Category Archives: New Year Traditions

Plan now for your memorable, pandemic-safe NYE celebration

We’re resolved, right? To spend New Year’s Eve safer at home with just our own household? Agreed? Right! 

That doesn’t mean New Year’s Eve has be a downer. 2020 has been the most challenging year ever for many of us. All the more reason to celebrate and hope for better times in 2021!

Here’s what I think would help make your New Year’s Eve memorable…

Make a plan

Even a loose plan, even if is just for you. For example (customize anyway you wish)…

11 a.m.  Take a walk

12 noon Make lunch

1 p.m. Tidy house and decorate; chill drinks; make dip, black-eyed peas, etc.

3 p.m. Take a nap

4 p.m. Journal/vision board/calendar/resolutions/set intentions/pray/reflect on the old year/etc.

5 p.m. Dress up a little!

6 p.m. Dinner and vide

8 p.m. Call/contact friends and family

9 p.m. Watch NYE programming, read, stretch (dance!), play games, hobby, color, etc.

12 midnight: Watch ball fall down & go to sleep 

Start the day with a walk outside

Where I live, temperatures are going to warm up subsstantially but rain is in the forecast. Here, rain tends to start in the afternoon, not always, but usually. So if you get out before 11 a.m. and take a walk, it will go a long way to elevating your mood (forestalling any blues later) and will help with cabin fever during the evening. Also, if getting fit is one of your resolutiions, you can think of it as a head start!

Clean your home before New Year’s Day (or even New Year’s Eve)

In many cultures, it is considered bad luck to clean your home, particulary to sweep or vacuum, on New Year’s Day, as you may sweep away your good fortune. The same is true for doing laundry. It is customary to give your home a good cleaning before the day arrives.

Put up themed decorations

They can be Christmas decorations! Just more tinsel and string lights will do. If you can’t order any 2021-themed signs, you could always make one. Perfect excuse to get creative? And how about this wreath? I’m making one of these this year. One idea: those photo prop pieces (available at Dollar Tree, Party City and sometimes, Target). Snap off the sticks and use them as decorations on your wreath!

Wear something festive

If you’re home, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be comfortable. But you could do something fun with your hair or wear a glittery sweater. Just look your (comfy) best because you may want to take a photo to remember the night…and also share with your Facebook friends. Or you may be Zoom-greeting friends and family. I have a sparkly sweater to wear that seems to come out on just NYE.

Make something good to eat

There are many customs associated with food in the New Year. In many countries, pigs are a symbol of good luck. A pig roots for its food, moving forward, so it is associated with moving forward in the new year. Conversely, poulty, beef and shellfish are not considered to be “forward eaters” so in Europe, it is avoided on New Year’s. In Italy, it may be eaten with lentils, in Pennyslvania, with sauerkraut. In Asian cultures, eating white food, like eggs, is considered unlucky because white is associated with death but noodles and green vegetables are considered lucky. Germans and Austrians gift each other marzipan pigs. Pomegranates are considered lucky in Mediterrainean countries. In Scotland, on Hogmanay, it was customary to make shortbread cookies and eat a dinner of haggis, parnsips and potatoes. In Spain and Portugal, people eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight for 12 happy months in the coming year. And of course, in the U.S., it is considered lucky to eat black eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. 

Fun for kids (and kids at heart)

If you have little ones, check with your public library about “Noon Year’s Eve” Zoom parties (free, of course) for little ones being held at noon.

You can find New Year’s Eve activities like games, crafts, resolutions and word searches on to download for free or low cost on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

New Year-themed animated specials you can rent or purchase include Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown. 

Make plans to connect with your friends and family

Speaking of friends and family, especially, if you’re on your own, like me! Think now about how you will connect with your friends and family…will you call? Send New Year’s cards? Email New Year wishes? Set up a Zoom meeting? Post on Facebook? Facetime? If you plan it and put it on your calendar, it will happen.

