My Favorite Holiday

My family and I have never spent much energy celebrating the New Year’s holiday — no loud parties, horn blowing or confetti for us this time of year.  Instead, we tend to prefer a quieter approach, usually involving a nice dinner, a couple of glasses of champagne, and a normal bed time (often before midnight even rolls around).  This doesn’t mean, however, that the beginning of the new year isn’t significant for us.  In fact, it’s probably my favorite holiday.

After the busyness, excitement, and fast pace of of the weeks from Thanksgiving through Christmas, a quiet New Year’s Eve is something I look forward to, not just with a sense of relief that there are no more gifts to be wrapped or elaborate meals to be planned (although there is some of that), but mostly with a sense of anticipation. I know many people, most of whom are still high on Christmas adrenaline, get excited about making resolutions for the new year, and even more seem to enjoy making snide remarks about the practice, but I take genuine pleasure in the process of reflecting on the year that has passed, and especially like the sense of starting fresh in a new year.  It’s like spring cleaning, but on the inside.  

New Year’s Day is when I sit down with my old calendar and my new calendar side-by-side and, while writing in the birthdays and anniversaries for the coming year, I also reflect on the events and highlights of the past year — the “moments”.  While this could be construed as a melancholy or overly-sentimental ritual, for me it’s a tradition that gives me time to think about what went well this year and what didn’t, to take stock and put to rest any lingering regrets or concerns. It ends (rather symbolically) with me putting the old calendar in the trash and hanging the new calendar on the wall. I always come away from the process with a feeling of lightness, a sense of having a “clean slate” with which to start the new year (the same feeling I have when my closets are clean!)

And so, as my internal cleaning process begins on the final day of this year, I can say that 2012 has been a pretty good year, with significantly more positives than negatives.  I truly have a lot to be grateful for — there’s really not much I would change in my life.  It’s also been a year of a few challenges and losses that I am happy to put behind me.  My personal intentions for 2013 come primarily from these challenges and the insights I gained from them, with an emphasis on decreasing the things that cause stress (an overly busy schedule, worrying about unimportant things) and increasing the time I spend doing things that make me happy and give me energy (writing, painting, hiking, reading.)  Also on the list, and more in the category of “goals” are:

  • Performing 100 random acts of kindness (this is a family goal that our boys will be doing this with us, and we’ve already begun!),
  • Developing my new “Teach Your Own” web site, and
  • Writing and publishing a homeschooling curriculum.

I hope that you are also beginning 2013 with a sense of hope and excitement.  May you have a smooth and happy transition into the new year, whatever your New Year’s traditions might be.  

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. 

Henry Ward Beecher


About Lori Dunlap

Lori Dunlap worked for almost twenty years in the corporate world, first as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and then at a large research university as a program director and adjunct faculty member. In addition to homeschooling her two sons, she writes regularly about education and parenting issues. You can read her blog at, or connect with her on Facebook:

Posted on January 1, 2013, in Mindful Parenting, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Lori,

    I've just discovered your blog and I love it! You are such an inspirational mother. Love your perspective on life.

    Blessings to you and your family in the new year, Kristina


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