List of the Week: Hello, winter!

The first day of winter is Dec. 21 and there are plenty of ways to celebrate here in the Orange County! There may not be any snow to start a snowball fight, but that shouldn’t stop you from feeling young again and enjoying the season. Celebrate the first day of winter with a few activities that are sure to put a smile on any face.

Bake a batch of sugar cookies
Gather up family and friends and spend a day watching your favorite holiday movies as you bake and decorate a fresh batch of sugar cookies. Let the smell of those sweet treats fill your home and hearts with joy. Looking for ways to make your sugar cookies healthier? We love these gluten-free sugar cookies from (we recommend the maple syrup sweetener for an extra dose of holiday flavor), as well as these pumpkin coconut sugar cookies from that are also free of many allergens, while staying big on taste! You can always substitute the stevia (regular or brown sugar) or almond extract (vanilla works).

Go ice skating
Spend some time outdoors and visit the Irvine Spectrum to glide around the outdoor ice skating rink. Open until Feb. 17, this skating rink is a perfect way to have fun while working out! Ice skating is a low impact activity that improves balance and coordination while strengthening stabilization muscles in the hips, knees and ankles.

Indulge in peppermint treats
Candy canes, mochas and hot cocoa galore! Tis’ the season for peppermint flavor and there is no way you can miss it, so reintroduce your taste buds to the season with minty treats from your very own kitchen. Try this “Skinny Peppermint Mocha” recipe from to get started.

View the holiday lights
The Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is always a beautiful sight to see. Whether you watch from the sidelines or reserve a guided cruise, the glistening lights reflecting off of the water in the harbor will enlighten your soul and be a sight to remember for seasons to come! Walking before or after your holiday meals (or both) is a great way to keep your body active and avoid the sluggish feeling if you may have taken an extra slice of pie. Plus, the fresh air is great for you!

Be sure to check out‘s holiday Pinterest boards for a little extra healthy and DIY cheer!

healthy winter, family activities, family baking, active holidays

Photo credit: Marquee image of green and red sugar cookies by Flickr user nerdcoregirl. Candy cane image by Flickr user Lori L. Stalteri. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade image by Flickr user fortherock. Ice skating image by Flickr user Valters Krontals. Used with permission through Creative Commons. 

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