How does your family set its goals for the new year?

By Ty Salvant, NOLA Catholic Parenting

Many people may not realize that the Christmas season extends until King’s Day, Jan. 6. So, in our family, there was a gift in our Christmas stockings throughout the 12 days of Christmas.

In years past, I would stuff everyone’s stocking, but mine would be empty, unless I filled it.

This year, the kids filled mom and dad’s stocking with a little gift or a coupon for a service. With our family size, each child only had to provide a gift/service four times throughout the time frame.

I am very mindful of teaching our children how to treat us. It has been delightful to see how well they know us. While the ability of our gift-giving will change over time, the attitude of giving can and should be cultivated from the beginning.

For the past several years, each member of our family completed a year-in-review where we recalled accomplishments and struggles, wishes and desires and how we celebrated our birthday and favorite events from the outgoing year.

It became a quasi-scrap/memory book of our lives. Having six kids, this is the best way to ensure that each child has a collection of childhood memories.

Subsequently, we think about our visions and goals for the coming year. When considering what we’d like to accomplish, we take into account upcoming life events: births, graduations, family/volunteer commitments, sacraments, travel and so on.  While it’s not your typical New Year’s resolution, it is sort of a combination of smart goal setting, reflecting on where we were, where we’re going and how we want to get there individually and as a family.

In Amos 3:3, we read: “Do two journey together unless they have agreed?” This approach allows our family to be in agreement with how we would like to spend the year.

This year, we had a more comprehensive examination of both the previous and current year, coupled with a few tools to help us to stay on track. Goal setting is a larger part of our plan this year. 

Another addition is an extension of our secret Santa gift exchange. Each member of the family is challenged to secretly perform one random act of kindness for everyone else during the month of January. I’m not sure if this will transform to practicing a virtue a month or if we will extend our kindness to extended family and our community.

Stay tuned, I’ll provide an update in a future blog post on

Ty Salvant is a New Orleans native, cradle Catholic and stay-at-home mom. She was a research associate at LSU Health Sciences Center where she met her husband, Derrick. They’ve been married for 18 years, and has six children under the age of 18. She has been a homeschool teacher of her children for 13 years. Her family enjoys volunteering, going to the movies, playing games and spending time with friends/family.

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