Happy New Year my dear friends and family all over the world!
I pray that this new year will bring us all love, joy, hope, peace and blessings in abundance. I pray that we would also have the strength, courage, fortitude and tenacity to face the trials and tribulations, that are sure to also be included in our new year, with amazing grace and mercy to those who wrong us, faith in God and trust in His purpose, upright character and self-discipline when it would be easier to drown our sorrows in a convenient vice and that we would choose joy and gratitude over negativity and criticism.
Here’s to 2012! From our family to yours…
Our New Years Eve Traditions
I had such great intentions of sharing more of our family faith traditions during this Christmas season…but once again the celebrating and carrying out those wonderful traditions took precedence over the writing about them. I am sure every last one of you can relate to not getting around to doing the things that you hoped to do…well that’s me when it comes to all I would like to share on my blog with others but I just don’t fit it in my daily life…even as I type this out I have dozens of posts swirling about in my head hoping to someday be put down in writing. Someday….
However, since I am up early and writing this morning how about a glimpse into our New Years Eve traditions? I love New Years Eve for a multitude of reasons…not the least being that I am a “late night” kinda gal and I love that everyone gets to experience what a magical moment after midnight can be! Yes, we always stay up well past the midnight hour to celebrate a new year of life!
Our New Years traditions do vary on occasion but there are a few things that are always included:
- Cheese fondue with all the accompaniments…such a fun family meal and so yummy. And of course for dessert…chocolate fondue! mmmmmm good!
- Fun festive decorations, party hats, noise makers and loud celebration music! This year I got a cute decorating idea from my friend Leigh Ann Wilkes at Homebased Mom and was able to throw together a last minute addition to the decor! Love it!
- Some intense competitive card playing that may or may not include a bit of yelling, accusations, card throwing or hand injuries. And we have been known to play until the sun comes up the next morning! (our game of choice in the Lambdin family: Nerts)
- Martinelli’s sparkling cider served in wine glasses to give a toast to the New Year, watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV and shouting at the top of our lungs “Happy New Year” from the front porch! (and a kiss from my love)
- And of course some type of reflection, resolution, goal setting or prediction activity for the New Year…because you can take the teacher out of her classroom but you can’t take the lessons & lectures out of the teacher! (more on the activity we did this year below under “Word for the Year”)
- Lastly our New Years Eve always includes friends and family members who join in for some or all of the celebration!
Let me take this opportunity to encourage those of you with young children still at home to seize the moment now to create fun family traditions for New Years Eve. I know it’s tempting to get a babysitter and go out for some “adult” time to celebrate the new year but if you decide now while they are young to have a great celebration together as a family and establish some ongoing annual traditions you will reap the benefits of having your teenage and young adult children believing “there’s no place like home” for New Year’s Eve and never wanting to miss out on the fun and festivities you have created!
By the Way…It’s STILL Christmas
It’s true! Despite the fact that most folks have taken down their Christmas decorations and stored them away until next Thanksgiving, stopped playing Christmas music and are back to the “normal” routine of life… the Christmas season is not actually over. For those of you like me who are interested in “eeking out” every last bit of the season and celebration as well as always looking for opportunities to instill spiritual truths in your children throughout the entire year, don’t put a wrap up Christmas quite yet!
Today is the eleventh day of Christmas. I bet many of you thought that the “12 days of Christmas” happened prior to Christmas or perhaps you were not even aware that there actually are 12 days of Christmas and it is not just a fun Christmas song. The 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas day and are followed by Epiphany (the celebration of when the wisemen came to visit Jesus and bring gifts. And yes we have a grand Epiphany celebration around here too! You can read about it here.)
There is historical evidence that even the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written as a way to teach children important tenets of their faith. I learned about this several years ago and have since been using these 12 days to teach and remind us all of these important truths. You can read about the meaning of each day and the tenet it teaches here – The Twelve Days of Christmas.
This year I also found this great activity book that my eight year old has been teaching us out of each night (because teaching is one of the BEST ways to learn!). We learn a new lesson each day and then review the past days and end by singing the 12 days of Christmas song beginning with the day we are currently celebrating. You can order the book on Amazon here.
