As the new year is almost upon us, it’s important to focus on the highlights of the previous year and hope that a new year will bring. While I take time to reflect on the past year, I can’t help but remember all of the years my parents worked to make New Year’s a special holiday for us.

On New Year’s Eve, we’d all gather around the table for a delicious surf & turf meal – shrimp, London broil and baked potatoes. After dinner, we’d linger around the table as mom brought out her date calendar from the previous year. My sister would bring out a notebook and we’d jot down a brief history of the previous year. Then we’d each share what the highlight of our year was and some goals for the new year. Next, we’d turn back the page and look over our accomplishments and highlights from the previous year. The rest of the evening was filled with laughter as we played some of our favorite games, like charades or maybe a new game we got for Christmas. The next day, we’d all pile in the mini van after a lazy morning for another fun-filled afternoon of bowling.

Now looking over the holidays as an adult, I realize that these memories were carefully cultivated by loving parents who chose to put their family first. (New Year’s traditions are just the tip of the iceberg with my family. On Christmas Eve, my dad would bring us all into our stable, sit us down on a bed of clean saw dust, turn out all the lights except his hand-held lantern and read us the Christmas story in Luke 2 as we listened to the horses chomping on their hay and grain.)

The holidays really are shaped by our families. It’s not until you are an adult watching the next generation of children soak in the holidays that you realize just how much we shape children’s holiday experiences. I got to hold my 4-month old niece, Paisley, by our Christmas tree as she was enthralled by grabbing on to the branches of our tree. What was she thinking? Everything is brand new to her. Except, surprisingly, Skype and FaceTime with the long-distance relatives. “She’s going to grow up and ask us why we don’t talk to everyone on a TV screen,” my sister-in-law commented.

Fran Wolff cultivated some memories for his two kids this Christmas, and experienced the joy that that brings: “Wow, is it fun to experience Christmas through the eyes of a child! Shane and Grace absolutely LOVED everything…decorating the tree, presents (of course), driving around at night looking at Christmas lights, visiting with family, etc etc etc.  It really reminded me about the simple joys of Christmas!”

So as the new year begins, I think we can all resolve to spend more time cultivating memories and traditions with our families. And what better way to do that then to support your local family owned and family-friendly business this winter. Wolff’s is open all winter long, so why not stop in and treat the kids to a cup of hot cocoa or mulled apple cider by the fire?

Our cozy cafe area features delicious hot mulled cider, freshly roasted Burlap & Bean coffee, hot chocolate, many varieties of tea and tasty freshly baked pastries. We look forward to seeing you and your families making memories at Wolff’s this year, whether it’s a fireside cup of hot cocoa, picking out pumpkins or finding the perfect Christmas tree.


This article was originally published on our blog on January 5, 2012.