12 Fun ways to Burn Off the Christmas Calories with no Exercise Whatsoever

Christmas indulgence without the guilt? Yes, please!

I remember seeing a post from Jamie Oliver a few years ago with recipes for leftover Christmas chocolate and being seriously confused. Leftover chocolate? Is that actually a thing? Well, it certainly isn’t in my house.

If you’re anything like me, then a healthy routine, especially after the year we’ve all had, will go right out of the window during the Christmas period – and I’m not just talking about Christmas day. Let’s be honest, a Christmas without excess and an abundance of calories would be like a stocking with no presents, a tree with no decorations, holly without ivy, Quality Streets without the green triangle… you get the picture?

As Covid has pretty much guaranteed the party season is off limits this year if you’re anything like me you’ll be making up for it in the comfort of your own home rather than missing out altogether. As far as I’m concerned, the sign of a good Christmas is hearty food, more units of alcohol than I’d ever admit to my doctor, and an overload of chocolate/sweets/cake/pudding (usually in that order). And realistically, they don’t call them the 12 days of Christmas for no good reason, do they? Inevitably this means far too many calories, and far too many calories mean, for most of us, unwanted weight gain unless you burn them off. Now I can tell you right now there’s no way I’m going to be sticking to any health or fitness regime over Christmas, which begs the question, what do I do with all of these calories? This is where I’ve got you covered with my 12 fun ways to burn calories, involving no exercise whatsoever! Seriously, this is like (Christmas) music to my ears…..

Deck the Halls

For most of us decorating the house for Christmas is fabulous fun. The calories conscious among us will be rather pleased to hear that lugging heavy boxes of baubles around the house and moving the tree can burn at least 350 calories, so you can definitely justify a mulled wine or a mince pie while you ‘work’.

Shop ‘til you drop

If facing the Christmas Eve crowds doesn’t get your pulse racing, then pushing a shopping trolley around a supermarket for an hour and packing your own shopping bags certainly will. Christmas shopping will burn around 230 calories per hour. And if that’s not enough to burn off the festive treat you owe yourself when you’ve finished the food shopping, stock up on a few extra presents and burn even more calories by lugging your bags up and down the high street for a few hours. For the record, this is the only time of year you’ll probably be able to justify spending a fortune and shopping all day for ‘health reasons’. I kid you not.

Get the garden ready for Santa

For some, this is a pleasurable pass time, for me, during lockdown it seemed to have become a competition between the neighbours to see who was more likely to win Chelsea next year. Did you know that gardening burns a staggering 386 calories an hour and mowing the lawn burns 309 calories per hour? Really sorry but this means pushing the mower, not sitting on it. The only silver lining to this cloud is that things stop growing in the winter, so you’ll probably only have to brave the cold once during the holiday period.

Add a bit of sparkle and shine to your house

For most of us getting the house deep cleaned especially in time for Christmas seems to have become the norm. The good news is that you’ll burn around 155 calories per hour doing light duties such as dusting, doing laundry, ironing or vacuuming. Even better, this means the house will be spotless and you won’t have to lift a finger for a few days! Just to be very clear, this equates to a large glass of wine, so while you’re at it, change the bedsheets as well for good measure!

Brush away the cobwebs

For me, a post-Christmas lunch walk is one of my favourite Christmas traditions. A nice leisurely hours walk will burn around 280 calories – leaving just enough room for an extra helping of Christmas pudding when you get home. If you want a few tips for longer walks for Boxing Day or New Year, take a look at Countryfile's Best Boxing Day walks in the UK.

Winter fun

I think most of us can safely agree that, with the advent of pop-up ice rinks everywhere, skating has become a pre-Christmas necessity. Not to mention being super fun, you will burn around 330 calories an hour. Ooo, and simply keeping yourself upright on skates gives your core a phenomenal workout! If you’re lucky enough to have a white Christmas, haul the sledge up and down a hill for an hour to burn 476 calories – then warm up with a fully loaded hot chocolate afterwards.

Turkey & trimmings

Simply spending an hour on your feet peeling potatoes and stirring the gravy will burn a whopping 140 calories per hour! Eating dinner will burn around 50 calories and washing the dishes and clearing up afterwards will burn another 150 calories.


Did you know that laughing burns up to 240 calories per hour? So really, to justify an extra mince pie, all you have to do is sit back with your feet up and laugh at your guests attempt to play charades. And if you do feel like joining in you can bump that up to 300 calories per hour.

Mistletoe, anyone?

Now I’m pretty sure you’re not likely to do this for an hour, but kissing under the mistletoe could burn more than 60 calories an hour. As far as I’m concerned, a quick kiss under the mistletoe justifies at least one small chocolate!

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Not having party season in full swing this year certainly doesn’t mean I won’t be dancing to Wham. Dancing for an hour will burn an amazing 380 calories! So if I’m cooking dinner while dancing around the kitchen, do you think that counts as double calories?

That’s a wrap

Wrapping presents can be a mundane but essential part of Christmas, but the bonus is you’ll burn around 120 calories for every hour you spent covered in sticky tape and paper.

Have a lie-in!

After all the hard work you’ve spent getting ready for Christmas, you can definitely justify a lie-in on Christmas morning. The average 8-hour sleep with burning 400 calories while you just lie there and do absolutely nothing, safe in the knowledge that you’ve already burnt away the calories in the glass of bucks fizz you’ll have for breakfast.


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