Start a New Tradition: A Holiday Hike


Traditions make the holidays magical. Whether the familiar taste of Grandma’s classic pumpkin pie, the warm fuzzy feeling of hanging the stockings, or the wonderful exhaustion of early morning present opening – these traditions and memories get us through the cold and dark winter season. I’d like to suggest to you build a new holiday tradition with your family – one that gets the family together and outdoors. Start a new tradition of a holiday hike.

Mom and Kids at Great Bay Discovery
My kids and I enjoy a holiday hike at the Great Bay Discovery Center Boardwalk trail in Greenland.

Here’s Why

Making an outdoor and cardiovascular activity a holiday tradition promotes health and happiness. While the “turkey-trot” has become a Thanksgiving tradition for some, it’s not always the most multi-generational activity. I suggest a nature walk or short hike that Grandma and preschooler can both participate. It gets the family together, outdoors, and not distracted. Imagine the memories next year when the family says, 

And then when they ask, “Where is our holiday hike this year?”

Wagon Hill
My family enjoys a holiday hike at Wagon Hill in Durham.

When to Go

While you don’t need to set a date for the holiday hike, I personally think December 26th is a great day for it. The natural high of Christmas morning has worn off, but everyone’s still around and home. The kids have opened their new Christmas parkas and/or boots.  Let them try them out! 

Like it? Make this a holiday tradition for every major holiday! In a world where the narrative of holidays revolves around commercialism, consumption, and stress- you can steer the traditions to connect family, outdoors, and health on a holiday.  

Where to Go

There are lots of beautiful and easy Seacoast trails that are accessible to the entire family. Looking for something easy for a toddler? Try one of these toddler friendly nature walks. Want to venture further north? Check out my suggestions for three kid-friendly winter hiking locations in the Whites.

As you build this tradition, you can either choose a new location every year, or visit your “hiking spot”. If your children are older, have them help pick the location!

Artists Bluff
Artist Bluff in Franconia Notch is a great holiday hike if you want to escape the Seacoast.

Safety First

Most of us have holiday traditions involving shopping, holiday movies, and indulging in food and drink. It might be time to think of adding another tradition – one that supports fresh air, body movement, and a family shared experience outdoors. Yes, it’s cold and dark, but getting out in the winter air for a holiday hike is also an opportunity to build a new tradition.  Before you go, think about winter safety. Check out my post about winter hiking with baby for useful safety tips.  It’s important to have insulated footwear, warm (non-cotton) layered clothing as well as hats, mittens, and scarves.  

Start a New Tradition: a Holiday Hike

I didn’t come up with the idea of a traditional holiday hike. This tradition started with my mom. She loves hiking, and honestly probably just wanted to get out of the house on holidays after cooking and cleaning for relatives. Fortunately, the tradition continued and I really started to identify the outdoors with family time.  I hope you consider adding this piece to your yearly celebrations and start a new tradition of a holiday hike.  

Happy Holidays!