Start filling in your 2021 calendar

You can find great calendars at Dollar Tree for $1 (naturally) and at Target for $3. I keep my calendars each year (which has been helpful to me for several reasons). This year, I found one by Day Designer that is just what I have been searching for. It’s big enough for my large scrawling handwriting, but light enough to carry everywhere AND it has a timed weekly section so I can keep track of appointments. It’s called the Weekly Monthly Planning Calendar ($20) if you want to check it out (Target).]

I will post 2021’s dates for notable events (like Mardi Gras, the Superbowl, Academy Awards, etc.) in a future post.

Sign up for a virtual celebration

Eventbrite and Facebook are listing all kinds of online events for New Year’s Eve, including worship services, concerts, workout sessions, 5Ks, meditation sessions, Bingo, dance parties, Trivia, etc. and most of them are free!

New Year’s Eve TV and online programming

On NBC, New Year’s Eve: Escape from 2020 is on from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is a program of a look back at 2020 produced by NBC News. This will be followed on NBC by New Year’s Eve 2020 with Carson Daly. On ABC, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve starts at 8 p.m. with hosts Ryan Seacrest, Lucy Hale, Billy Porter and Ciara. 

Starting at 10:30 p.m. YouTube will host “Hello 2021: Americas” on the YouTube Originals channel:  a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration. Juanpa Zurita and Storm Reid host, with celebrity guests Matthew McConaughey, Demi Lovato, RuPaul, Emma Chamberlain and the D’Amelio Family. Musical performances from Dua Lipa, J Balvin, YG, Karol G and Kane Brown; YouTube stars Larray, Marques Brownlee, Dude Perfect, Brad Mondo, ZHC and the Dolan Twins.

Movies and TV Episodes

Here is a list of ones to watch that take place on or around New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve

While You Were Sleeping

Bridget Jones Diary

When Harry Met Sally

and

The Office, Season 7: Ultimatum

Absolutely Fabulous, Series 3: Happy New Year

Friends, Season 6: The One With the Routine

Fraiser, Season 7: RDWRER

Bubbly Toast

Of course champagne is traditional, but you could also toast with sparkling rose, if you prefer. I’m going the non-alcoholic route with sparkling apple cider. It doesn’t matter what you toast with, as long as it isn’t plain water. That is considerd unlucky!

Make some noise!

Do you have any noisemakers? Making noise in the new year is an ancient tradition that was intended to frighten away evil spirits in many cultures around the world, including Denmark, Vietnam and Japan.

Have you heard the expression, ringing in the new year? In days gone by, church bells rang. It still happens in some communities. In Washington, DC, on New Year’s Day, all the bells in the city will ring between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to welcome the new year. Here is the schedule for the National Bell Schedule. 

Stay Up Until Midnight 

I think there is something magical about being awake as the old year passes. 

 

How to keep those 2020 resolutions

Do you write New Year’s resolutions? And do you keep them?

I have been writing resolutions for many years. I carry them with me in my purse in a mini photo album I bought for a dollar.

I make resolutions about changes I want to make in my life, of course. I also make fun resolutions about things I want to do; more like a bucket list. I make some that I know I can accomplish in a short time, and others that I know will take more than a year to achieve.

Every year, about this time, I look back and see what I have accomplished. I am always pleasantly surprised to see that I have achieved a lot of what I set out to do.

There are always ones I did not achieve and that is okay with me, because sometimes circumstance or other obstacles get in the way. What matters to me is that I tried.

I read that when you make a resolution over and over, that means that is an important goal for you, not a failure.

One thing I have learned that the more specific my goal was, the more likely I was to achieve it. You have probably heard of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for goals that are

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant and

Timely (or time-bound).

So, my biggest resolution is to lose weight in 2020. The first thing I did was some research. I learned that to lose weight, I need to cut between 500 and 1000 calories through diet and exercise each day. If you I this, I can lose from 1 to 2 pounds a week. I was happy to learn this because I wanted to lose a lot of weight. But I checked with my doctor. She said my plan to eat only 1200 calories a day would not work for me because of my health conditions. She advised me not to dip below 1800 calories a day. Am I ever glad I checked with her! I had to accept that my weight loss would be more gradual. After doing research and talking with my doctor, I settled on a goal of losing 25 pounds in 2020. I felt this was achievable.

