Tinsel and lights have made their way back to the attic just in time for the dawn of a new year. And this year, 2012, the calendar treats us to an extra day, as February 29th leaps onto the page. Lay aside useless resolutions and instead of making preposterous promises and plans to lose pounds, plan one very important objective for 2012 – make loved ones a priority, orchestrating special times with family and friends. Count stars and pick wildflowers; roast marshmallows and camp on the den floor; bake cookies and read books; dance in puddles and chase butterflies. Celebrate 366 days with those dear to you, starting with one of these fun holidays.
Handwriting Day – Give each family member a sheet of posterboard. Have each person write his or her name in large, neat letters. Cut strips or squares of old wrapping paper and glue along the lines to spell out each person’s name in patchwork-quilt fashion. Then, throughout the month, have family members write notes to other family members, using their best handwriting, of course, on the posterboards.
Swiss Cheese Day – Try this cheesy appetizer: Cream together two eight-ounce packages of softened cream cheese, twelve ounces of grated Swiss cheese, and eight ounces of mayonnaise. Spread the mixture in a 9 X 9 inch baking pan. Top with two packages (around four ounces each) of real bacon bits. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes and serve with crackers. While the appetizer is cooking, have a scavenger hunt and look for anything with holes, like a slice of Swiss cheese, a button, a tub drain, an old shirt. Who can find the most items with holes in them?
Martin Luther King Day– In Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” Dr. King wished that children could hold hands like sisters and brothers, regardless of skin color. Look online for Martin Luther King’s speech and read his thoughts together aloud. Then, make a rainbow of children holding hands. Use a gingerbread boy cookie cutter and trace several “children” holding hands. Paint hands, feet, and faces of children with several different colors, then add cloth scraps for clothing and yarn for hair.
Frisbee Anniversary –Celebrate the anniversary of the invention of the flying disk toy. Purchase enough Frisbees for each person to have one, or use plastic lids, like Cool Whip containers, one per person. You’ll need different colors of Frisbees or use markers to decorate the lids to designate ownership. Take the disks to a large open area. Mark a start and finish line for the relay. On “go,” each player slings their Frisbee towards the goal. Players run to their disks’ landing spot and sling them again towards the goal. The first player to get his disk across the line and run to it is the winner.
Fresh-Squeezed Juice Day – Make a juice bar for breakfast. Let the kids help you squeeze grapefruit, lemons, and oranges into separate containers. Sample on individual juices or blend two for a new taste. While sipping on juices, read books about other delicious fruits, like, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, A Mango in the Hand, or Eating the Alphabet.
After today, you still have 365 days left to spend quality time with those you love. Make every day of 2012 special, with good times and great memories. Happy New Year, and may God bless your family this year.
Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender celebrates with husband David and children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel, and Jessica.