As the year is winding down, we wanted to pause to wish all of our fellow adventurers a merry Christmas and happy holiday season. There is much to celebrate this holiday season, including time with those we love and a pause from the usual routine. It is a special time of year, holding time for both festive, joyful celebration and peaceful rest and reflection. Where these two meet is the opportunity to reflect over and celebrate the past year.
In the midst of this busy season, we’d like to encourage you to pause to reflect and celebrate the past year, and we have some simple ideas to help you do that. May these ideas inspire you to find new traditions for reflection and celebration that fit your family.
Ways to Reflect over the Year
Even if this has been a rough year for your family, try to focus on the positives. The hard things deserve reflection too, of course, but the great things can more easily get lost if we don’t make an effort to look for them. While it may feel like the months have flown by, a year is a long time to reflect on all at once. Try these strategies together with your family:
- Make a list, and check it twice. Ask everyone in the family to mention a few of their favorite memories from the year. Write them down and hang the list somewhere where everyone can see them. Once you’re in the habit of doing this, reviewing previous years lists will become a highlight of your holiday season.
- Use pictures. Most of us don’t print out paper copies of pictures and put them in albums these days. Chances are there are some great moments that you’ve forgotten already. You took the pictures to help you remember, so why not use them that way?
- Flip through your calendar. How we spent our days is ultimately how we spent our year. Flip through your wall calendar or planner to remember the trips you took, the parties you attended, the family events, and even the seemingly mundane things. This was your year.
- Ask good questions that make you think. Questions like, “How did you grow this year? What challenge did you overcome? What accomplishment are you most proud of?” Be prepared to encourage one another at the same time. “I noticed how hard you worked to pass that biology course, or overcome that bad habit, or make healthier choices.”
Ideas to Celebrate the Past Year
Once you’ve reflected over the joyful moments from the last year, it may become obvious how best to celebrate them. If you need a few ideas to get you started, consider these:
- Display your list of favorite memories. Mount it on colored cardstock and read it again over dinner on New Year’s Eve.
- Print out pictures to make a highlight reel of your year. Organize them into a scrapbook, add them to frames on the wall, or have them printed into a photo book. Keep your treasured memories somewhere where you can see them and remember, instead of stuck on a hard drive or in the cloud somewhere.
- Prepare a special meal and gather around it. Make it clear that this meal is to celebrate your year and your family. Phones and other devices should be turned off. Linger at the table. Look in each other’s eyes. Connect.
- Take a walk. Celebrate the beautiful and meaningful moments by going together to a beautiful or meaningful place. Even if it’s just in your neighborhood, being outside can help you talk and play together.
There’s Still Time to Make Memories
Remember, 2019 isn’t quite over yet! During these days when most of us have a break in our ordinary routines, why not squeeze in one more special adventure together as a family? If you’re living in a winter wonderland, find a great place to go skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. If your part of the world is only dreaming of a white Christmas, find a great cycling route or hiking trail. There is perhaps no better way to celebrate a year of wonderful memories than to make a few new ones to add to the list.