To write this as a SMART goal, I am going to say

“I resolve to lose 25 pounds in 2020. I plan to achieve this goal by eating green vegetables, reducing the amount of soda I drink and going to the YMCA to work out on the treadmill, elliptical trainer and weight machines. When I have lost 10 pounds I will start to take exercise classes, as well. I know I will be making progress on this goal by weighing myself each month. My monthly goal is to lose 2 pounds a month.

So, my goal is very specific. I know exactly how much weight I plan to lose. I know from my research that it is achievable. It is realistic — I already have a YMCA membership and I like working out on the machines. I set a schedule so my goal is time-bound. It is also timely because I happen to have more time to devote to my health this year.

Here are some more tips I learned about sticking to your plan.

  1. Get support. I can definitely use support to achieve my goal. This weekend, I met some lovely, like-minded people who are also working on goals. We are going to meet once a month to motivate each other. I can also use an app on my phone to track my progress and send me reminders.
  2. Focus on the mini steps on the way to the goal. As an example, for me, 25 pounds is a pretty big goal. Maybe too big. So, I need to focus on losing and keeping off 2 pounds in January. That feels less daunting. Then in February, I can focus on the next step. I break down my big goal into little ones. Success at each step will motivate me to keep going.
  3. Concentrate on making lifestyle changes that will support your goal. How long do you think it takes to make a habit like going to the gym work? A month? 3 months? I have heard 21 days. What do you think? I suppose it is different for everyone. I am hoping in a month, it will become a healthy routine for me.
  4. Think about obstacles. There will be times when life gets in the way. For example, it could snow for a week or I could get the flu and not be able to get to the gym. Or I might just lose confidence. That has definitely happened before. I will have to think about ways to get back on track when that happens. If it snows — I can exercise at home? But if I lose confidence, what should I do? I will talk to the YMCA about that. Maybe they will have some ideas.
  5. Make it relevant. Not everyone achieves their goal in the same way. I do want to lose weight but realistically I can’t stick to the goal of never drinking a soda. I know this because I have tried to do that and failed over and over. I just really like ginger ale. I have to come up with ways to eat healthier while still having a soda once in a while.

It bears repeating that writing your goals down and even keeping them with you can help you achieve them. This weekend, we worked on vision boards. My goal is on the vision board and it will go in the bathroom so I can see it first thing in the morning. I’m determined! And psyched!

What ideas do you have for sticking to your goals?

A Cozy New Year’s Eve In

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It happens. You had planned to go out for New Year’s Eve…but the weather turned out to be too dreadful. Or you or someone in the family isn’t feeling well. Whatever the reason, you’re home this year for New Year’s Eve and it’s going to be a quiet evening. But you still want to celebrate! How to make the best of it?

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What are you wearing New Year’s Eve?

Fortunately, if you don’t know what you’re wearing for New Year’s Eve, you have a whole weekend to scour your closet, borrow stuff or go shopping! New Year’s Eve is Tuesday and there’s bound to be some great stuff on sale. But check your closet first. Those bills aren’t going to pay themselves 🙂

Let’s break it down by occasion, depending on your plans.

Cozy Night at Home or Small Gathering with Friends or Family.

The look: casual, comfortable and festive. Yay! Minimum planning and spending involved! But since it’s the last day of the year, and you want to ring in the new year on a great note, I would dress up your casual look just a little with a little sparkle. Maybe wear a glittery sweater with skinny jeans or black leggings, like this gray/metallic one from Torrid, put some Scunci rhinestone barrettes or a velvet scrunchie in your hair, and wear a little eyeshadow or lip shimmer.

