Celebrating leap year

Feb. 29—what an exciting, elusive day. Leap year babies get to have their party on their REAL birthday and the blank page in the one year diaries finally gets filled in. Each of us will likely only remember a few of these from our childhood so it is a great opportunity to set the time aside as a special family event.

Since 1988, our family has marked the uniqueness of each Leap Year Day by creating a family time capsule. We use a written record of the present and hide it in a small unused cabinet behind the refrigerator where no one dares peep till the next Leap Year Day.

To make the day special, start the celebration with a fun meal including a sampling of each person’s favorite food. After dinner, each family member fills out a brief questionnaire (parents help the pre-writers) which includes questions such as…

n What is your favorite activity? 

n What are you most grateful for?

n What do you think you’ll be doing in 20 years?

n If you had unlimited money to give away, where would it go?

n If you had unlimited money to buy something, what would you buy? 

n Favorite food?

n Favorite song?

n Favorite TV show?

n Favorite movie?

n Favorite book?

Other items to add to the time capsule might be the front page of the newspaper, bestseller list, top 10 music charts, church bulletin or anything else relevant to the family. The capsule, which can be a sturdy envelope, small box or chest, is then hidden away and not disturbed until the next leap year day when the opening of the past ones starts the current celebration.

Our family history is being written everyday and for each of us it gets inscribed in different ways on our hearts and minds. This family project is a great way to set aside an occasion to say this is who we are today.

As with many traditions, we adults do these things for ourselves as well. I, for one, can’t wait to look at the past as we write for the future this Feb. 29.

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