By Patricia Danflous

You are planning a celebration. Maybe it’s a party for your child’s first birthday, a wedding for your oldest daughter or a 50th wedding anniversary for your parents. Perhaps you just want to congratulate yourself on achieving a business milestone. Whatever the occasion, it’s a sound bet that cake (and ice cream) is at the top of your to-do list.

Most people celebrate with food as a significant focal point, and what could be more appealing than a five-tiered wedding cake with inch-thick, buttercream icing?  However, there are alternatives to traditional celebrations that are more fun, healthier and may help you live long enough to celebrate for years to come.

Take your child and a few friends on a trip to the Zoo to celebrate his or her birthday.

Try these tips for happy, healthy celebrations, and use your imagination to expand the list:

  • Spend a day at the spa beginning with a relaxing massage.
  • Invite your friends to an exercise party. Consider hiring a DJ to play invigorating music. Set up a make-your-own smoothie bar with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Take your child, and a few friends, on a trip to the Zoo to celebrate his or her birthday. 
  • Organize a family scavenger hunt to recognize a milestone wedding anniversary. Create clues and items from places, events and memories associated with the honored couple.
  • Celebrate your own birthday by scheduling a mammogram, skin-cancer screening or that consultation with a nutritionist you have been thinking about.
  • Host a garden party that includes planting a tree or flowering bushes. Send your guests home with fresh herb cuttings or a selection of seeds to start a vegetable garden.
  • Volunteer for the day or a few hours at a local non-profit organization. Contact the United Way for suggestions if necessary.
  • Invite your friends to join you for an educational experience. Find a crafts class, painting workshop or ask an area car-repair shop to provide instructions on how to change a tire.
  • Host a video workshop party. Ask one of your video or YouTube-savvy friends or children to provide a brief tutorial. Invite each guest to make their own video highlighting favorite memories or demonstrating a favorite exercise routine. 
  • Have a glass of red wine and relax.

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