How to get the whole family to go for a walk this Christmas

The Christmas holidays are nearly here. The family needs entertaining. And you need a break from Christmas preparations. Why not forget the to-do list for a few hours, and go for a walk with the whole family?

Well even I can think of plenty of reasons!

  • There’s Frowny-Face Moany who doesn’t like hills.
  • There’s Cleanity Fussy who can’t cope with mud.
  • There’s Chilly McNilly who wears the wrong clothes.
  • There’s Mumsy Gorgeous who needs an Instagram view.
  • And there’s Cafe Achino who will only walk to a coffee shop.

Recognise them?

Me too. I’ve walked with all of them, sometimes all at once. But believe it or not, it is possible to get even the most reluctant of families outside.

And back inside again with a smile on their faces.

Here are my top tips on how to persuade the whole family to go out for a walk this Christmas.

  1. Give everyone time to let the idea of muscle movement sink in.

Although the dog might be thrilled if you spring a surprise walk on him, the same isn’t likely to be true of the rest of the family. By giving your family warning, you’ll allow them to adjust to the idea, consider what they might need to wear, and have some input on what the walk might be like.

You might even prompt a couple of them to get out of bed!

Walking routes from train stations

2. Ask each person what sort of walk they prefer.

People are generally more open to an idea if they feel they’ve had some say in the details. For Family Fussintroll above, the two-coffee-stops, warm-weather, fantastic-views walking route with zero hills or mud probably doesn’t exist but it might be possible for your walk to include a bit of something that everyone will like.

Hard work but possible!

Perhaps a gentle slope for Frowny-Face Moany, stomping wellies for Cleanity Fussy, a spare jacket for Chilly McNilly, a bobble hat photo competition for Mumsy Gorgeous, and a flask of the best hot chocolate for Cafe Achino might take a while to organise but it’ll be worth it if it switches everyone’s Christmas smile on.


3. Plan a walking route before you set off.

Using an app like OS Maps to plan your walking route a couple of days before you go will help you to understand how long your walk is going to take as well as how much hill you’re all going to climb. Once you’ve planned  your route, following it on a mobile device as you walk can stop the rest of the family telling you you’ve gone the wrong way.

You can even use it to help you answer those inevitable questions.

‘How much further?’

‘Are we nearly there?’

‘Will we get there before the pub closes?’

‘Are we nearly there?’

‘When can I sit down?’

‘Are we nearly there?’

‘Is it picnic time now?’

‘Are we nearly there?’


4. Take spare stuff.

In an ideal world, every member of your family would turn up for the walk with warm clothes, a jacket, appropriate footwear, a hat and gloves, a drink, and plenty of water.

But I’m not sure that world exists.

It’s a great idea to give each walker a simple kit list and ask them to prepare and carry their own drinks and snacks but someone will always forget something important.

Because it doesn’t sound important to them.

You would be amazed how many arguments can be avoided by having spare warm clothes, enough hot drink for yourself and someone else, plenty of high-calorie food and a whistle in your rucksack.

I bet you want to know what the whistle’s for.

5. Carry a whistle

Well a whistle is useful for actual emergencies but it can also be a great antidote to family feuding. If everyone starts arguing, sneak it out of your bag, stand back, and blow it loudly. The resulting response will make you laugh even it doesn’t have the same effect on everybody else.

If you’re feeling brave, turn the whistle into an argument-monitor by passing it on to someone else.


6. Take some photos for memories.

It’s unlikely your family walk will pass without some element of grumpiness or moaning but in between those times, there will be some happy memory worthy moments. Capture these on camera, and you’ll help form a thought connection between the outside and good times. You never know when the best moments will arrive but here are a few examples.

That will make you smile if no-one else!

  • That moment when the sheep chased Frowny-Face Moany up the hill
  • That time when Cleanity Fussy slipped over in the sheep poo
  • That day Chilly McNilly’s fingers turned white
  • When Mumsy Gorgeous’ didn’t realise the rain had smeared her mascara
  • When Cafe Achino had a hot chocolate moustache





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