Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Eve Traditions

Stories of Me For My Descendants - Week #43

It's hard to believe that it's time to ring out the old and cheer in the new. It's also time to write about your New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and New Year's Resolution memories

Do you remember the first time you were allowed to stay up and see in the New Year? How old were you?
I don't really remember the first time I was allowed to stay up on New Year's Eve. I was probably 9 or 10 years old.

How did you and your family typically spend New Year's Eve during your youth? Did you go to a Watch Night Service and participate in communion and prayer? Did you watch the ball drop in Times Square on television? Did your community have a fireworks show?
Much of New Year's Eve Day was spent preparing special food for that evening. Also, everyone had to have a rest in the afternoon, whether we liked it or not. No rest and you weren't allowed to stay up.
After dinner, we would head downstairs in our home, to the family room. We would watch whatever special movie was on television. Sometimes we would play board games. At eleven o'clock, we would change the station on the T.V. to ABC, and watch Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Of course we would count down as the ball was dropped...

Did you have first-footers, mummers, or bang pots and pans on your front porch? Did you wear party hats and use noisemakers?
...then at midnight we shouted "Happy New Year". Next, we would run up the stairs to the foyer where the pots, pans, lids and wooden spoons were waiting on the deacon's bench. We would each grab one, then run out the front door and onto the driveway. My mom, brother, and I would bang on the pans, hoot, holler and shout "Happy New Year!". After that, we would come back inside and get ready for bed.

If New Year's Eve involved feasting of some kind, what were the usual fare and beverages?
My mom usually came up with some sort of a special menu. I think one year we made homemade Chinese. I remember homemade scones another year. There also some sort of a punch concoction as well. Most of it was quite good and not the type of food we would normally have.

How do all of the above compare to the way you celebrate New Year's Eve now?
Now that I have a family of my own, we usually spend it at home, watching favourite movies. I like to plan special foods as well, usually some sort of special chocolate dessert to eat just after midnight. And of course, I run out the door at midnight, banging the pots and pans, shouting "Happy New Year". Hubby and the kids think I'm nuts!

What about New Year's Resolutions? Did you make any when you were younger? Do you make them now? How well do you keep them? Was there any year when you really did a fabulous job at keeping them? What were your goals and how did you keep them?
It wouldn't be New Year's if I didn't make at least one resolution. Most of them in the past have had to do with losing weight, exercising more, eating more healthy foods. Some years have been better than others.

How did you typically spend New Year's Day in your childhood and youth? Did you visit family and friends? Did your family host an Open House? Did you watch the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game or another favorite sport? Or did you go to your favorite ski resort? We slept in! We would have brunch. And then we lounged around the house all day in our pajamas.

How does it compare to the way you spend New Year's Day now?
We sleep in! We have brunch. And we lounge around the house all day in our pajamas. Hubby likes to watch the bowl games.

Are there any special customs from your heritage that are integrated into your New Year's celebrations?
None that I can think of.

If you celebrate Christmas or another seasonal holiday before the New Year, when do you take down the decorations and put them away?
Usually we take town the decorations and the tree the week-end after New Year's Day, and before the kids return to school.