How to Create a New Year’s Time Capsule with Your Family

We learned how to create a New Year’s time capsule a couple years ago and really loved it. It can be a fun New Year’s idea for the kids (eve or day), and as simple or elaborate as you’d all like it to be. It can also be done alone or for someone else or together as a family project.

The most important part of this project is to connect to your intention for it – not your expectation of it.

I say that because it may be a project that you love, but your kids aren’t interested in it. If you’re expectation is to all sit around drinking sparkling cider and merrily creating a time capsule and they would rather not, you’re not going to enjoy this at all.

But if your intention is to capture memories for yourself (and maybe for them later), then you will be able to recognize that you can capture those memories in a dozen ways that feel good to everyone (even if that means they head off to play or watch movies and you work merrily toward your intention).

Some intentions to consider:

  • Connection – If the whole family is interested, keep connection – not the idea of how connection “should” look – at the forefront of your mind.
  • Fun – Pretty self-explanatory. If you’re not having fun, shift.
  • Capturing Memories – Slowing down, creating mindfulness around our experiences, around where we’ve been and where we’d like to go, spending time with the experiences that have fed us or taught us.
  • Creating Memories and Traditions – Just creating these New Year’s time capsules will create memories and traditions that you and your family have the opportunity to look back on. Sorta wraps all four of these intentions into one. 🙂

The second most important part is to decide when you’d like to open these New Year’s time capsules. Since I don’t know the actual term for it, I’m going to refer to this as the “opening date”.

You can do so the following New Year, 5 years from now or depending on your kids’ ages, you can create a shoebox full of annual time capsules to give to them as adults.

If your kids would like to participate in this, let them decide…and let them change their mind if they’d like to! Remember: Intention, not expectation!

time capsule project
Photo Source

What You’ll Need For Your New Year’s Time Capsules

Like I said, there are many ways to do this, so I’m going to offer you a few ideas to get the juices flowing. You can do one or all or some combination of these ideas to create your own family time capsule. (I hope you’ll share your ideas in the comments below!)

  1. A  Letter to Your Child/ren – You can write a letter to your children, elaborating on their past year: their favorite things, their best friends and what they’ve done. Add a recent photo (or photos) of them to the envelope, seal it, label it with the child’s name, date it and write down it’s “opening date”. This is probably the simplest (although possibly most time consuming, depending on how it’s done).
  2. A Letter From Your Child/ren – If your kids would like to be involved, I do NOT recommend asking them to write an entire letter. That’s a lot of pressure for most kids (although some will love it!). I’d recommend printing out something like a questionnaire that they can answer, and leaving plenty of space to write or color pictures. Some questions to get you started:
    • What was your favorite part of the year?
    • What was your least favorite part?
    • Other favorites: toy/game, movie, clothing, color, activity, food, etc.
    • Who was your best friend this year?
    • The question can obviously vary based on the child’s age. For older kids who are interested, you may look up writing prompts to get some really juicy answers for them to read later!
    • You might also add some basic info to these, such as gas prices, political leaders, major events, etc.
  3. A Fortune Teller Letter – This one is a lot of fun for kids. Ask questions that allow your children to play Fortune Teller with their answers, essentially trying to “predict” the upcoming year. (These are good ones to read at the end of the next year to see who was closest. Think of questions such as:
    • How much do you think gas will cost at the end of next year, five years, ten years?
    • Who do you predict will win the next election(s) and why?
    • What one amazing world event do you expect in the coming year(s)?
    • What one amazing thing do YOU expect to do in the coming year(s)?
    • What’s going to change about [you/me/someone or something else]
    • What do you think you’ll be doing in [choose a month or year]?
    • What would you LIKE to be doing in [choose a month or year]?
    • You can also add questions about one another or other people you know, predicting what they might do later in life, who they might marry, where they’ll live, etc (um, might wanna keep it positive – don’t want to open something hurtful in the future).
  4. A Photo Time Capsule – These are really fun. Take film photos of everyone (no digitals, since you’ll have copies of those and they won’t feel all time-capsuley that way, unless you’ll print them out and delete or hide the digital copies). Look at them one time, then place them in the time capsule. You can take photos of everyone doing something they love or showing off their favorite things. You can take good-natured funny photos (as long as you think everyone will find them funny). You can even create a video to burn to DVD and lock it away.

Saving Your Time Capsule

After you’ve decided WHAT you want to create, and WHEN you want to reopen your time capsule, your next step is to find a secure place in which to put everything.

Some ideas: If you’re doing letters to be open the next year, you can label them and place them on your desk. If you’re doing something bigger or longer-term, consider a small safe to hold your New Years time capsule in (without worry of water or fire damage). You might even want to use a safe deposit box, or a canister of some kind (like a metal coffee canister) to bury them.

You can even do a virtual time capsule with letters and photos, saving everything online (they even offer “virtual time capsule” services). And let the kids go wild with decorating or creating a really artful was to encapsulate the project if they want to!

Just remember to think long-term!

You don’t want to forget about it (setting a reminder on your online calendar is a good idea) and you don’t want to leave it or bury it somewhere that you might not have access to later (or where someone else might find it).

But then that goes back to intention.

If the time capsule is lost or forgotten, your intention of connection, creating and capturing memories, and having fun (rather than your expectation of how that intention would look) can still be honored and enjoyed.

This year I intend to write a letter to Zeb and will continue writing these letters to give to him as an adult. We may also do a time capsule together, but 12 year old boys tend to be rather unenthusiastic about these kind of things (or maybe that’s just my 12 year old boy 😉 ).

What ideas can you add to this list?