Here's a fun tradition that my great grandmother turned me on to and that
I've continued with my own family. It helps you keep track of the years
Get a funky ordinary Christmas tree ball, one that you won't mind losing down
the road. Now mark the current year on it in fat black magic marker,
"2002," for example.
Take out a sheet of paper and write down everything that happened to
you, your spouse, your kids, your cat, dawgy, whoever is important to
you. This isn't a treatise, just a summary, but it's important that you be
really thorough and methodical about it. I flip back through my Palm pilot
calendar day by day and extrapolate what happened. Sometimes you have to
infer, "oh yeah, there aren't any entries there because I was off at Mac
Expo..." Make sure that you get any traveling, significant new
friends or lovers, job changes, financial wins or losses, graduations, abject
failures too. If you have a partner, get them to add their bits to it as
well, but keep it all on a single piece of paper. That's important for the
Now take the "Year in Review," page and fold it up really small, so
that it fits into the Christmas ball. This is both harder and easier than
it sounds. Your first attempt will probably be a frustrating botch.
Don't give up! Most Christmas balls are almost three inches in diameter,
that means that if you cut off any excess border on your paper, then fold it in
three, you'll end up with a long, skinny rectangle. Fold this in half,
lengthwise, then roll it up very tightly & slip the little scroll into the
That's it for the first year. Repeat the whole process for ten years.
Then, on the tenth year, bring out the first ball, smash it open dramatically
with a big hammer or something and have an amazingly satisfying read of your own
personal time capsule before preparing the new list. Okay, you can cheat a
bit on the waiting, but five years minimum!
Kids absolutely adore this. We've been doing it since the late 80's and
it's a highlight of the holiday season every year. Once you are done reading the list, put it into a new ball and put that ball back in the rotation. After 20 years you get to smash two balls every year!
Peace be with you all!