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10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating
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10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating
Photo Credit: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
St Peter's College Oxford sing carols in Angels fancy dress shop to raise money to support the Crisis homeless persons charity on December 18, 2015 in London, England. The mixed-voice choir made of students from the college sing during the weekly Evensong services during term time. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

While family gatherings are generally marked by an enormous amount of food, there are other things you can do instead of sitting around in carbohydrate comas.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips on throwing a holiday party that doesn’t include any food at all:

1. Give them something else to keep their hands busy

While it’s easy to stuff your face and nod during awkward conversations at a party, there are other things you can do.

Instead of snacks and drinks, put out some Rubik’s Cubes, Play-Doh or other little finger toys -- it accomplishes the same thing, and it’s a conversation starter, to boot.

2. Board and card games

With a boom in board games in recent years, there’s a game for every age, skill level, interest and time constraint, so board games are perfect for family gatherings where you have to account for both elderly relatives and young children.

Settle in for an epic round of Lord of the Rings Risk or Settlers of Catan with a close circle of friends, or if you want a shorter game, play Castle Panic or Guillotine. Monopoly and Taboo are always good go-tos.

If you need help choosing, try theboardgamefamily.com for reviews.

3. Volunteering

Giving is an important part of the holiday season, and giving time is an easy and free gift.

If you’ve got a small group, think about tasks such as raking the leaves for elderly people, who struggle to do it for themselves. Another option is have a card-making session for kids in a local pediatric ward.

4. Wreath decorating

Instead of leaving a party with discomfort from eating too much, making wreaths can have you leaving with a fun new decoration for your home.

Instead of bringing food, have everyone bring a basic wreath or garland and one packet of fun art supplies, such as mini-ornaments, glittery pipe cleaners, pine cones, fake snow, tiny figurines, strings of cranberries, etc.

5. Tea tasting

Sometimes, a warm drink is the best way to perk up a winter afternoon. Hosting a tea tasting party is one way to stave off the winter chill.

Either have each guest bring a box of their favorite seasonal tea, or get sample packs from a specialty store and test them out.

6. Surprise a friend

The holidays can be hard for some people, especially if they are going through added stress like a breakup or a job loss. Get together a group of mutual friends and come up with some things that can make their life easier, such as surprising them with a garage full of winter supplies or cooking them some meals that are freezer-ready.

7. Host a knitting party

If you have older relatives who might feel left out or isolated during parties, ask them to be the expert at a knitting party.

Engaging them and having those skills being passed between generations is a wonderful gift all by itself. Or just ask that everyone show up with their own supplies, find a how-to book and have fun figuring it out on your own.

8. Go to a performance

It’s easy to stay on the couch during the dark and cold season, but dressing up and going to watch live actors on stage is a fun and festive exercise. The late-night performances, the bright costumes and stage lights -- there’s something about being there in person that just can’t be replicated in your own living room.

Get a gang together and support your local community theater.

9. Go caroling

One of the oldest holiday traditions is singing carols to celebrate the season. You don’t have to have perfect pitch to enjoy singing to others -- you just need to enjoy it.

If you can find some like-minded friends, try calling a local care home or retirement community to see whether the residents would appreciate visits by a group of Christmas carolers.

10. Classic holiday movie night

Whether it is “A Christmas Story” or “The Muppets Christmas Carol,” this is the season to dig into the favorite holiday movies of friends and family. Get together, hang out and enjoy!

If you have a local independent cinema nearby, you could also check their showtimes to see if you can catch something on the big screen; often, they’ll offer seasonal classics that you might not have ever seen.

