I love the act of creating family traditions, moments that you can look forward to each year. I guess I just appreciate the predictability and comfort that traditions provide. Today I'd like to share the details of my favorite New Year's Eve tradition, but it's one that involves some (super simple and fun) prep work throughout the year, beginning in January.
A few years ago, my husband and I implemented the tradition of creating a yearly memory jar, did it and LOVED it for one year, and then promptly forgot to do it the following two years. So now, here I am in the first month of 2016, and I am bound and determined to start this up again, and I'd love to explain exactly how it works. All you need is an empty container of any kind, one from the dollar store would suffice, or whatever else you have laying around. This year I am using a large glass vase I had in my cupboard. You’ll need to spend about 1-2 whole minutes writing out a cute little label and taping it onto the container. There are plenty of adorable label templates that you could find via Pinterest or Google, but I stuck with my helpful mantra of "done is better than perfect", and worked with the time and materials I had readily available. Do what works for you! Then, put it in a very visible spot, one that gets a lot of traffic in your home, and place a pen and a notepad or sticky notes right next to it.
Throughout the year, as often as you can remember (this is why it's important to have it in a location where you will see it often!), write down small or big things that have happened on the sticky notes, fold them up, and place them in the container. On New Year's Eve, take turns reading the notes aloud and reliving all of the milestones and memories from the past year.
You can write down funny things your children said or did, moments you were thankful for, something that maybe made you go crazy that day but also made you think, “someday I'll look back and laugh at this moment…”, big accomplishments, small, seemingly mundane moments, whatever you see fit. Anyone in the family can contribute to the memory jar at any time, so if you have children old enough to write, it will be interesting to see what they deem as memorable. On New Year's Eve, it is so much fun to take a trip down memory lane and reflect on how your family has grown and what you've done throughout the year.
Another tip is to keep all the notes together in a ziploc bag or folder with the year written on it, and keep them filed away for years to come. Or you could snap pictures of several of the notes at once and keep them, arranged by year, on your computer, whichever method you prefer! It could be something really neat to look back on when the kids are grown or, even further down the road, when the grandkids want to hear stories about what life was like when their mom or dad was little.
We’re only in the first month of this year, so it's still a perfect time to begin this tradition in your own family! Be sure to let me know if you do!