NEW YEAR. NEW IDEAS.
4 WAYS TO BRING IN THE NEW YEAR
To say that 2020 has been a long year for our world and your family would be an understatement. For almost a full year, work, school, and even church have been affected by a global pandemic. As a result, relationships and community have shifted towards home. This year, for better or worse, the family has taken center stage while we stayed home. The year 2020 may have been challenging, but it provides the perfect backdrop to celebrate, reflect, and connect as a family over New Years’. Consider these three simple ideas to say “Aloha,” both goodbye and hello, to 2020!
1. Mark Your Calendar
Holidays and special days provide wonderful opportunities to celebrate. This last year, many holidays and special occasions we usually enjoy as a family have been a letdown. Let’s make up for that by making 2021 into a year of celebrations.
Print out a 2021 calendar or purchase a sizeable 12-month calendar for a particular spot in your home. Use brightly colored markers and pens, and allow everyone to help.
Visit online sites like Time Table (https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/fun/), National Today (https://nationaltoday.com/funny-holidays ), or Check A Day (https://www.checkiday.com ) to find a collection of all the hilarious national and international holidays or special days for every day of the year). Go through the calendars and choose at least four bonus holidays (one per week for each month that everyone wants to celebrate)! Consider finding more than just fun holidays, and look for some serious ones, as well.
Using your markers, create a calendar of holidays, special events, and bonus days for your family to celebrate in the new year. Commit to celebrating to the fullest—and adding some new traditions!
2. Don’t Let Old Acquaintances Be Forgot
It seems that 2020 has been a year of disconnection. You are probably surrounded by people who have felt forgotten in the middle of the pandemic. There may be people within your family, neighbors, or church members who don’t have family or even acquaintances or friends separated from family by distance who feel isolated or disconnected.
Commit to making new family friendships this year. Try to think about those you would not normally befriend. Be intentional to reach out and connect. Remember that this is more than just an opportunity to witness, but rather seek to build a genuine friendship with people your family or others may have forgotten. Plan a new year-new friends party at your home, organize a game night, and celebrate when the “stay at home” is over, and everyone can “come on over!”
3. Rock Around the Clock!
The pandemic may prevent you from going out to watch the ball drop or the clock count down, but you can make an “at-home New Year’s Eve holiday” for everyone to enjoy and remember.
Using 12 envelopes, 12 note cards, and a wall clock, create a countdown celebration for family fun. Choose 12 activities, events, or foods that your family enjoys. Be sure to get everyone’s input. Record the different items on a card and seal them in an envelope. Write a time on each envelope (ranging from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am), and post them on a wall in a circle around the clock. At each hour, open a different envelope and enjoy the activity or food written on the card. Enjoy the final day of the year in a unique and memorable way by having fun and celebrating all day long!
4. Countdown Camp-In!
If the kids want to stay up all night and the adults want to call it a day by 12:01 am, here is a happy compromise! Have a family camp-in! Depending on your locale, camping outside may not be an option on December 31st, but that doesn’t mean your family can’t camp. You can even create an under-the-stars experience by using Christmas lights or glow-in-the-dark stickers.
Set up your tents or create your own in classic blanket and pillow style. Pull out the sleeping bags, put on cozy pajamas, grill some hot dogs in the fireplace (or on the stove), make s’mores, and create memories as you stay up until midnight.
No matter what you choose to do, spend some time as a family around the camp circle sharing your memories, blessings, and thoughts about the last year. Take time to pray and do family devotions as you say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new year.
Whatever you do during the close of the holidays, get creative in your celebrations. Use the time to make plans for 2021 and commit to be intentional in a (hopefully) post-pandemic world ways to bring holiday happiness to whoever you can!
Dan Istvanik has been working in youth ministry for 25 years, serving in churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington DC. He is a speaker, ministry coach, writer, and contributor to other ministry resources. You can contact Dan at www.mymresources.com, where he shares student ministry resources.
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