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De-stress your holiday in the great outdoors

by Daniel Lawton

Christmas is upon us, meaning that it’s time to break out the stockings, stock up on egg nog and prepare yourself for a deluge of relatives, parties, ugly sweaters, credit card debt and all the other accoutrements of the holiday season.

Yes, I know, I sound like a bit of grinch, but for many people–myself including–Christmas brings with it a lot of stress. And it appears I’m not the only one. This riveting expose from Fox Latino News (don’t worry, you can still read this if you’re not Latino) concurs.

In fact, according to independent stress expert Kathleen Hall of the Stress Institute, the fairer sex is often hit hardest by Christmas stress.

“Most of us women are in charge of the events, we’re in charge of the food. And if we’re hysterical, screaming crying, making lists, we’re no good to anyone. We literally are the anchor. So the way that we act, or act out, this holiday season will be the way the family goes.”

Sounds like a delightful holiday right? So, what’s the answer to staying zen during the big holiday rush?

How about moving your holiday shindig into the great outdoors?

This family from the Gold Coast in Australia opted for a Christmas campout/cookout in lieu of the traditional holiday dinner and had a stellar time. Some cooked, while others just took the easy route and bought food from town, such as this woman from Brisbane.

“We’ll be cooking nothing. We order some prawn and chicken from town and probably the only thing we make is salad. If we were in Brisbane we would have a traditional dinner but here we just go the easy way. It’s more relaxing.”

All seemed to agree that there was a certain mellowness to a christmas cookout. Of course, if you’re in the U.S., eating outdoors on Christmas Day might be tricky unless you’re in warm climes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t brush away holiday stress with a little camping or outdoor recreation. A few fun options include:

Taking a hike — If you’re just gulped down a giant Christmas meal, a swift walk through the woods is a fantastic way to aid the digestive process and have a bit of fun.

Building a campfire — A warm campfire is a fabulous way to relax after a long day of gabbing with the relatives. You can either head off to a local park or use a fire pit or chiminea from the comfort of your own backyard.

Archery – Take the edge off of your Christmas with a little recreation. Archery is a fun sport for the whole family, especially if you’re nailing bullseye after bullseye.

Those are all of my ideas, but what about you guys? Any other suggestions for outdoor activities during the Christmas season?