Thursday, January 3, 2013

NYE Time Capsule Could Be The Best Thing We've Done All Year (2013)

I've never been a huge fan of New Years Eve.  I mean.. the pressure!!

At first, when I was young and single, it was the pressure to have a "fabulous evening" in a momentous way.  The pressure to have the epically romantic kiss at the stroke of midnight like some kind of neo-Cinderella.  The pressure to simply be at fantastic party looking your fabulous-est.

And there's always pressure to look back at your year and remember the highlights.  I can barely remember what I did last weekend, much less perform some kind of mental year end retrospective.  And I haven't even mentioned the pressure to turn your year end review into a list of inevitably broken resolutions to live a better life the following year.  I mean, I'm Jewish. It's been 3 months since the New Years promises I made during Yom Kippur (the Jewish New Year).  3 months is exactly the amount of time it takes to realize your failure at following through on self-improvement plans.

Now that I have young children it's just the pressure to stay up past 10:30 PM.  And to somehow make it fun or at least mark the occasion for them.

Explaining the concept to Caleb was a struggle. I told him it was a holiday, and he looked around for the presents.

I painstakingly tried to explain the passage of time and the duration of a "WHOLE YEAR" to him.  ("Remember your last birthday?  That was a YEAR ago.  It was this many - flashing 10 fingers over and over again - sleeps ago.")

But I'm not sure he got it.  Earlier this year I told him that his birthday was in "January."

"It is!?!"  he responded excitedly, and with no knowledge of the concept continued jumping up and down saying "I  want to go to January!! Can we go now mom?" And even. "Do we have to take a plane?"

But he's jut a bit older now so I thought I'd institute something he might be able to get his head around.  Stealing the idea from the brilliant Momalog, we institute a kind of wish box/time capsule tradition. We'd put our resolutions on paper and in a box and then open it the following year.  For us, it would keep our promises concrete (none of this "be less judgemental" or "keep in touch more" vagueness, but real benchmarks, like "call grandma once a week") and keep us accountable knowing we'd look at this later. For the kids it would just be fun to look back and see he kinds of things they wished for themselves a year ago.

We bought a small plastic box, along with stickers and markers and the like to decorate it.  So, even if the concept is lost on kids, they'll have some fun with the art project part.

We asked Caleb to think of things he'd like to "learn" this year ("accomplish" or "improve upon" seemed like burdensome concepts that a child should be free from).  He got very excited about this idea and said "I want to learn how to draw.  A monkey.  Oh... and boat!"

Wonderful idea!  We wrote it down and put it in the box.

And then he asked me to promptly teach him how to draw a monkey. Or a boat.  So, I continued to try and explain that he'd have a whole year to learn these things.

So, he settled on "learn to ride a bike" and "learn to draw letters."  Completely reasonable (and adorable) wishes from a near four-year old.

Caleb, just as proud of his "artwork" as his wish.    
We also let him add "learn how to drive a car" to the box, figuring it'll be a stellar opportunity to teach him about disappointment.

Not to be left out, Emmet got in on the action:

Totally doable.
So, at least for the kids, we're hoping we're creating a fun and momentous tradition.  They'll be able to see how much they've learned in the last year and take a moment to congratulate themselves.

Colin and I, on the other hand, face the terrifying prospect, of starting NYE 2013 opening up a piece of paper that reminds us how we've failed.  But there's a small chance this could be the kick in the pants we need to keep those pesky New Years resolutions from fading away by Valentine's day.  Either way, we've "sealed the box" and are jumping in!

Happy 2013 to you all!


  1. Great idea! I love that the box is sealed. And I noticed that you did not exactly share your resolutions. :) Ellen

    1. Yeah, did you catch that? Public accountability outside my immediate family is even MORE terrifying. ; )

  2. What an awesome idea! I love it! Although I love it more for our kids than for me. I'm afraid it might be depressing to see "lose X pounds" over and over again. But I'm going to do it this year. I know it!! (only January 3, so I still have some enthusiasm left).

    1. Yeah, if we didn't have kids there's really no way I'd do this. Right now the idea of seeing how far we've come on our resolutions next year is motivating, but Dec. 31st 2013, it might be horrifying...

  3. Loved the part about calling Grandma more often -:)

  4. Sweet idea! I love this and one way you can be pretty sure to not be disappointed is to make your resolution, "Jump up and down with joy and pride when Emmet learns to walk and Caleb learns to draw letters." Love Caleb's grin by the way!