Get a big piece of sketch paper and draw your dreams! – Get as big a piece of paper as you can – sugar paper taped together or a roll of paper from an art shop – and place it on the living room floor, kitchen table, or wherever you have the most space. Arm all your artists with pens, pencils, glitter, even scissors and magazines/coloured paper if you’re feeling super crafty. Set the question: what are your dreams for 2015? Then enjoy creating something beautiful together, writing the words that resonate, drawing your dreams, and sticking pictures of things that make you feel good. When everyone is finished you will hopefully have a huge piece of art that reflects your family’s dreams for 2015.
Cook a family meal – Make it special with a tablecloth, proper cutlery and crockery, even a menu. Designate different courses/components of the meal to each member of the family. You might like to go out a few days before to source ingredients, or you might still be using up leftovers from Christmas! Leave plenty of time in the day to cook and bake together, decorate the table and room.
Write fun forfeits to be completed by midnight – Write out the same number of forfeits as there are members of the family. While you’re feasting, get everyone to dip in and pick one from a hat. Make them fun, make them silly. Think ‘tickle everyone and make them laugh’, or ‘find out what everyone’s dream is for 2015’, ‘find a pair of socks for each member of the family and perform a sock puppet play featuring your version of your family’s voices’… The first person to fulfil their forfeit wins a prize but everyone should aim to get theirs completed by midnight.
Plant New Year seeds – Decorate flower pots with words that sum up your wishes for the year ahead. This might be FUN, LOVE, or ABUNDANCE, for instance. There are some seeds that actually benefit from being sown in winter, such as hollyhocks and calendula – find out more at the Winter Sown website. Ceremoniously plant your seeds together, put them in a sunny spot and enjoy you first signs of spring.
Invite neighbours round for a gathering – Chances are, most of your mates/neighbours with kids were planning on curling up on the sofa to watch a DVD. Inject a little festivity into New Year by inviting them round for a celebration. It doesn’t have to involve huge amounts of preparation if you get everyone to bring a dish and a bottle, make a big batch of mulled wine and put on some party tunes. The kids will enjoy playing together and staying up late, or you might be able to convince them to snuggle down en masse…
Get some sleep! – Start 2015 with a clear head and a sense of potential in a way that just wasn’t possible during the years of youthful misadventure. Going to bed early and waking up on New Year’s Day after a refreshing night’s sleep enables you to leap into your plans, projects and adventures with enthusiasm. If you’re parents of young children, you’ll appreciate that sometimes sleep is as attractive a prospect as a wild night out celebrating!
Go for a night walk – Kids pick up on the fact that New Year is exciting and one way to involve them in festivities is to organise a night walk. Depending on the weather, of course, this can be a really energising and uplifting New Year’s celebration and may become a family tradition. Pick a local beauty spot and arm everyone with torches and warm clothes. Or you might prefer to star gaze by a warming outdoor fire and set up camp in your garden if you have a good view of the night sky. Take a flask of hot chocolate and a willingness to tell stories together and enjoy.
Design a family photo album – With a little preparation, this can be a great way to remember the year just gone. It also acts as a catalyst to do something with all the photos you have stored on your camera, phone and computer and keep meaning to do something with. You can split it into the sections of the year and decorate each section according to the season. Or perhaps you will devote different parts of the album to each member of the family. If you do it every year, you’ll build up a wonderful collection of albums for each year of your family’s life.
Complete a family questionnaire – One way to reflect on the year’s successes and the things you have learned is to create a family questionnaire. Questions might include: ‘what is your favourite memory from 2014?’, ‘what did you learn in 2014?’ and ‘what did you do for the first time this year?’. You might like to compile the answers in your family album (see above) or create a family yearbook.
Play a what-happened-next game – Start the game by making a statement such as ‘In January we visited Grandpa in Scotland’ or whatever your family did – and then invite each member of the family to take it in turns to tell the story of your year sentence by sentence. ‘In Scotland we went to a restaurant where Billy and me ate chocolate sundaes’, for instance. It’s a fun way to trigger family memories and will no doubt throw up surprising versions of the same experiences. It’s also a chance for every member of the family to talk through their experiences of 2014, whether they started school or their best friend moved away. Happy or sad memories all have their place in the family’s recollections.
Whatever you do, have a wonderful time and we wish you a very happy and abundant 2015!