12 Sneaky Ways to Burn Calories Over the Holidays

‘Tis the season for party-hopping, cookie-eating and coming up with every excuse in the book for skipping your workout. But don’t beat yourself up if you’re too busy with precious holiday prepping time to hit the gym. In fact, decking the halls can help you burn off some calories. Check out these hidden calorie busters—no sweat required!

*All calorie counts based on a 140-pound person


1Holiday shopping

Walking is a great form of exercise, especially as you hustle around an endless mall in search of the perfect gift. Strolling at a moderate pace for two hours can burn 420 calories.

MORE: This Holiday Season, Please Be Kind to Retail Employees 


2Wrapping gifts

Bet you didn’t think you could burn calories by wrapping presents, right? Well, you can! Try 95 calories an hour. And if you want to boost your calorie-burning potential (by 34 percent), stand instead of sitting while you decorate all of those gifts.




We’re not talking watching football—we’re talking grabbing your coats, heading outdoors and playing a friendly game of Two Hand Touch with your family. You can knock off a whopping 509 calories in just one hour—and that will cancel out more than two cups of eggnog!


4Ice skating

Nothing says holidays more than a nighttime skate under the stars complete with festive tunes in the background. So grab your skates, head to your local rink, and you could torch 445 calories in an hour.



5Cleaning the house

It’s a necessary evil, but someone has to do it before all those guests arrive. Instead of thinking of it as drudgery though, think about all the calories you could be burning—like 191 an hour. Not bad for pushing a mop around.


6Holiday decorating

Sure, untangling strand after strand of twisted and knotted lights can be maddening, but maybe not when you realize that you’re busting 223 calories an hour while decking the halls.



Yes, measuring flour and kneading dough can help you work off the calories from the cookies you may be eating later. Just an hour of baking will burn 127 calories.

MORE: Holiday Cookie Recipe Makeovers  

8Party hopping

If you stand more than you sit at a holiday party, you can burn 230 calories over two hours. Just make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes!


9Shoveling snow

If you’re lucky enough to have a white Christmas, you can work off 382 calories an hour simply by shoveling your (or your elderly neighbor’s) driveway.

10Christmas tree shopping

If you’re trekking through the woods to find the perfect tree, you could also be blasting 382 calories an hour. Makes the quest for one that’s not too tall, too short, too fat or too sparse worthwhile!


11Grocery shopping

Of course, we can’t celebrate the holidays without a feast. So while you’re checking off every item on your list, you’re also burning 146 calories an hour.

GALLERY: Eat Pretty For The Holidays With These Recipes



Preparing that feast can work off even more calories. Spend a couple hours in the kitchen and you can burn 254 calories—enough to justify another serving of stuffing later.

MORE: 5 Festive Low-Calorie Winter Cocktails