Traditions help us maintain our heritage, but they also bring us closer as families. You may already have New Year’s Eve traditions passed down from your parents, such as eating 12 grapes at midnight or watching the ball drop in Times Square. This year, create some new traditions as a family to look forward to each year. These traditions don’t have to include expensive parties and fireworks; they can simply serve as ways to spend quality time together as a family.
Food: Many of us who grew up in Latin America or Spain, are used to eating traditional foods, such as Pan Dulce, turrón and garrapiñadas, something not many Americans eat. But you can feed your cravings—and thanks to globalization—find these treats and numerous others in many local supermarkets or online at places such as Latinbag.com. Bringing back this tradition from when you, your parents or grandparents lived overseas can be a fun way to create a “new” tradition for the younger generation.
Home Video/Scrapbook Night: Celebrate the events from the past year by spending each New Year’s Eve bundled in front of the TV together watching home videos or by collecting the past year’s photos and putting them in a scrapbook together.
Time Capsule: Have each family member gather one or two items that reflect the past year, then put all of the items in a box. These items might include photos, drawings, the kids’ Christmas wish lists, tickets to a movie you saw or a journal. Seal the box, then open it on New Year’s Eve the following year to see how much has changed in the past year. Knowing that this is how they’ll be spending every December 31st, I bet your kids will start collecting things throughout the year to place in the box!
Game Night: Staying up until midnight is usually a struggle for tired moms and young kids, so pass the time on New Year’s Eve with a Monopoly marathon. Or let each family member choose one board or card game, then play the games back to back until midnight rolls around. There’s nothing like toasting the New Year right at midnight.
Obstacle Course: Have your kids help you create an obstacle course in the back yard (if you live in a warm climate) or a smaller one in the living room. It could be as simple as jumping over a stuffed animal, crawling through a cardboard box, tossing a ball or crumpled piece of paper into a bin or through a hoop and sprinting to the finish line. The family member with the best time gets to choose the movie the whole family will watch the next time you go to the theater.
The end of the year is like a hinge, something ends and something new begins. Adding some new traditions to your existing ones makes the process of ending a cycle and starting a new one that much more exciting.