Miriam over at AnceStories 2: Stories of Me for My Descendants has a prompt about New Year's and here's a summary of my memories of New Years' past.
Do you remember the first time you were allowed to stay up and see in the New Year? How old were you?
My first vivid memory was spending New Year's Eve with my cousin Debbie over at her house in Accord, New York. We were about a year apart in age and we had become good friends besides being first cousins. I remember that we played lots of board games (both loving monopoly) and we were listening to some "Top 100 Songs of ______" radio program. We both swore we would stay up all night to make sure we heard them all.
How did you and your 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?
We always watched the ball being dropped at Times Square since New York City was only 90 miles from our house - we connected more with that. When I was growing up there were no fireworks since fireworks were always associated with warm weather.
Did you have first-footers, mummers, or bang pots and pans on your front porch? Did you wear party hats and use noisemakers?
Wow, mentioning mummers brings back memories of watching all the parades on television on New Year's Day including the Mummers parade in Philadelphia. Since my godparents used to own a tavern, my brother and I always had access to silly hats and noisemakers.
If New Year's Eve involved feasting of some kind, what were the usual fare and beverages?
Ham was king of the dinner table on New Year's Day. And then later in that week Mom would take the ham bone and make pea soup - a tradition I still follow.
How do all of the above compare to the way you celebrate New Year's Eve now?
Gosh I think I've become so "old" when I look back. We do try to have an "open house" starting at 2pm on New Years Day since most people can attend. Lots of food on a large buffet table and people just catch up on what they've done the past year and what their hopes are for the new year.
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?
I believe one needs resolutions (which are merely goals) every day so trying to wait until the new year doesn't mean much to me - simply delaying what you should be doing now. The year I lost over 100 pounds was probably my best in terms of New Year's resolutions although the feat actually took 18 months to accomplish.
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?
Mom always loved football and would watch many of the college bowl games in the afternoon, after my brother and I watched our fill of parades. Dinner would be cooking and we'd just relax.
How does it compare to the way you spend New Year's Day now?
If we host our Open House then it is a crazy day. If not, we just relax, watch DVDs from our massive collection or I am working on genealogy!!
Are there any special customs from your heritage that are integrated into your New Year's celebrations?
Mom used to save the wishbone from the Christmas turkey to be "split" by me and my brother on New Years Day.
If you celebrate Christmas or another seasonal holiday before the New Year, when do you take down the decorations and put them away?
I grew up leaving all decorations up for "little Christmas" or the Epiphany on the 5th of January. In recent years, I opt to remove decorations on New Years Day since it feels like I am ushering out the old year and preparing for the new.