1. Volunteer together
The holidays may be over, but the need for help never ends. People in need often need more help after the holidays when fewer people are helping. Help someone start the year off well. Children are never too young to learn about giving. Look for volunteer opportunities at churches, hospitals, libraries, schools, senior centers, food banks, animal shelters, nursing homes, homeless shelters, etc.
2. Get rid of stuff
Work together to clean out everyone’s closets, toy boxes, the garage, basement, attic, storage shed, etc. Get rid of everything you haven’t used in more than a year. There are so many places to donate items year round, or maybe there’s a local family who lost everything in a disaster. They would appreciate your stuff. If you have a lot and everything is in good shape, you could have a yard sale. Encourage your neighbors to get involved and plan a neighborhood sale. The more people involved the more likely you’ll follow through and the more people your sale will attract. Just be sure not to hang on to the items that don’t sell – the goal is to purge!
3. Make New Year’s resolutions as a family
Sit down together and discuss what everyone is hoping will happen this year. This article has great ideas for bringing your family together. The resolutions don’t have to be huge goals. You can start with making small changes. Ideally come up with plans that everyone wants to do, and try to encourage each other to follow through. The resolutions could be doing something weekly, a new hobby, travel plans, saving for something big, regular exercise, or anything else your family is dreaming of. Even if you don’t reach all your goals, you can check in together and be glad for any positive changes made. In setting and trying to keep your family resolutions, you’ll learn more about yourself and your family.
4. Take a hike
It may be winter, but get outside! Bundle up and get some fresh cool air. We live near the beach, but honestly (confession!) I really don’t like going to the beach in the summer, and we rarely go. In the winter, though, I love to walk the boardwalk, the pier, or along the sand. It is such a huge contrast to the dry, stale air inside buildings in the winter. This is also the best and most peaceful time of year to walk in the woods. There are no bugs (no ticks!) and most of the creatures are quiet. It’s perfect for exploring.
5. Cook / bake new recipes
Find a few new recipes for dinners or desserts you can make together as a family. Get everyone involved in choosing what they like, shopping for ingredients, and putting it together. In the spirit of the new year, try to choose healthier recipes using more whole foods. My son has recently developed a love of pierogi, so we are going to make them from scratch together. My Polish mother would be proud. Even the little ones can help: gathering ingredients, opening bags, or mixing it up. Kids are more likely to eat food if they know where it came from, they know what’s in it, and they helped make it, rather than just seeing some mysterious stuff plopped on their plates.
Happy New Year! Now is your opportunity to start fresh and do all those things you’ve been meaning to do!
Let us know what your goals are for the new year!