Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Yearly Family Tradition Planning Tool (Ms Excel)


The year 2014 is coming to a close... as we are busy with all the bustling of Christmas, it is easy to slip into new year, without making a yearly plan. It is not easy, and I wouldn't say that we have succeeded, but I am trying encourage and cheer my family along :-)

Look back at the year, how is your family doing? What would you like to improve? What would you like to immortalize as memory? Are there anything you would like to include or change as part of your family tradition....?

According to the book "7 Habits of Highly Effective Family" by Stephan Covey's Habit 3: Putting First-Things-First, and we all know it, that if we put in the big stones into the "jar" first, we would have no problem fitting in the rest pebbles, sands and water.


I love this video which illustrates the message very well:


I am trying to put this into practice, although I am not always succeeding (I always want to much, and squeeze in too much into our schedule.) One of the ways we can do so is to have a common family calendar. Take out your 2015 family calendar, and start plucking in the dates for our family traditions and activities, before the new year begins.

7 Easy Steps

Here are some easy 7 steps from on our experience (or should I say experiment :-)):

1. Decide

Pray for God's wisdom, consider and decide on what traditions you want to keep for your family in these 5 major areas:

1.1. To celebrate (birthdays, festivals) (orange)
2.2. To cook (special dish) (red)
1.3. To do/make (activity) (purple)
1.4. To go (outings) (green)
1.5. To do something crazy & fun (blue)

I color coded them for easy reference, but you don't have to do it.

2. List

List them down roughly and briefly first (See * below for a complete sample list)

3. Year Plan

Transfer the list into a year plan covering the 5 main areas mentioned in point 1. 

Click here for an Excel tool that I have created that may help you. I have also included a sample Family Tradition plan. Yours does not need to look like ours. (In any case, ours is too full. I need to cut down selectívely at some point.) The most important thing is to have a few activities that you could call your own family tradition.



4. Family calendar

If you don't have a common family calendar yet, buy or create a shared family calendar. It can be on-line copy or it can be hard-copy. We prefer hard-copy and we bought ours from Føtex for 100 DKK:


5. Mark down the dates for the "big stones"

Put first-thing-first: Mark those days and dates down before each year begin. These will be the biggest stones.

6. Fill in the rest of the "pebbles" and chocolate milk

Fill in all the rest of the social engagements around it - the smaller pebbles

You can also organize a family retreat at a hotel somewhere and have this in the family retreat agenda. Have fun and a wonderful 2015 ahead :-)

7. Review your Family Calendar each week

We review our family calendar during our Weekly Family Meeting Night (WFMN) to sychronize schedule and smooth out conflicting schedule. For more about WFMN, please read my posts here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/search/label/Weekly%20Family%20Meeting%20Night%20%28WFMN%29

The "7 Habits of Highly Effective Families" is available from Amazon:


* Sample list:

Jan - Bake banana chips
Jan - Make Chinese dumplings
Jan - Sledging, ice-skating or skiing
Jan - Annual Spring Cleaning
Jan - Shop for new clothes and shoes
Jan - Sleep in washroom

Feb - Harvest pine nuts from pine cone
Feb - Make sweet Chinese rice balls & Steamboat
Feb - CNY lanterns & decoration
Feb - Read a story on CNY
Feb - Do lion dance
Feb - Wear new clothes and shoes
Feb - CNY Reunion Dinner - Steamboat
Feb - CNY dinner Singapore Club

Mar - Make popcorn
Mar - Make Chinese Popiah
Mar - Read a story on Easter
Mar - Read a story on Spring
Mar - Write a birthday letter to our Little FECS
Mar - Yearly Movie Day (3D film or cinema choice of J)
Mar - Star-gaze at Rundetaarn
Mar - Play water-gun together

Apr - Make stenalder brød
Apr - Make Chinese black bean soup
Apr - Buy seeds & plant vegetables and herbs at our balcony
Apr - Read a story on Easter
Apr – Nature walk to see white “Annemone” and yellow Easter flowers
Apr - Easter - Attend FIBC Easter Family Service with Daddy :-)
Arp - Visit a farm
Apr - Sleep in walk-in closet

May - Make homemade noodles
May - Make homemade muesli
May - Make Japanese sushi
May - Tea time with mommy
May - Annual Boardgame Day
May - Take a course together (e,g, cooking, tennis, etc.)
May - Walkathon/marathon for charity
May - Cycle to McDonalds for breakfast

May - Annual Stuart Day - horse-riding
May - Play tennis

May - Rent a caravan to sleep in (instead of a tent)

Jun - Make ice-cream
Jun - Make charsiew pork
Jun - Summer BBQ
Jun - Read a story on summer
Jun - Summer strawberries-picking & potatoes harvesting
Jun - Canoeing
Jun - Play tennis
Jun - Make snorbrød (baking bread over campfire)
Jun - Play with water-balloons

Jul - Make no-bake walnut cake
Jul - Make wantons
Jul - Tea time with mommy
Jul - Bi-annual spring cleaning
Jul - Picnic & swimming
Jul - Catch crabs at the seaside
Jul - Play tennis
Jul - Summer sleep in tent at the balcony

Aug - Make banana buns and jacket potatoes
Aug - Make egg dumplings
Apr - Read a story about Singapore
Apr - Sing Singapore National Song
Apr - Make Singapore National flag
Apr - Watch National Day parade on internet
Apr - Wear red & white outfit
Aug - Christian Summer Camp
Aug - Go on a cruise
Aug - Celebrate Singapore's National Day with the Singapore Club :-)
Aug - Go down to the lake for an ice-cream
Aug - Play tennis

Sep - Make mushroom sauce
Sep - Make Chinese mooncake
Sep - Read a story about Mid Autumn Festival
Sep - Mushroom-picking
Sep - Carry lanterns around the neigbourhood
Sep - Mid-Autumn Festival carrying lanterns

Oct - Make apple juice
Oct - Make apple chips
Oct - Chestnut crafts
Oct - Tea time with mommy
Oct - Chestnut-picking
Oct - Apples, pears & raspberries picking
Oct - Walk/Cycle in the forest

Oct - Sleep in kitchen

Nov - Roast Duck
Nov - Make pumpkin soup
Nov - Bake pumpkin pizza
Nov - Carve Pumpkin Jack-O-Lantern
Nov - Watch a ballet or orchestra
Nov - Annual Family Retreat

Dec - Christmas - Bake Gingerbread Men for grandparents and neighbours
Dec - Make Chinese black glutinous rice desert

Dec - Christmas - Advent Calendar
Dec - Christmas - Count down Christmas with books
Dec - Christmas - Set up the Nativity Scene
Dec - Christmas - Cut, buy and decorate Christmas tree
Dec - Christmas - Make acorn Christmas decoration
Dec - Christmas - Orange cinammon decoration
Dec - Christmas - Sing Christmas carols
Dec - Christmas - Skip a meal and pray for the poor instead
Dec - Christmas - Make a hamper for the teachers, children's home or old folk's home
Dec - Annual Family Planning Day
Dec - Christmas - Attend Christmas church family service
Dec - Christmas - Visit Tivoli Christmas market
Dec - Sleep on the floor to remember what they have endured Mary, Joseph and Jesus did that first Christmas

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