Now, I'm speaking with all this confidence, but in fact I only tried what I'm preaching here just once, today. But since it worked out really-really well and I now have 100% success rate, I feel I can speak with much authority on the subject. What is the subject, by the way? Well, it's in the title - family traditions for the New Year.
Specifically, the one unexpected thing we tried today was... But hold on, first, let me mention that it was a beautiful day outside - sunny and warm, with light breeze, very spring-like... So M and I went to the nearby park. There, after getting tired of the "catch-the-meteorite" game, I suggested we dig for treasure in the sandbox. And while digging, M found a cast-out part of some plastic toy that to him looked like treasure.
This gave me an idea and I asked him if he wanted to go on a real treasure hunt. Sure thing! So we quickly returned home where I printed out what looked like fun instructions to a random letterbox. Well, not so random, since we go to the park it is hidden in and M loves it there. So I figured, even if we the hunt turns out a total bust, at least M would get to play in this great park.
But no worries, everything went oh-so-awesome! At the park, I read out the clues and M searched for them. It was awesome, especially once we got off the trail. We felt really adventurous, 20 yards or so away from the footpath. It was M who found the letterbox. He was a bit puzzled that there was no "treasure" there, just a notepad, a felt-tip pen, a red stamp pad and a stamp. But once I explained to him that it was a big game of pretend treasure and we were supposed to use our code names instead of our real ones, he was game.
After replacing the letterbox and carefully hiding it, M wanted to continue searching for more treasure. So we walked all around the park, looking for rocks and sticks and examining quite a few fallen trees. Then we went down to the creek and M explored it for a while and collected some more rocks. He was curious as to where all these rocks come from. And let me tell you, I should had paid a lot more attention in geography classes years ago. At least I remembered that some rocks are igneous, others - metamorphic and yet others - sedimentary (although I think this came from me listening to some of his stories on CDs). Definitely, something for us both to find out more about.
Seeing how letterboxing was such a great success, I will try to make it a regular weekend outing now. But it's not a New Year resolution.