RELATED: 10 ways to stay calm during a chaotic holiday dinner

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  • Evangelist Billy Grahamat his North Carolina home. Graham, who preached Christianity to millions around the world, was also a confidant of U.S. presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush.Here are some quotes from the man who became known as “America’s Pastor.”   Source: Brainy Quotes
  • The world's best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, has died. He was 99. From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America's pastor.           Graham retired to his mountain home at Montreat, N.C., in 2005 after nearly six decades on the road calling people to Christ at 417 all-out preaching and musical events from Miami to Moscow. His final New York City crusade in 2005 was sponsored by 1,400 regional churches from 82 denominations.          Presidents called on Graham in their dark hours, and uncounted millions say he showed them the light. He took his Bible to the ends of the Earth in preaching tours he called 'crusades.' Even now, anywhere a satellite, radio, TV, video or podcast can reach, his sonorous voice is probably still calling someone to Christ.          Though Graham's shoes could likely never be filled, his son, Franklin, has taken over in some aspects—leading The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and becoming a confidant of President Donald Trump, including speaking at his inauguration.          But Franklin's message has swayed from his father's, leaving a mixed legacy for the Graham name. Franklin has mocked both Islam and LGBT rights. He uses his following on social media to raise funds for 'persecuted Christians,' boycotts businesses that use gay couples in advertisements and blasts the separation of church and state as as the godless successor to Cold War communism.          But his father's words for years offered peace and perspective. On the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance following the 9/11 attacks, Billy Graham spoke of the 'mystery of iniquity and evil,' of 'the lesson of our need for each other' and, ultimately, of hope.          'He was so real, he made Christianity come true.' observed Susan Harding, an anthropologist at the University of California-Santa Cruz. 'He was homespun, historical and newsworthy all at once. He could span the times from Christ to today, from the globe to you, all in one sentence.'          Grant Wacker, a Duke University professor of Christian history, says Graham represented, 'what most decent churchgoing people thought and ought to think.'          His reputation was untouched by sex or financial scandals. When anti-Semitic comments came to light as transcripts of conversations with Richard Nixon surfaced, Graham was promptly and deeply apologetic.          He never built a megachurch, set up a relief agency, launched a political lobby or ran for office. Yet he redefined American Protestant life by popularizing Christianity's core message — Christ died for your sins — downplaying denominational details and proclaiming the joys found in faith.          Graham was, however, drawn to power. Eventually, he met, prayed with, comforted and joked with 12 U.S. presidents, and Graham learned to walk a tightrope.          He found a fine balance that allowed him to become America's pastor, Democrat or Republican. North or South. When President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky came to light, Graham called for forgiveness. Clinton told Peter Boyer of The New Yorker, 'He took sin seriously. But he took redemption seriously. And it was incredibly powerful the way he did it.'          Former president George W. Bush has said it was a conversation with Graham that turned him from his drinking ways when he was young.          'I've never called him on a specific issue but his influence is bigger than a specific issue, as far as I'm concerned. He warms your soul,' Bush told an ABC 20/20 special on the preacher and politics.          Graham emphasized the joy to be found in belief, in contrast to evangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who routinely issued glowering condemnations of politicians or blamed natural disasters on modern culture. However, Graham did take an uncharacteristically political stand before the 2012 presidential election. He authorized full page ads in major newspapers in October urging people to vote for politicians who opposed same-sex marriage on 'biblical principles.'          He brought to the microphone a 'corny but effective humor,' Wacker says, which made him a convivial talk-show guest. Graham logged more than 50 radio or television interviews with Larry King alone. YouTube has a tape of Woody Allen interviewing the evangelist, who draws almost as many laughs as the caustic, agnostic comedian.          The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association he founded, now led by his son, Franklin, used every communications innovation possible to carry the Gospel to any willing heart on Earth. More than 214 million people in 195 cities and territories heard God's call in Graham's voice and witnessed him deliver the Gospel in person or by satellite links. His projects included founding             Christianity Today magazine in 1956 and writing more than 30 books.          High among his numerous honors: The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Billy and Ruth in 1996, the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to him in 1983, and the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion in 1982. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.          'Fundamentalists saw him as excessively liberal, and liberals saw him as too literalist in talking about sin and salvation. His wonderful balance between them is critical to his legacy,' says John Wilson, editor of             Books & Culture, a sister publication of             Christianity Today magazine            .  Graham's last decades were slowed by illness and injury. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1989, felled by broken bones, bouts of hydrocephalous and rounds of pneumonia.          Age, illness and bone-breaking falls had left him struggling to deliver 20-minute sermons.   Graham's last crusade, in June 2005 in New York City, drew 242,000 people to Flushing Meadows; 8,786 made a new commitment to Christ and thousands more renewed or rejoiced in their faith.          Then he retired to his Montreat, N.C., mountaintop log cabin home (where his five children grew up mostly without their traveling father) to spend his days with his beloved wife, Ruth. They shared Bible study, devotions and an endless recycling of the movie musicals she loved to watch. Those were bittersweet days, with Ruth bedridden and Billy relying on a walker. Their frequent prayer was, 'Help me, Lord.'          At her funeral in June 2007, Graham called Ruth the finest Christian he ever knew. Graham lived through the explosion of religious diversity in America, the rise of the human potential movement and the trend to personalized spirituality. He also lived to see many tire of lonely seeking or a high-minded hopscotch from church to church, religion to religion.          Yet he remained steadfast in his response. In 1996, when he and Ruth were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, he once more shared his faith in God with some of the most powerful men on Earth:          'As Ruth and I receive this award, we know that some day we will lay it at the feet of the one we seek to serve.
  • The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. Spokesman Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday morning. He was 99. Graham reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. Unlike many traditional evangelists, he abandoned narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society.
  • was ready for a secret meeting with North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but the North backed out, according to news outlets. >> Read more trending news Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un’s sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation. The North canceled the meeting just two hours before Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean state official, Kim Yong Nam, on Feb. 10 after Pence announced new sanctions against the North Korean regime during his trip and rebuked it for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the secret meeting. “North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement, according to The Hill. >> Related: NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. He sent his sister to lead the group. “We regret [the North Koreans'] failure to seize this opportunity,' State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. 'We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death.' >> Related: Olympic gold medalist, skater Meagan Duhamel, uses platform to spotlight dog meat trade Pence said he planned to use his trip to the Olympics to prevent North Korea from using the games as a ploy for favorable propaganda on the communist regime.
  • As state capitals go, Oklahoma does pretty well. So say the ranking wizards at WalletHub, which looked at such factors as affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life. OKC did best in affordability, ranked at number 2 in the whole nation, and was around average, give or take, in economic well-being and quality of life, for an overall ranking of 14 out of 50. Not too shabby. Oklahoma City does struggle a bit in education and health, ranked at 36. The top 3 capitals were Austin, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; and Boise, Idaho. Bottom 3 were Jackson, Mississippi; Hartford, Connecticut; and Trenton, New Jersey. You can see the full list from WalletHub here.