Do you feel the same way? In December, my head is somehow still in the old and then already in the new year. Maybe it's because of my imprint and the Christmas presents that my siblings and I used to prepare for relatives. Year after year, my mother bought what felt like a Euro pallet of these DIY calendars, which my siblings and I then designed for all our aunts and uncles.

For years, I painted a picture for every month – and in my memory it was always the same motifs: a snowman in January, masks as a carnival motif in February, a tractor in the field in March, an Easter bunny in April and so on.

At some point, we moved on to taking photos from last year and pasting them into the corresponding months for the coming year. So the last one became the next January, and so on and so forth. The motif can already be found in the Bible (Ecclesiastes 1:9, "What has been, that will be, and what has happened will come to pass"), in Nietzsche ("The eternal return of the same") and also in the thoughts of my Son. While my wife and I were happy on December 27 that we had the family holiday rush behind us, he has been asking since then when Christmas will finally be again. He would like to have new gifts now.

But I was at self-made photo calendars. In the meantime, it is also possible to design them online and have them professionally produced in digital print shops. Since our son was born, I order a whole batch for the relatives every year and discover how he is getting older and older, but the motifs are similar.

This year, August stood out because there were two unique events that will not be repeated: He lost his first baby tooth and started school. When I saw the photos of his first day at school, I also had to think about how many incredibly nice and empathetic reactions I got to the newsletter in which I described how he had a hard time starting school.

When I put together the calendar and remembered it, I came up with the idea of looking back on our family newsletter year as well. This is the 52nd edition of 2023, which isn't terribly surprising. After all, every week we told you about our day-to-day parenting. It was written alternately by seven different people, great colleagues with their very own perspectives and experiences.

All newsletters together (not counting this one) have a total reading time of 279 minutes. If that wasn't enough for you, you could find a whole range of recommendations for further reading in our newsletters. If I counted correctly, there were 412 links to other articles that you could have clicked on. In addition, we recommended 58 recipes – most of them from our cooking columnist Verena Lugert, but also some from the series "Cooking without coal" by Sebastian Maas or from the archive of our former columnist Peter Wagner.

To be honest, I haven't managed to count all the mails we've received from you after newsletters. There were hundreds alone when I wrote that our son is a bottle baby. The topic of breastfeeding seems to be on the minds of so many people and has so many different facets that we made a separate article out of the reactions. We also summarized their wonderful experiences of living with pets in an article.

But we also received a large number of exciting e-mails on the topics of holidays, giftedness, homework or the distribution of boys and girls among our own children, in which they told us about their families. Thank you very much for that! Feel free to go ahead and tell us about your everyday life. We look forward to every letter and will continue to try to answer as many of them as possible.

And if you have any questions, requests or suggestions for this newsletter, please feel free to send us an email to . What concerns you in the education of your children, what would you like to know more about, what topics should we devote ourselves to?

My Reading Tips

I hope you have all read the excellent cover story on the subject of mothers and sons by colleagues Susanne Beyer, Anika Freier, Heike Klovert and Katja Thimm. If not, you should definitely do it.

Even more urgently, however, I recommend the personal essay by my colleague Markus Deggerich about his relationship with his mother. I've already written it to Markus and I can repeat it here: It's one of the strongest texts I've read in a long time. Unbelievably honest and touching.

The title package also includes this clever interview that Susanne Beyer and Sebastian Hammelehle conducted with the historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, as well as this touching debate between a mother and her son, which my colleague Heike Klovert has documented.

If you like it a little more cheerful, then take a look at the 100 rules of etiquette that my colleague Katrin Wilkens gives her 15-year-old son. He had asked for this list after Katrin had collected 100 things for her older son a year ago that he should do before he turns 18. Maybe you just compare whether you come up with the same 100 recommendations.

The Last Judgement

At this point, I could give you tips for New Year's Eve – for example, which fondue set performed best in the test, which raclette grill we think is particularly suitable or how to get cheap and still good sparkling wine. But it's probably too late for that by the time you read this newsletter. After all, you've probably already done your shopping and preparations, maybe you won't even read the text until the new year.

That's why I prefer to recommend the recipe that Verena Lugert actually intended for the time between the years: Spaghetti Ubriachi . I've already cooked it and I can tell you that it's so good that I'm going to do it more often. Why not do it right at the start of the year?

My Moment

Before Christmas, I had asked about your holiday rituals in a newsletter. One reader wrote:

»Inspired by a fantastic book from my childhood (Mauri Kunnas: »Where Santa Claus lives«), I started serving rice pudding on December 2rd when my son was 3 or 23. In the whole pot (until the sister came 12 years later, always in his bowl) an almond is sunk. Whoever finds them will be particularly lucky next year. The kids (and I) love it. And in the meantime, chance really does decide.«

What the reader could not have known: Verena Lugert described exactly this rice pudding and this ritual in her Christmas recipe, which was published a little later.

Another reader told us how her family avoids conflict.

"In the past, we often had arguments about what was done on holidays and between the years. If one wanted to go for a winter walk, the other wanted to play with Lego (or on the mobile phone) in his pyjamas. Often we discussed for hours, in the end everyone was angry, it was getting dark again, and everyone moved to another room with their presents.

For four years now, we have had the wishing glass. At the beginning of the holidays, each family member is allowed to write down three wishes about what they would like to do with the family. It must be suitable for everyone, have a manageable duration and must not cost much. Then every day one or two pieces of paper are drawn in turn, and what is written on them is done by everyone without objection. Be it watching Harry Potter, dressing up, going to the swimming pool or cooking together – or going for a walk (perhaps at night and with a flashlight as an extra incentive). Grandma has been living with us since this year and is also allowed to drop in notes – we're already excited!«

I think the wish jar is an excellent idea. And not only for Christmas, but also for weekends, holidays or simply afternoon or evening activities together. Thanks for the suggestion! I think we're going to introduce something like that here as well. And maybe at some point I'll write about how it works.

I wish you and your families a good start into what we hope will be a successful and healthy new year!

Yours sincerely
, Malte Müller-Michaelis