I’m kind of a New Year’s Eve Scrooge. I’ve never cared much for ringing in the new year with anything other than what I usually do. I don’t like to get dressed up and I don’t like black eyed peas. And I especially don’t like the idea of my kids being conscious at midnight. No, indeed. We often allow our kids to count down to midnight somewhere . . .which means 9:00 (maybe 10:00 if we’re feeling charitable), our time. And then it’s lights out.
What I do like to do to commemorate the beginning of a new year is a scaled-down version (it’s gotta be scaled down if it happens at my house) of a New Year’s Time Capsule. Every year, each of us sits down with a list of questions. The questions include things like:
- Your favorite color/song/movie/book/singer/class at school/person to hang out with at school.
- Where you would like to live someday?
- What is your weight/height?
- Do you have any missing teeth?
- What is your favorite thing to wear?
- List three things you are good at.
- Name something you did in 2010 about which you are really proud.
- What is your favorite youtube video of 2010?
- What is one thing you would like to have accomplished by the end of 2010?
- Draw a picture of yourself.
- How would you describe 2010 in one word? One sentence?
The kids spend a good long while poring over their questionnaire and then we seal them up in an envelope. Then the fun begins. We get out the ones from previous years and read a sampling of their responses. The kids LOVE this part. They love to look at how their handwriting and drawings have changed and see how much they have grown. They laugh or scoff at whatever their prior favorite outfits, singers or books were. (This year, our oldest is bound to wonder how she could possibly have liked Justin Beiber last year while the youngest might well write him down as his current favorite.) It’s great to see how much we can change in just one short year.
We always hear some surprising things—like the time Kennedy said if she could live anywhere in the world, she would live in Nebraska. Nebraska? Out of all the places in the whole wide world? O-key dokey. We hear some things we think we can help the kids with, like last year when Stuart said his goals were to learn how to swim (check) and learn how to ride a bike (urr . . . almost-check). Other things are less attainable, like Stuart’s goal to learn how to speak Spanish. Oh, sure, he can learn to speak Spanish—some day.
I am simultaneously annoyed and embarrassed to see that I set some of the same goals every year. Hello, Heather—accomplish a goal, already! Every year, I say I’m going to be more patient (total fail every year). I say I’m going to go to bed earlier (oops—does midnight instead of 12:30 a.m. count?). I say I’m going to cook healthy meals (does switching from Hot Pockets to Lean Pockets count?). Every year, I say I’m going to lose weight. (Wink, wink—this year I’ll actually be able to say that I did that one.)
I’ve almost kept myself from writing down some of those tired goals. It feels crummy to fail every year. But they are things I genuinely want to do, so I continue to write them down—thinking that this year might be the year I actually do it.
So what about you? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you recycle some of the same goals over and over like me, or do you actually keep yours? Do you have any fun family traditions to ring in the new year?