family fun

Family Activity: New Family Traditions for a New Year’s Resolution

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We all have our different ways of putting together our New Years' resolutions. Some of us do it in absolute secrecy, setting goals to overcome certain habits or problems that we're ashamed we still have. Some of us openly proclaim them to the world, maybe to add a layer of accountability to the people who know of our aspirations or have a stake in their accomplishment.

My extended family does them together in the form of "Gifts to Jesus" on Christmas, when we're inspired to come up with concrete ways that we can live our lives more charitably. Some aren't as serious as all that, but still just as telling as to the personalities of the family members and the love that they share for each other. For instance, the Caroselli family of Pittsford, New York have a variation that they call "the crystal ball."

On the very eve of Christmas, they gather together and make predictions about what will happen to each other—and to whomever else or whatever else they care to include—in the coming year. After everyone writes down at least 10 predictions, they are sealed in envelopes to be open the next Christmas. Everyone reads their previous year’s answers aloud and the correct guesses are tallied. The winner gets candy, wine, and a gift certificate. The family doesn’t otherwise exchange gifts, making donations to charity instead.

The Carosellis also include in their game-play a look at themselves back over the years. At a separate holiday gathering that includes about 30 people, the family splits into two teams and tries to recall its own trivia and lore.

This past year, Caroselli came up with a list of 45 questions, such as: “When did Aunt Bettie take out her rosary to ward off a man’s advances?” The answer is at an L.A. Chippendale’s club, where Bettie and her two sisters — all of whom were in their 60s and 70s — went on a lark because a friend’s boyfriend worked there.

I like this idea, which I found on, because it can be a means of encouraging, supporting, and laughing with each other. While it's not about making actual resolutions, the predictions and historical family trivia can inform great resolutions that are supported by a family who understands you.

They suggest these tips if you want to start an annual "soothsaying" tradition with your family:

  • Predict the big events of the year to come by recalling notable things that have occurred in the year you're leaving. Include family and public news in your forecasts. Which niece will finally get hitched? What celebrity divorce will rock the tabloids? Not all of them have to be totally serious. Remember, everyone has to come up with ten predictions.
  • Recall notable milestones of the past through a game of family trivia. Write questions concerning members of your immediate and extended family, like "What book did Junior read 20 times?" or "What was Dad's first job?"
  • Dig up old family photos for a game of visual trivia, maybe with Grandma and Grandpa as children, or featuring past homes, pets and businesses. Do your own version of Awkward Family Photos.
How do you make your New Year's Resolution(s)? What is your New Year's Resolution?

Disclosure: This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway. All opinions are my own.

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