Seolnal 2013

Tomorrow, Feb. 10, is Seolnal–the lunar new year. It’s one of the biggest celebrations in the Korean culture and is a day to honor family, observe traditions, eat rice cake soup, and receive New Year’s greetings.

I’ve blogged about the holiday before, but this year we’ve added a new twist. I’ve been trying to make all of our holidays less materialistic. For example, we parred down our Christmas gift giving this year because I felt our son was too focused on things. The same thought occurred to me with Seolnal.

Each Seolnal, children bow to their elders (saebae) and receive money (saebae ton). For the last several years, we’ve observed this tradition and our son has performed the bow and received money. But now with two (yes, I said two) Korean exchange students in our house, saebae ton was getting a little pricey. Couple that with my thought that our son was becoming too focused on money and things, and I decided we needed a new idea for saebae ton.

So I decided that some fun dollars were the answer and I found the perfect printable for it at ( Instead of money, each child will receive a few fun dollars. Each of these dollars will entitled them to some special privilege. Here are some of the things I plan to use:

You choose our dinner
It’s game night–you choose the game
Choose the movie for family movie night
Chick-flick night for the girls
A day of speaking Korean without nagging (for our student who isn’t normally allowed to speak English)
Go to bed 30 minutes late
Extra computer time
A day with no jobs

Hopefully it’s a fun way to still observe a Korean tradition but without a family twist on it. I’m not saying we’ll always do saebae on this way but I think for this year it’s a good compromise.

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