no surprise that people have put more effort into decorating their homes, with most residential streets lit up already. So why not turn this spectacle into a bit of healthy family fun?

Make a note of some of the more exciting houses around and make a pilgrimage on foot to see them up close with the kids? Or, perhaps challenge your friends and family to get a picture outside the brightest display in your neighbourhood and send pictures to each other? The only rule is, no driving allowed. Walk, jog, run, scooter – whatever you fancy, just no car.

Whatever method you choose, to get the most out of the idea you should walk quickly enough to feel warmer and feel your breath getting a little shorter.

Of course, if you want to up the ante, you could all run around the streets together to see how many decorated houses you can find. Make it more fun by encouraging the kids count how many snowmen, Santas, elves and reindeer they see along the way.

Prepare for reindeer visitors!
Why not give your usual outdoor fun a festive twist by encouraging the kids to create a reindeer den in the garden? Walking or running around to find the right materials and then bending and twisting to arrange the perfect den. It won’t seem like exercise to the little ones, but it is actually giving them a whole-body workout.

Anything that works your muscles harder than usual will increase and develop your muscles, which is important for us no matter what our age. For kids it helps them grow into strong and healthy adults and protect them against injury, and for adults it helps prevent our muscles weakening, reducing the chances of falling and losing our balance as we get older.

An alternative is to get the kids to mark out a reindeer runway. Use anything you can find to build a landing strip and guide Santa and his reindeer into place! Again, this will involve some of that all-important lifting and carrying, as well as enjoying some healthy outdoor fun.

Active advent
Most advent calendars these days include a little bite of chocolate for each day. But instead of chocolate, why not set yourself and the family an active challenge? Of course, we are already a few days into December, but you could run your challenge over the 12 days of Christmas or in the rest of the run up?

One idea is to challenge the family to do a different activity each day – ranging from doing 10 star jumps before you get dressed, doing laps around the garden after school or going for a half an hour bike ride. Perhaps introduce prizes for the best performance.

Rock around the Christmas tree
Social dancing may be off the cards this year, but there’s no reason why you and the kids can’t have a party of your own.

Dancing is a great way to get active and burn some energy. Get into the spirit by turning all the lights off and just leaving the Christmas tree lights and decorations twinkling, or go one step better and get some glow sticks and disco lights!

If the kids need a little more impetus to get involved why not play musical statues or let them choose the music. Bringing the party atmosphere home will lift everyone’s spirits and give you a great full body work out – what’s not to love?

Activate your Christmas spirit!
Overindulging a little at Christmas is inevitable. Let’s face it, we’re all looking forward to the usual roast dinners, advent treats, sweets and well-deserved tipples (for the grown-ups!).

What’s not inevitable though is inactivity. We can all make sure we move a little more during the holidays. So why not incorporate a few of these little ideas into your line-up. As well as getting you all in the Christmas spirit, they will also boost your activity levels without you even noticing, helping us all to stay fitter and healthier over the festive break.