Do you remember the first time you were allowed to stay up and see in the New Year? How old were you?
Sometime when I was about 7 or 8. I think anytime before that, I fell asleep.
How did you and yours 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?
My family spent it several ways. During my childhood, my parents, grandparents and I would go to some friends of my grandparents so the grown-ups could all play bridge on New Years Eve. I remember that the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella (with Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon) played for several years on Dec. 31st – so I was in the family room at the friend’s home watching that. At midnight, my parents would come to wish me a Happy New Year. Other years during my youth we’d watch Guy Lombardo ring in the New Year and watch the ball drop in Times Square on the television. Then we’d all sing “Auld Lang Syne”.
Did you have first-footers, mummers, or bang pots and pans on your front porch? Did you wear party hats and use noisemakers?
We had noise makers and party hats! I didn’t know what a “mummer” was until our church youth group went to Philadelphia the summer before my Junior Year!
If New Year’s Eve involved feasting of some kind, what were the usual fare and beverages?
I don’t remember anything special about the food on New Year’s Eve. I’m sure my parents had champagne or something alcoholic to drink.
How do all of the above compare to the way you celebrate New Year’s Eve now?
Now I don’t go anywhere on New Year’s because I don’t want to be out on the road for safety reasons. We stay home and watch Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve (as I’ve done since I was a teen) and watch the ball drop. We have some wine or champagne. Unfortunately since we are in the Central Time Zone, I’ve become very cynical when New York rings in New Year’s because it’s not the New Year yet for another hour where I’m at! Last year Dallas started doing it’s own NYE celebration so after the New York broadcast we watch Dallas ring in 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 think most of my New Year’s resolutions as a child had to do with being “nicer” and picking up my toys, keeping my room clean, etc. As a teen most of them had to do with eating right and watching my weight. As an adult, I’ve decided not to set New Year’s resolutions because I don’t keep them. I feel that if I have to wait until the first of the year to set goals, then they aren’t a priority. I should be doing right by myself and others all year.
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?
New Year’s Day was usually spent with my grandparents, Glen and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson. We’d have a roast beef normally and watch the Tournament of Roses parade and the Rose Bowl (especially when Ohio State was playing!). We also watched the Cotton Bowl parade (when there was one!).
How does it compare to the way you spend New Year’s Day now?
I’ve had the Rose Parade on almost every New Year’s Day. Sometimes my kids will watch it and sometimes they won’t! For awhile when I lived in Ohio, I would have roast pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s lunch. In Texas I have blackeyed peas and cornbread! This Jan. 1st, we spent the entire day with friends, in what I’m hoping will become an annual tradition.
Are there any special customs from your heritage that are integrated into your New Year’s celebrations?
Nothing other than maintaining the childhood traditions of watching the ball drop, watching the Rose Parade and toasting in the New Year!
If you celebrate Christmas or another seasonal holiday before the New Year, when do you take down the decorations and put them away?
That depends on how long the tree has been up and how tired of it we all are! Generally we’ve been taking the Christmas tree down soon after New Year’s – within a day or two.
Thanks, Miriam, for this prompt! I had fun answering the questions!