New Years Rituals for Families
Happy December 31!
In the United States, New Years is not a family holiday. Too often it's an adults-only event, more focused on alcohol than reflection, no deeper than watching TV waiting for the ball to drop so we can kiss the one we're with.
But kids are actually fascinated by the passage of time, which seems magical to them. They LOVE the idea of a new year, a fresh start, a celebration of life. And every family deserves the regular opportunity to pause and consider their life. Why not celebrate the new year with your family?
Some ideas to give your
kids both roots and wings as they head into the new year:
1. On December 31 go around the table and have each person in the family say what their favorite thing about the old year was, savoring together the best moments of 2012. Have everyone add one thing they would like to leave behind, and what they're looking forward to in the New Year. Ask if your family should make a New Years resolution together.
2. Let the kids stay up till midnight. If that’s a recipe for disaster for little ones the next day, consider changing the clocks to midnight at a more reasonable hour. Toast the New Year with sparkling apple juice in glass goblets and open the front door to let the good luck in. Take the kids out to blow horns with you in the front yard before tucking them into bed.
3. Enroll the kids to help you make a collage of photos from the year that's leaving, with the words "Goodbye 2012!" at the top, as you revisit and savor the memories of the year together. Keep the collages in a safe place, and review them every New Years'. They'll become treasured family heirlooms.
4. Every New Years day, take a family photo. Frame these and put them on your wall. Your kids and their friends will love admiring the way everyone has changed over the years -- but not as much as you will!
5. Model healthy change, not failed New Years Resolutions. New Years resolutions fail because they're goals that are tough, and the momentum of the new year isn't enough to make up for our lack of a plan. Start small, and give yourself the support you need to actually keep your resolution.
6. Leave the Past behind. If you’re like most people, you’re carrying some
baggage you don’t need, whether it’s clutter, anger, exhaustion, illness, or
excess weight. What burden are you ready to leave behind as you move
forward into the new year?
Just telling yourself to drop that burden won’t work.
You’re carrying it for a reason.
Today, talk to your excess baggage.
Ask why you’ve needed it.
What benefit was it giving you?
Thank it for taking care of you.
Ask what you need to do to complete this situation and free yourself.
Write a letter to mail? Write a letter to burn?
Give yourself permission to do things differently than you always have?
Love yourself wholly and completely for the first time in your life?
Commit to this first step.
Tell this burden that you’re ready to move on without it now, that it can rest.
Thank it again for all it has done to serve you,
and say goodbye.
Finish by lavishing a blizzard of appreciation on yourself for all the things you’ve done right this year. From that place of self-love, say thank you for all the large and small miracles in your life. Open yourself to receiving more. Then MAKE A PLAN! If you don't know where you're headed, you're bound to end up somewhere else.
May your New Year be filled with blessings, large and small.
“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives, not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
-- Ellen Goodman