01/04/2016 01:00 EST | Updated 01/04/2017 05:12 EST

Our New Year Tradition: A Year In A Jar

Photo by Hannah Alper

On New Year's Day last year, my family and I started a new family tradition that we have been working on all year. My mom, dad and I each decorated our own jar that we would spend the year filling with memories. On New Year's Eve, while we watched the celebration in Times Square on TV, we sat with our jars and took turns reading them out loud. It was so much fun to relive the special moments that made our year as individuals and as a family. This morning, we emptied each of our jars into a bag that will pack away and keep, like our family version of a time capsule. Today, with empty jars, we're ready for a new year filled with new memories and new notes.

I highly recommend doing this with your family, here's how.

  • Decorate your jar so that everybody's jar is special.
  • Display them together in a common place in your house (we put ours in the living room).
  • Keep a notepad and pens nearby (we used different coloured papers).
  • There are no rules for the notes; they can be memories, thank you's or congratulations (I put a funny joke in my dad's jar).
  • ALWAYS include the date on your note. This makes it more fun when you get to read them at the end of the year.
  • When friends and family are visiting, offer them the chance to write their own note and put it in someone's jar (make sure that they sign their name to their note).
  • No peeking! The jars must remain sealed and confidential until New Year's Eve!

Photos by Hannah Alper

Our New Year's resolution as a family is to do this again, making it a family tradition. All traditions start somewhere. And this is ours.

Do you have a special family New Year's tradition? I'd love to hear about it!

Happy New Year from me and my family to you and yours.