Outdoor Evening New Year’s Eve Festival

The look: casual, warm and festive. So if you’re going to one of the great outdoor New Year’s festivals, the good news is the temperature is not forecast to drop below 30 and it’s not forecast to rain! There also will be a light, southerly wind. So it will not feel bitterly cold outside, but it will definitely be coat weather. You’ll probably be most comfortable in pants, jeans or leggings, a sweater, comfortable shoes or boots, and a warm coat. Here is a cute look from JCPenney. Is your coat kind of blah for evening? What about a packable down coat with some shine to it? Wear a nice sweater or top underneath to look good for indoor events or a meal out. You could add a glittery knit hat and some shimmery lip gloss and stay warm and look festive. Add a light-up necklace from the party store, leave the backpack at home but carry a small bag or wristlet for essentials.

Play/Concert/Fancy Dinner Date (with possible dancing)

The look: sophisticated, elegant and romantic. Since you will be probably be driving or taking Lyft, you could get away with heels and a dress or another after-five look that makes you feel great. In other words, of course you will need a coat, but warmth isn’t a real factor because you will be indoors the whole time. I would steer away from solid black, red, white and green, if you are dining out or going to the theater, as well as sequins. I also would counsel against a very short look because you will be sitting down a lot and you want to look classy. I like this Anthropologie burn out velvet dress that comes in Womens and Women’s Plus sizes for a New Year’s Eve at the Kennedy Center or a nice restaurant. If you spill some sauce on this, it won’t show the way it would on a solid color dress. It has shine and movement, which is nice for dancing.

I have a makeup tip that I’ve mentioned before. Rimmel makes a terrific eyeliner in metallic gold or silver. It can be very subtle if you apply it that way. You don’t have to put it all around your eye to really enhance your eyes.

Big New Year’s Eve Party or Gala (definitely with dancing)

The look: fun, stylish, flirty. Maybe you are going out with a group of friends to a big party, like the ones at the hotels in the area or the Reagan building. It helps to know the theme of the event when planning your outfit. Factor in that you’ll likely be wearing a party hat or tiara at some point in the evening.  I would say, wear anything but solid black. It just fades into the background, it doesn’t look that amazing in photos and it makes you hard to find in a crowd. Maybe choose a metallic, like rose gold, silver, gold or a gray or blush tone. If your shoulders and arms will be bare, dust them with some metallic highlighting powder for a subtle sheen. I really like this Julia Jordan dress from Macy’s. It’s midi length, which is really in right now. It will look beautiful whether you’re sitting, standing or dancing. And it’s classy. It looks like it would be easy to wear.

The important thing is the bag. You will need to keep your bag with you, but you also will want to dance. You don’t want to ask someone to watch your purse all night and you won’t be able to relax if you just leave it on a table. Maybe you’ve come up with a good solution to this dilemma. I found a cute solution for 3 DOLLARS at Target. It’s a small, rosy pink metallic cross body. Big enough to hold your IDs, some cash and your phone. If you can’t find it, try Forever 21 and WalMart for festive but affordable, small crossbody bags and wristlets.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, and whatever you wear, have fun this New Year’s Eve!

Register for free New Year’s Resolutions Workshop

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It’s almost time! Today and tomorrow are the final days to register for my free BEST LIFE New Year’s Resolution Workshop. The workshop is open to adults and takes place on Sunday, December 29 from 1:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. at the Reston Public Library in Reston, Virginia. Free parking onsite.

The workshop includes

  • An introductory ice breaker about New Year’s resolutions to help us get to know each other.
  • A group discussion about New Year’s resolutions and how to make them stick.
  • Time and space to work on a take-home workbook designed to help you get in touch with your dreams and set goals that are personally meaningful for you.
  • A Vision Board station featuring crafts supplies, poster board, images of affirmations and quotes, special papers, stickers, markers and more.
  • A New Year’s selfie station with fun New Year’s Eve and resolutions props.
  • A group circle of positive affirmations for the New Year.
  • A closing meditation about positivity in the New Year.

Feel free to bring your own photos or inspirational cut-outs for your New Year’s collage or vision board! Please register by 5 p.m. on Friday so I can make enough materials for everyone at the workshop. See you then!

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

happy new year text

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Cool Yule Tip: free New Year’s Resolution Workshop registration open now.

