A Coin Given On New Year’s Eve :: My Family Tradition


With New Year’s Eve approaching, I am reminded of a tradition from my childhood.

As far back as I can remember, each New Year’s Eve, my mom gave me a coin to make a wish on and put under my pillow to sleep on that night. The wish could be anything, but mine were almost always about something I hoped to have happen in the new year.

I knew if I had children, I wanted to continue this coin giving tradition as a way to connect my children to their grandmother and great grandmother.

(My mother received coins from her mother, as did my grandmother from hers. And while the exact reason for the start of my mother’s coin giving tradition has never been clear, we believe the idea is giving the coins will bring prosperity for the new year.)

I still have all of the coins I received and I’ve been passing them along annually to my children each New Year’s Eve.

One element of the tradition I did not consider at the start was- where do the coins go? I had a plastic bank specifically for my new year’s coins. Actually, I still have the bank and it’s holding all of my coins until they transition to my children. So, that bank is not available. Plus, I really needed two separate banks- one for each my of children.

It just so happened that Home Depot did a bank craft this past January. (If you’re not already in the know, Home Depot offers a free craft kit the first Saturday of each month!)

After my kids assembled their banks, I spent the next few days personalizing them.

First, I painted them. Second, I wrote on the inside the purpose of the bank as well as some of the history of the coin passing tradition. Lastly, I asked my husband to add his touch to the banks by wood burning some images into them. Together, we decided on a shooting star scene and dandelion wish blowing.

It is my ultimate hope that my children will continue this coin giving tradition with their own children, should they have them. Perhaps these banks will even become something of a family heirloom – serving as a special, safe place to store their coins.

What sort of items or traditions have you created for your children? Do you have traditions that you hope your children will carry-on?

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Jaclynn knows a good thing when she sees it, that’s why she and her husband, Dave, decided to raise their son and daughter in Brookfield, the same Milwaukee suburb where they grew up. After earning her English degree from UW-Madison, Jaclynn attended Marquette University Law School and worked for several years at a small Milwaukee firm practicing estate planning and elder law. When her son was born a few year ago, she followed her heart and became a SAHM. She is now the mother of two, having welcomed a daughter last June. When she's not managing her family circus, you can find Jaclynn instructing or taking classes at the Barre Code. Jaclynn would be lost without dessert, family friendly breweries, books, comfy pants, and the moms who have helped her navigate the labyrinth that is ‘momming’.


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