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A Simple, Reflective New Year’s Eve Tradition

By Pam Lamp December 29, 2022 Lifestyle

Long ago, I gave up glitzy parties, morning hangovers, and late night celebrations. I no longer need to mark the occasion with noisemakers and hats. On New Year’s Eve, give me a good movie to watch and a quiet dinner my husband and I prepare together. 

And our letters.

The tradition began when the kids left home. We wanted our own ritual – a way for the two of us to close out the old year and ring in the new.

A Quiet New Year’s Eve Tradition

Nowadays, on New Year’s Eve, we fill our champagne flutes, help ourselves to a stack of decorated cookies, and settle into our respective ends of the couch. Beside the twinkling tree, we rip into the envelopes we sealed and stashed away exactly one year ago. 

And then we read the letters we wrote to ourselves the previous New Year’s Eve.

Each year, I’m anxious to rediscover what I penned to myself 365 days ago. Because I truly can never remember what I wrote. Our New Year’s routine is to draft our letters – including what we hope to do, see, and learn in the next year – and then plop them in a drawer until the following December 31. 

As I read my rambling messages to myself, I’m reminded of what worried, frightened, and excited me the previous year – concerns about myself, my family, the world, my friends.

Some of these issues worked themselves out – and others did not. I didn’t accomplish all I planned. And wasn’t always the person I wanted to be. 

But that’s ok. 

Not a To-Do List

Armed with my yellow legal pad, I’ll begin my annual letter to myself by reflecting on those things I’m especially thankful for this year. Adult children and grandchild, travel and time with dear friends. I am here and healthy and able to celebrate another holiday season – and write another letter.

I’ll relate what I loved about this year – and what I didn’t. Favorite, and not so favorite, books, people, places, food. I’ll muse about how I can be a better wife, mom, daughter, friend. Can I worry less, thank more, offer a kinder and gentler approach? 

What can I do to improve myself, my family, my world? What do I want to see and do with those I love before my circumstances change?

As we watch the revelers cheer and the ball drop in Times Square, we’ll kiss, say goodbye to another year, and file our letters in their designated drawer. Until the next New Year’s Eve.

An Interesting Legacy

Perhaps our kids and grandchildren will come across these letters someday. 

As they read them, maybe they’ll smile and remember us and understand a little more about our lives through the words we wrote over the years.

Wishing you a new year filled with fun adventures, bountiful blessings, and good health.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How do you spend New Year’s Eve? How have your New Year’s plans changed over the years? What do you wish for in the new year? Let’s chat!

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Thank you for inspiring me to create a new way of communicating.

Pam Lamp

Thank you for reading – I hope it helped!


I lost my husband this year so I’m going to start a gratitude diary. I’m just going to try and get through it best I can,

Pam Lamp

I’m so sorry….. I think a gratitude diary sounds like a great idea. Best of luck to you, and I hope you have a blessed 2023.


Ysy for the legal pad! I do a variation of your letter and also include my word for the year – a word that is someting in the reflection, change or connection families a word you glean by reviewing your previous year. I do put in goals, but not the typical losecl weight, save money. Etc.. more in line with my word.
I buy lined notebooks each year and use them to write letter/musings, word and reflexmctions, goals, books read, adventures taken….

Pam Lamp

I have a whole stack of lined notebooks – can never have enough. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

I start my Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023 journal on New Year’s Eve. It sound similar to your letters, but with this guided journal you read what you wrote every quarter, so that you can keep on track with any goals or intentions for the New Year. I think it’s important to keep reminding yourself about the changes you want to make in your life, as it is easy to get derailed with the complications and busy-ness of life. Thanks for this sweet post! Happy New Year!

Last edited 1 year ago by Gaili Schoen

I love the idea of a Goodbye/Hello journal! Happy New Year to you!


I love this idea! What a wonderful tradition. It’s a beautiful way to end the year.

Pam Lamp

Thank you – Happy New Year!


The Author

It’s never too late to learn something new. At Who I Met Today – a blog and podcast – Pam Lamp interviews people from all walks of life. Through conversations about health, hobbies, books, food, and travel, she invites you to join her, explore new territory, and expand your horizons.

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