Make Resolutions a Ritual
When you're sitting down and sharing resolutions with each other, it makes the family closer. You can make it even more meaningful by adding elements of ritual, Cox says.
"One of the main rules in creating new rituals is to engage as many of the five senses as possible," she says. For sound, play the family's favorite music. For smell and taste, cook a fun treat to eat during or after writing resolutions, especially something that smells delicious such as hot chocolate with marshmallows or warm cider with cinnamon. For touch and vision, buy some small objects to symbolize what might happen to a person in the next year, such as a small globe for travel, a football for sports, a book for doing well at school, and so on. Wrap the objects in pretty holiday paper and put them in a bowl. Each person picks one gift (or "charm") that will "predict" something about his or her adventures in the New Year.
"Families these days tend to have isolated lives," Cox says. "When you're talking about what matters to each other, that's a bonding experience." So turn off the electronic devices -- no texting -- and pay attention to one another.
When the Dionnes lift their glasses of cider with their children, now 12 and 13, this New Year's Eve, they'll be continuing a tradition of closeness. "I'll say, 'We've got a whole new year and a clean slate, so let's start fresh,'" Vicky says. "We get them pumped up about how they can improve their lives." Paul adds, "We consciously decided to do this on New Year's Eve because we're always together then. We stay up 'til midnight and toast each other as a team, a family."
Wendy Schuman is a freelance writer and mother of two based in New Jersey.
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