New Year’s is a time of excitement: A time to ring in the New Year and think about how next year is going to be different. Commonly when we think of New Year’s, we think of the couple kissing as the ball drops in Time Square; but I ask you, where are the kids? Isn’t celebrating our past and looking forward to the future something we should do with those we actually share that time with. Here are seven great ways to incorporate your family into the New Year’s Celebration:
1. Make a time capsule. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and can contain anything that you think represents your year. It can be stored in anything from a Tupperware container to a decoupaged box. Then set it aside to open in 10 years. I don’t recommend the traditional burial idea, but just a safe place in your attic or cellar. A time capsule will be not only be a tradition to make, but later a tradition to open.
2. Take a family picture. This can be part of the time capsule contents or not. While we all have plenty of pictures from our year, somehow when you look through them you may find that there are none with everyone in the family in them. One of you is always taking the picture and therefore is absent, so plan on New Year’s to take a shot of the whole family.
3. Make and record a family resolution. Everyone is familiar with resolutions, but these are different because they are not about just you, but about the whole family (so they may take some time to come up with and agree upon). Do you want to commit to eating dinner five nights a week together? Do you want to institute a game night once a month? Or Sunday dinners? Maybe you can agree on a hike or other physical activity as a family every two weeks. Once you figure out what works for your family, get the calendars out and mark out the time.
4. Make a year in review collage. This is a great idea for New Year’s Day itself. Pull out all those great pictures you took this year and create a collage to post somewhere in the house. If you are really active on Facebook or on you blog, you may want to look for a My Year in Status or My Year in Photos applications which will pull from your posts to create an amalgam of all that you did. It is amazing what you forget in only a year.
5. Start a new tradition with your family. New Year’s may have been going out to a party before you had kids, but now you would like to change that tradition to something that you can include the kids in. In our house, New Year’s Eve includes a candlelight dinner of Beef Stroganoff. For your family it could be skiing a particular hill or joining in a Penguin Plunge. It doesn’t matter what it is. It just matters that it is something. Traditions are the memories that seep from generation to generation. It is your little way of affecting what your great-great grandchildren might do.
6. If your children are small, don’t think that midnight is really the magic of New Year’s. New Year’s magic is the time together to reflect backward and then turn forward and make plans. Since the point is being joyful together, don’t worry about what the clock says. As Alan Jackson’s song says, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and so it must be midnight somewhere too. Declare a new midnight at 8 or 10 so that the little ones can enjoy it.
7. Of course there are always the traditional celebrations that may call your name. Don’t be afraid to just bring the kids along. Most cities have a first night celebration. Check your local listings. Maybe you don’t want to drag them through the cold streets but just find a place where you can park nearby and enjoy the fireworks. Prehaps though your little ones may enjoy all the activities and noise. If you really want to kick it up a notch, perhaps plan a celebration with Mickey. Can you imagine a better New Year’s celebration than watching fireworks explode over Cinderella’s Castle? This would truly be a New Year’s your child would never forget.
Time with your children is very fleeting. Enjoy every moment and make as many happy memories as you can together. New Year’s is the perfect time to do that. It may not be your traditional champagne and kissing your love, but chances are you already have that part settled, so enjoy the evening together as a family.