New Year’s Eve, also known as Old Year’s Day or St. Sylvester’s Day in other countries, is always celebrated on December 31. (This year the date reads numerically as 123123! I found that to be an interesting tidbit of information.) The last day of the year is celebrated many different ways – from elegant parties with plenty of dancing, good food and champagne toasts – to a cozy evening at home with family and friends playing board games and waiting for the ball to drop.
Over the years, I have celebrated the occasion in many different ways. When living in the big city of Washington D.C. I went to many elegant parties dressed in sparkly gowns with my hair swept up, dancing the night away and tearing up the town (seafood feasts, filet mignon and lots of champagne, of course).
Some people travel to New York City to see the Times Square Ball Drop – revelers have enjoyed the spectacle since 1907. I have never wanted to do this; I don’t like large crowds and standing outside in the cold! I much prefer watching it in my cozy living room, with candles burning and a roaring fire in the fireplace.
Once I had children, New Year’s Eve celebrations became much more family-oriented. We began to celebrate at home with friends, the adults playing cards, the kids laughing and playing board games in the other room, filled with excitement that they would be up at midnight to ring in the New Year – wearing silly hats while counting down to the ball drop. There was always a lot of good simple food like sloppy Joes, submarine sandwiches, chips & dip and a ton of snacks, not to mention the last of the Christmas cookies and sweets to munch on.
My favorite celebrations were when my grandsons were little. They are all grown up now and off to celebrate in their own way but while they were growing up, New Year’s Eve at grandma’s house was fun. There was lots of food and blanket forts in the living room, sparkling champagne (Welch’s non-alcoholic), sweets & treats, hats & whistles. Watching them in front of the TV during the countdown dancing to “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” brought joy to my heart. We always stayed up to 3am playing Monopoly (which I never won). The best part? All of the laughter we shared.
As the years have passed, my New Year’s Eve celebrations are not nearly as exciting. I spend time with family and friends, and enjoy a good meal at a local restaurant (usually early in the day). Sometimes, I stay awake to watch the ball drop … and sometimes, I don’t. If I am awake at midnight, I call my adult children and friends to wish them a Happy New Year.
Of course, it isn’t NYE without singing “Auld Lang Syne.” Played right after the ball drops, the nostalgic lyrics invite us to look to the future; but they also remind us to consider the our past, people we’ve lost – a sentimental farewell to the year now over and the new one ahead of us.
Cheers to a New Year!