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Let us examine our ways and test them; and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40

Well, it’s almost here…a New Year!

There seems to be as many ideas for celebrating as there are people who celebrate. Choosing how you’ll mark the New Year may be as hard as keeping resolutions. So here are a few ideas that work for me, along with some creative ideas from others I’ve come across recently.

A Long-Standing Celebration

Our tradition of gathering four or five families started over 20 years ago, when we were all having babies. Now there are just two or three kids who join “the adults”…the others are off doing their own thing.

We’ll have a New Year’s Eve potluck meal with family and friends. We’ll countdown to midnight as we watch the NYC Times Square Ball drop on TV. Then we’ll don hats and use our noisemakers to welcome in 2013 with a toast, firecrackers, and hugs and kisses all around. Then we’ll settle in to bed a few minutes after midnight…

In the morning, we’ll arise slowly and hang out in our pjs, sipping coffee, munching on Land of Nod breakfast cake, playing games like Taboo, Apples to Apples, and charades. By midday, we’ll gather by the fire for a devotional and share a most memorable moment or two from the past year. Then we’ll talk about our hopes, dreams, visions for the New Year.

Instead of making resolutions, my recent tradition is to prayerfully choose One Word for the New Year and a scripture that goes along with it. I still haven’t finalized my one word. But in the meantime, you can read more about that here.

In canvassing friends and surfing the net a bit, I checked out what others’ do to mark the New Year. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

The Bests List of 2012

Just take a look back over the year and make a note, literal or mental, of maybe five of your Bests. This can be Best memory, accomplishment, parenting and marriage highlights, play, musical, movie, book you read…I was inspired by Ann Voskamp’s post at www.(in)courage.me. Click here. (Just found an awesome New Year’s reflection PDF from Tsh Oxenreider at www.SimpleMom.net. Check that out here.)

Prayer Service

My niece goes to a worship service at her local church, where each attendee is given an “Epiphany Word.” After prayer and a time of silence, the congregants blindly choose a word that’s written on a stone or found baked in a cupcake, depending on the year. They then “journey through” the word over the course of the year to gain greater understanding and be mindful in light of their word. Word examples are boldness or forgiveness.

Out With The Old

One of my sisters passes out slips of paper on which the guests write down a theme, moment, behavior, or incident they want to lose, forget, or release. They take their note, crumple it up, and toss it into the fire blazing in the fireplace. Examples: I want to lose the debt from the past year. I want to get rid of the extra weight, procrastination, etc.

A Gratitude Jar

Here’s a tangible way to count your blessings…My daughter decorates a jar for the New Year. In it she and her husband place slips of paper on which good things that have happened are recorded. From time to time throughout the year, she might reflect on these blessings with her husband…and they’ll read through all the good things at the end of each year.

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A Resolution Tree

I saw this one on Kathie Lee and Hoda’s Today Show. You can make a tree and leaves out of sturdy poster board…or you can use actual branches and construction paper leaves to hang. Family members and/or guests write out their resolutions and stick them on the tree. Then guests choose one leaf and keep the person and their resolution in mind over the course of the year. Kathie Lee suggested these could be done as prayer requests as well.

Developing a New Habit

It takes 21 days to develop a new habit. And Holley Gerth’s eBook The “Do What You Can” Plan – 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better  will guide you each day with scriptures, stories, and thoughts that will help spur you on to reaching just one simple goal. I’m using this guide to develop a better time management habit this year, specifically by writing out a schedule each day.

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I’m enjoying Holley’s eBook so much, I decided to share a couple of copies. Just COMMENT HERE let me know what you do for the New Year, a couple of your Bests, or your One Word…and you could win The “Do What You Can” Plan!


Elise has been married for 28 years and is mom to four mostly grown girls. She is a writer, editor, writing coach, and blogger. She believes we all have stories that matter--big life bios and small meaningful moments. Elise believes our stories are a reflection of God’s glory and are meant to be shared. They have the power to inform, reform, and transform. She loves God, familly, friends...and really likes travel!

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