Over Christmas, my family and I watched It’s a Wonderful Life. Me, for the millionth time, my youngest for the first (at least the first that she could understand a tiny bit of). How can I be watching something and simultaneously have so many other pictures and memories of other Christmases flashing through my mind? I don’t know the brain science behind it, but I do know that I would love for my children to be able to experience that same feeling when they are one day sitting with families of their own over the holidays.
We recently moved to a new city and this will be our first New Year’s Day in our new home. With so much change going on around my children, I feel like it’s even more important to preserve the sense of “normal” with these 5 New Year’s traditions.
The New Year’s Interview:
It is such a joy to watch these interview reels each year. The idea is, you interview your child using the same questions every year and then link each year’s videos back to back so that you can see your child growing before your eyes. It’s both hilarious and heartwarming to see how the answers change over the years (not to mention how the kids grow!). The set-up doesn’t need to be fancy: a chair, something to record with, and a tripod. A microphone would probably help too-my kids all went through a shy, quiet phase where we can barely hear their answers. Still cute, though.
The Memory Jar
Starting January 1, we begin to feed our memory jar with memories. It might be a scrap of paper with something jotted on it, a ticket, a photo, a program, a map, a receipt, a hospital band, anything that is worth remembering. The following January 1, we go through the jar and marvel at all we did that year.
As we go through our memory jar, I divide the memories into 5 piles (one for each child). When we reach the bottom of the jar, I staple the piles together, write the year on top, and let the kids add their pile to their individual Memory Boxes. These are special boxes (one for each child) that stay in the attic until January 1 each year. This is also the time I take the pile of papers/artwork/etc. that I’ve deemed “Memory-Box-worthy” over the course of the year and sort them into the kids’ boxes. One of my daughters is particularly sentimental and she loves to open the “vault” of her past and reminisce. These are also the boxes that contain things like their first locks of hair, their yearly photo portraits, awards, special letters, etc. After January 1, the box goes back into the vault for another year.
A Year in Review
Ever since my oldest was born, I have created yearly memory books on Shutterfly. I keep the process as simple as possible in that I don’t add any text and usually cram as many photos as I can on each page. I order 6 copies, preferably when they are all majorly discounted. We keep one out for our family to enjoy (and eventually destroy from wear) and the others are put into each of the kids memory boxes for them to be able to take with them when they leave the house. Don’t have that much time? This year, I am planning to do a video “year-in-review” by plugging my iphone into our projector and hitting “play” on the slideshow feature. Pop some popcorn, play some music and enjoy all you’ve been able to experience over the last year!
Campfire and S’mores
This will be a new tradition for our new home. Perhaps it’s the American in me, or the camper in me, or the story-lover in me, but I thought it would be great to start a campfire and s’mores tradition on New Year’s eve.
No matter where we happen to live, I hope that my children will always feel that sense of belonging and security that comes with the consistent rhythms and markers that we’ve built in throughout the year. What are your favorite traditions that you keep with your family? Share below!