The Beloved New Year’s Eve Tradition My Family Has Done 8 Years in a Row

published Dec 26, 2023
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Mother and daughter enjoying Christmas together
Credit: SrdjanPav / Getty Images

As a mother in the middle years who also has a couple of teens, family traditions are super important to me. I want our traditions to become not only part of their childhood memories, but also anchors that keep them rooted in their family culture. Some of these traditions have occurred every single year I’ve been a mother, like the pumpkin patch portraits (which are more for me than for them!), while others have become part of the past, like the blueberry picking we did every year while living in Florida. 

Some traditions have been purposeful, like making gingerbread houses and decorating cookies together every winter. But others have sort of just happened, like bringing hot chocolate with us and wearing jammies to drive around and look at holiday decorations or making a big charcuterie “dinner” on New Year’s Eve. Another of these accidental traditions has ended up being our most anticipated New Year’s Eve activity: watching our family’s 1 Second Everyday video. 

1 Second Everyday (1SE) is an app that, at its core, puts together a year’s worth of videos from daily one-second snippets. All you do is add your video snippets to the app through its calendar interface and the app does almost all the rest. The basic app has all the functionality you need to create these videos, and an upgraded pro version allows for extras like license-free music, removing the logo, and including longer videos. 

This year’s 1SE video will be my eighth, which means I started before my youngest two children were even born! My kids love the videos so much that they start talking about it days before New Year’s Eve. We gather together in the family room, usually around a roaring fire with plates of charcuterie and chocolates and glasses of fizzy drinks, feet tucked into cozy slippers, tangled together with each other and the blankets and the dogs who think the couch is theirs. Then, we watch the year unfold on the big TV screen in captured moments — mostly mundane, always meaningful. Once we watch the current year, at least twice in a row, sometimes thrice, we go back and rewatch previous years. 

Credit: Monkey Business Images/

One thing that makes 1SE unique — and makes the videos a treasure — is that the app encourages you to take videos of not only special occasions, but everyday moments. So, yes, I have videos of soccer tournament goal kicks and dance recitals, but I also have videos of my teen son’s beaming face as he pushes an overflowing shopping cart at Costco and of my husband helping our youngest daughter get her shoes on before school. Together we squeal over seeing our dogs as wiggly puppies and awwww when we watch tear-jerking scenes of the bigger kids meeting newborn siblings. 

I try to add videos to the app frequently — if not every day, then every week or at least month. That way I don’t have to spend a long time catching up at the end of the year. But also, staying on top of adding videos to the app makes me particularly aware of videos I may want to take, like of the kids walking into school, or the bird nest the family has been watching. But if you fall behind in uploading videos, the app makes it easy to catch up with an auto-fill option so you don’t have to add the videos one by one. Either way, the end result and enjoying it together is so completely worth it. 

As far as traditions go, I can’t think of a better way to showcase our shared experiences as a family, to remind us all of the precious time we have together and that it becomes our collective history, to make us all howl with laughter at things we might’ve forgotten about but they’re now memorialized.