Enjoy your last few days of Christmas –> play that favorite Christmas CD or watch a holiday movie one last time, light a pine scented candle, drink a glass of egg nog or savor sipping on a final gingerbread latte, read the story of the visit of the wisemen (or maybe even decide to have an Epiphany celebration…it’s not too late), or bless someone with a gift that will enhance their spiritual lives this year and remind them of the greatest gift of the Christmas season…Jesus!
A Photo a Day in 2012
One of the things that I will be doing this year is posting on facebook a photo and a brief description of meaningful, special, beautiful and divine things in my life from that day. I love photos and I love writing and I believe that it is powerful to both look for and stop to ponder the important, meaningful and positive things in life each day to cultivate a life of purpose, gratitude, contentment and joy!
You can follow my album on facebook with this link – A Photo a Day in 2012
The Gift of a Memory
We do not give our children Christmas gifts (gasp!). Ok, so they get a few very practical things in their stocking on Christmas morning (hair accessories, lip saver, socks, toiletries and some candy) and they do get a new pair of pajama’s every Christmas Eve but other than that no gifts. (which for me means no shopping, no stress, no wrapping, no credit card bills…freedom!! Wheeeeeeee!!) We began this “tradition” in 1997 the year we had no jobs and no viable income and it has truly been one of the BEST decisions we have ever made (if I can be so bold as to call losing our jobs and being in a state of poverty our decision….but rather I guess deciding to keep things that way even after the economic circumstances of the time turned).
Instead of material gifts, we have chosen to give our children great memories during the Christmas season so we spend our limited resources on our family traditions and on doing things together as a family – special trips, outings and experiences. We are also blessed that my Mother (aka: Granny) chooses to give us money each year for Christmas that we can use to make great memories as well. When it is all said and done…the sweaters end up at Salvation Army, the technology “toys” end up in the recycle bin, the gifts and gadgets wear out, collect dust or end up in a yard sale down the road (or if we are a hoarder, our very own estate sale after we die) But the trips, outings, experiences and time together as a family stay with us forever! We have done many things from meals out (a real treat for a family of 10!), a sleigh ride in the snow, attending a concert or play, a family day at the movie theater complete with ordering popcorn, trips to the snow, the beach, the mountains and beyond as well as bowling, skating and miniature golfing. We even rented a cabin one year for a family get away over several days!
This year the week following Christmas we had an amazing day in the Santa Cruz mountains taking a steam engine train through the redwoods and then heading down to the beach for some boardwalk rides, relaxing and taking in the beauty of the ocean and some clam chowder. It was a GREAT day filled with good times, laughter and crazy moments! (including the typical fussing and fighting that goes along with any family road trips…no we are not the “perfect family” who always gets along)
We also spent the final beautiful and sunny day of Christmas break ice skating as a family at an outdoor rink in Sacramento. My brother and his family joined in on the fun….Good times!
Maybe it’s time to re-think the gift giving for your family…something to think about!
Word for the Year
Ok so back to our New Years Eve goal setting activity. Yes we always do some type of reflection, resolution or vision casting activity and personally it is my favorite thing about the New Year (shocking I know for a type A, driven, mover/shaker, lion personality that I am).
This year I got a great idea from a blog called Thirty Handmade Days that included these great printable sheets for New Years Eve. I stumbled across them mid day on December 31st and “voila” I had the perfect plan for New Years Eve! (aint the Internet great?) There was even a sheet for the younger kids to fill out so it was perfect.
One of my favorite parts of this worksheet was choosing a word for the year. Yes, just one word to sum up what you wanted your year to look like! It took a lot of thought and the “non decision” makers and perfectionists of the family had to be convinced that they truly could pick just one word and it would all be good.
Here are some of the words my family chose for 2012:
My word for 2012 is MOMENTUM
There are several areas that this word applies to my life as far as what I want to see happen in 2012. My bottom line is that I am wanting to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling and gaining momentum in personal discipline, in my household, with my children and in my ministry. There is power in momentum and I want it!
Do you have a word for 2012?
Just wanted to warn you of what’s to come…there may be a larger number of blog posts coming your way. For some that may be exciting…for others not so much. Either way, you can always hit the delete button or unsubscribe to these blog posts…I will not be offended. We all only have so much time in our lives and if I am not adding value to your life and helping to inspire, motivate an encourage you then move right along!
For those of you that stay with me….let’s do this thing called life with passion and purpose in this new year while giving praise to our Lord for His lovingkindness and faithfulness to us despite our failures along the way.
Here’s to 2012!