Need some ideas for New Year’s Eve? Celebrate the last day of the year and the decade at one of these events happening in Northern Virginia.

Daytime Fun

  1. The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria is celebrating Olde Year’s Day with free hands-on, creative art activities for every member of the family 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Meet working artists in their studios and get inspired for 2020. Tickets for First Night Alexandria will be available for sale.
  2. Ice and Lights: Winter Village at Cameron Run is open 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. $5 for the village, plus $8 for optional skating and $4 skate rental. Alexandria.
  3. Outdoor ice skating is open at Reston Town Center.
  4. The Smithsonian Museums, National Gallery of Art and U.S. Botanic Garden (Seasons Greenings) are open today 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Light Displays

  1. Meadowlark Garden Winter Walk of Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. $8 – $13. Vienna.
  2. Bull Run Festival of Lights (drive-through) is open 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. $20 – $25/car. Bull Run Regional Park, Centreville.

Free Concerts

  1. Samovar (Russian folk music) performance 6 pm – 8 pm. U.S. Botanic Gardens, Washington, DC.
  2. New Year’s Eve Party 6 p.m. FREE Ring in the new year (and a new decade) at the Kennedy Center New Year’s Eve Party/Millenium Stage Concert in the Grand Foyer. Performances by Brianna Thomas and Zach Cutler. Guests can also enjoy champagne bars (not free, ha ha) and a photo booth. Washington, DC (remember there is a free shuttle from Foggy Bottom Metro station; pay parking is also available on site).

Spiritual Gatherings

Burning Bowl 2019 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Participants will have time to reflect and meditate on what they wish to release, and then symbolically burn those limitations in the burning bowl. Next, they will envision the new year and write a letter to themselves that will be mailed back to each participant the following November. Unity of Fairfax, 2854 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA.

Family-Friendly Celebrations

  1. 25th First Night Alexandria Festival. 6 p.m. – Midnight. King Street, Old Town Alexandria. $30 – $35. This event is alcohol free and family friendly. 100+ live music performers/bands, food, fireworks at midnight.
  2. Jammin’ Java All Ages Show: 80s Dance Party. 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Do you love the 80’s? If so, put on your best 80’s fashion, grab your dancing shoes, and ring in 2020 with your 80’s favorite hits. Prizes for best 80’s outfits and “Name that Tune” contest. Champagne toast at midnight; NYE party favors and glowsticks for everyone. Vienna. $30 -$40.
  3. 22nd Watch Night Street Festival. 7 p.m – Midnight. West Broad Street. Falls Church City. Free shuttle from East Falls Church Metro station runs every 20 minutes, beginning at 7 p.m. This community, volunteer-run event is alcohol-free and family-friendly. A variety of live music at multiple venues on the blocked off street and at other locations nearby. Karaoke, rock-climbing wall, moon bounces. Food and souvenirs are for sale. A star is lowered at midnight from a crane.

Adult Celebrations and Parties

  1. New Year’s Eve Party. 6:30 p.m. Cocktails, dinner, band and party. Knights of Columbus, Arlington. $60 per person.
  2. The Legwarmers NYE Party (80s tribute band) Doors open at 7 pm. The State Theater, Falls Church. $50.
  3. New Year’s Eve Party with Collective Accord. 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Clyde’s Restaurant, 1700 Beauregard Street (Mark Center), Alexandria. Band plays hits from 80s, 90s and today. Meal specials and Midnight champagne toast. NO COVER!
  4. Prohibition-Themed New Year’s Eve at The Bungalow Lakehouse. 9 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. 46116 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling, VA. Meal specials, DJ, favors, New York City countdown, and complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
  5. New Year’s Eve Party at Passionfish, Reston (Reston Town Center) 10:30 p.m. -1:45 a.m. NO COVER  Party in the bar/lounge with DJ, special bar menu, photo booth and a balloon drop at midnight.

Cool Yule Karaoke: Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne just means in the old days.

This is my favorite version of this song. The singer is Rufus Wainwright.

Happy New Year to you and yours.