When I think of celebrations, a few things come to mind: being outdoors, tradition, food, decorations, and community. In the pursuit of more movement and nature in all aspects of our lives, we’ve been slowly converting our holidays back into the more nature-rich, movement-rich, community-rich events they once were. From decor walks to growing or sourcing special ingredients, to our friends-and-family hiking advent, below are some of the ways we've started to move more for our celebrations. P.S. Many of these ideas are great outdoor, open-air ways of celebrating that already meet or can be adapted to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines.
Celebrating outside is a simple way to add a dose of nature to your party. Just bringing the party to the outdoors will move you more (you have to carry your dishes, utensils, and food out), and once you’re there, the movement keeps rolling. Being outside adds thermal regulation (sweating or shivering) and distance-looking movements, and if you throw a few blankets on the ground for a sitting option, more movement there too. We regularly throw outside dinners (local parks are great if you don’t have your own outdoor space) and we don’t always do all the work! Having folks bring their own dishes or even their own meals is totally acceptable! Often times simply initiating the outside gathering—sending a text with the date, time, location, and a note about how good it will feel to dine together outdoors—is all the work you need to do to get your community moving together.
Celebrate on the go
Time spent on foot or wheels can show up during the party set-up, as a small portion of the party, or it can be the theme.
When it comes to party prep, make a list of key items. If there’s a main item featured—fiddleheads? strawberries? turkey? decorative gourds? driftwood?—give yourself some time to gather it and bring it home at a human pace. Make an additional celebratory event out of gathering ingredients of a celebratory meal (dandelions, mushrooms, apples) or an element of decor (fall leaves, wildflowers, pinecones, seashells). Something as simple as walking to the grocery store or farm stand for supplies can bring movement to your celebrations. Try carrying the pumpkin in your arms! Taking walks to collect decorations or harvest or buy food, or even hand-delivering written invitations (does anyone do that?) are all ways to let your party move you before you even get it started.
You can also break up an otherwise sedentary party with a bit of movement. Serve a portable course with a scavenger-hunt list. Send guests out to work for their cocktail by rewarding those who complete a “centerpiece” challenge out of the natural materials you’ve already gathered. Create a walk/roll dessert course, or move as a group to your favorite restaurant! If you’re not coming from the same place, simply choose a meeting point that gives you a chance to connect while also transporting actively.
Alternatively, you can create an entire celebration that is a walk, roll, or hike. Plan a celebratory meal that packs well and spend the day getting to the place you’ll eat it. Or, celebrate with neighbors and move from house to house (or yard to yard!) for a progressive dinner.
Two of our favorite celebrations that travel? The annual “hiking advent” we create each year for friends and family that includes our gingerbread hike.
At first glance it might seem that I suggest all this just because I love getting more movement. And I do! But there’s a deeper payoff for me: moving more for what we use makes the celebration longer and fuller! It extends and deepens our rituals. Celebration is marking an important event with the expression of our joy via some activity. Celebration is an active process. The more action (read: movement), the more celebration! GET IT? Who doesn’t want more celebration in their lives?
For a lot more thoughts and ideas about how you can weave movement back into all facets of your life, read (or listen to!) Movement Matters: Essays on Movement Science, Movement Ecology, and the Nature of Movement.