Family Reflection and stories. These are a tradition at the end of every year in our family circle. It began in 2000 – the year we moved to the USA when Rob brought some markers and paper plates to our Christmas Eve celebration. In the years since 2000, we’ve had additions to the family reflection – those who joined us for a few years and those whose time was their “first” time. Even the grandboy has his “Plates” from the year he was born, last year and this year!
We wrote about this idea on the Lead LIke Jesus blog and suggested some family reflection ideas too! – check it out!
Before we begin the new plates we review the old “plates”. We look through what we’ve drawn or written on our “Plates” from years ago. Our “Plates” detail our children’s growth from teens to adults, and into marriage. Of course, the grandboy is on our plates too! The highs and the lows are all there. (Because that’s life, right? Not every year is a good one. Sometimes you’re celebrating that a year is done!)
After this many years, we have quite a collection to reflect on and tell stories! There are bursts of laughter and excitement as we reflect and say, “I remember when…”
How do you reflect on the past year as a family?
Stories are such an important part of a family’s heritage. Where do they come from? You need a catalyst for family reflection and stories.
- Our catalyst to tell stories is our end of the year “Plates”. After our newest plates are completed we go around the table and explain what each word or image represents from that past year. The highs/wins are celebrated with rousing applause or a toast, and the lows are commiserated with by verbal encouragement. You choose what’s on your “Plate”, what you want to share and what you want to remember.
- Christmas letters can be a way to reflect on the past year. Re-reading them is a fun way to reflect and tell stories. Anne Markey talks about a family tradition her father began five years ago – he asked the family to write up a letter about their past year instead of giving gifts. And then they took turns reading those letters to each other, even if some of them had to connect via technology! One year that’s how she and her husband announced they were expecting their second child!
- Photos. Pulling out a family album and talking about those who are still there, those who have grown up, and those who have gone into eternity is a wonderful way to create a family reflection time.
Family reflection and stories – a time to slow down and remember.
Building in time to reflect and tell stories gives the opportunity to slow down.
Slowing down – isn’t that a precious gift at the holidays?
How do you build in time for family reflection and stories?
What a great way to reflect and think about the past year!
I love this! I would love to start a tradition like this with my husband and daughters! Especially when my 2 year old gets old enough to engage in this activity as well! It’s always good to sit back and reflect on the year and having something to look back on throughout the years would be awesome too!