New Year’s Eve Family Traditions

As New Year’s Eve approaches, your family may begin the conversations about plans for New Year’s Eve. For us, many years ago we started spending that night at home with our kids, which allowed us to create some great New Year’s Eve family traditions. Now that our kids are adults, we find ourselves enjoying the same family traditions with them to this day.   

One of my favorite traditions is writing a list of things to let go of and a list of things to create in the coming year. If your family has experienced loss, change or heartbreak of any kind, talk about those things and see if anyone wants to “let them go”. Talking about the experiences brings them to the forefront and allows your family to process, release and heal. Be sure no one is invalidating the feelings of another family member. One person’s experience may not be another person’s experience.

Some items we also add to our “let go” list are behaviors we don’t like in ourselves (we don’t comment on the behaviors of others), struggles, resentments, etc. You can add depression, anxiety, addiction, attitudes, arguments, etc. Anything a person wants to let go of would be great to add to this list. Each person is looking only at themselves, unless someone asks for input. Be gentle with yourselves and with each other.

You also want to talk about what each person wants to create, add or improve upon going forward. Does someone want to be more kind, thoughtful, loving? What about hobbies? Community service? What does each person want more of? What do they want to make time for this year? Have each person add those to their “create” list. This is good for children of all ages; just meet your kids where they are as far as ideas, ability to write or draw, attention span, etc.

For the “let go” list, you only need one copy per family member. For the “create” list, you will want two copies per family member, so each person can check their list periodically to see how they’re doing throughout the year. (Note: You are checking the lists only to help create more of what you want, not to judge yourselves or each other. Go for the big picture of progress, not perfection.)

Once your lists are complete, put them aside until New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Eve, you get to release them by tossing them into the fireplace (except for the extra “create” copy). We do that at midnight, but you can do it earlier if you have littles who are too sleepy to wait. It’s fun to have a glass of Martinelli’s or a cup of hot cocoa ready to go as you watch the fire. I also suggest reading them to yourselves 10-20 minutes before it’s time to toss them in the fireplace, just so they are fresh in your minds. We often add things at the last minute and talk about our lists as a family.  

There is no right or wrong way to do this. This is simply a symbolic way to release the old and welcome the new. We want to teach our children that it’s possible to let things go, to create what they want, to support others and to be supported. Talking about the past year and encouraging each other is a great way to bond as a family as well. Have fun with it!

Wishing you and your family a beautiful New Year’s Eve!

May the coming year bring many blessings!

Traci Williams is known for her practical and intuitive parenting style. She can be reached at or 951-240-1407.

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