Tag Archives: New Year’s Eve

🍾👑🎉 Happy New Year’s Eve! 🥂🎩🕛

Merry 6th Day of Christmas, Happy New Year’s Eve and Happy Champagne Day!

What are you doing New Year’s….New Year’s Eve?  I love that song. This is my favorite rendition of it, by Rufus Wainwright…


I hope you have festive plans!  Maybe staying safer at home, again, this year? If you want to go out, check the Cool Yule Blog calendar of events for ideas.

Friends in Virginia, keep in mind that on January 1st, all Virginia State Parks and many county parks are hosting a first day hike. Put your best foot forward and take a hike on New Year’s Day!

Here is some background information about New Year’s Eve customs we know and love.

Why we celebrate the New Year on January 1?

For centuries, various cultures around the world have celebrated the New Year at various times of the year, including spring, summer, fall and winter. The Western tradition of celebrating the New Year on January 1 goes back to the time of Julius Caesar of Rome, who proclaimed that January 1st was the first day of the new year. January was named in honor of Janus, the Roman god who guarded the gate between earth and heaven, and a great festival was held in his name. Janus had two faces; one to look at the old year departing and the other to look at the new year arriving. (Source: Happy New Year Around the World by Lois S. Johnson, 1966).

Why is a newborn baby assoiated with the New Year?

The Greek god, Dionysus, was represented as a baby in the ancient Greek new year festival in the spring. It probably became associated with the themes of rebirth and newness.

Why Do We Sing Auld Lang Syne at Midnight on New Year’s Eve?

The band leader Guy Lombardo was from Canada and he got his start there, playing at dances. Ontario had a large Scottish population and it was traditional to end dances by playing “Auld Lang Syne” a song written by the immensely popular Scottish poet Robert Burns who lived around the time of George Washington, who based it off an old Scottish song of unknown origin.

When Lombardo and his band relocated to the United States, they began playing New Year’s Eve concerts that were broadcast on the radio, and in 1929, the band ended the concert with the song in their repertoire and his performances became a tradition on radio and later television into the mid-1970s. Now, it just wouldn’t seem like New Year’s Eve without Auld Lang Syne at midnight.

Why do we use noisemakers and make noise on New Year’s Eve?

The custom of making noise and setting off fireworks goes back to an ancient pagan tradition of making noise to scare away evil spirits and to welcome good spirits and good luck. It is the same reason why churches (at least they used to) ring bells on New Year’s Eve — to drive the Devil away.

Why do we wear funny hats on New Year’s Eve?

Many ancient customss involve wearing some sort of costume during New Year festivals. The idea behind this custom is that you will not be recognized by evil spirits or fairies who might otherwise do you harm.

Why do we throw confetti and streamers on New Year’s Eve? 

The custom of doing this at New Year’s Eve probably began most likely in France in 1885. Flowers, confetti (tiny candies), rice and bits of paper were showered on brides in Italy, England and France to ensure the bride’s fertility and the couple’s prosperity for centuries. Confetti – both the candies and the paper kind — were tossed from parades to spectators during carnival season. It is likely that the custom transferred to New Year’s Eve celebrations as wishes for prosperity at parties. The custom of throwing serpentine streamers likely originated with the tradition of throwing streamers from aboard ship to well-wishers on the dock as one left on a voyage. It was a symbolic gesture of affection and connection.

Why do we dress up on New Year’s Eve?

The celebration of the start of the year in America was typically a quiet one. People went to church; Dutch immigrants in New York hosted open houses for family, friends and neighbors to visit. After the Industrial Revolution and inventions of electrc lights, street cars and subways (late 1800s to early 1900s), however, more people gravitated to cities like New York and Washington, DC to work and make friends. Going out at night became possible because of the increased lighting and transportation options. It became the fashion to go to New Year’s Eve parties at social clubs or in private homes for dinner and dancing, or to celebrate at home. People began dressing up in their finest and most sparkly attire for these ritzy fetes to impress the other hosts and guests — and the custom likely came to be associated with starting the new year with hopes for success on the right foot. The sparkles reflected the light in these lower-light settings, symbolizing a bright start to the new year.

What is the history of New Year’s resolutions?

The custom of resolutions is more than 4,000 years old! Ancient Babylonians and Romans presented offerings and prayers to their gods at the start of the new year. They promised to behave with virtue and in ways pleasing to the gods in order to win favor from them in the new year.

Why do we kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve?

The custom of kissing at midnight on New Year’s Eve is a tradiion in America that likely arrived with Scottish and German settlers, who in turn were influenced by Ancient Roman, Celtic and Viking customs in which kissing was thought to protect people from ill fortune and evil spirits. German immigrants believed whomever you were with at midnight at New Year’s Eve affected your luck in the new year.

Why do we drink champagne on New Year’s Eve?

Champagne was once so expensive that only royalty could afford to drink it. In the 1800s, it became affordable enough for people to afford on very special occasions and it continued to be associated with riches and luxury. It probably was drunk on New Year’s Eve since so many people wish for prosperity then.

Why do we drop a ball on New Year’s Eve at midnight?

Sailors used set their timepieces by dropping floating balls into the sea from their boats at certain intervals and then finding them with a spyglass. The first time ball dropped on New Year’s Eve in the U.S. happened in 1845 in Washington, DC and in the early 1900s, the tradition began in Times Square, New York. But Times Square is not named after the ball. It is named because the New York Times moved their offices there in 1904.

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!

Bargain Fashion Finds for Holiday 2010

Only $24!! Dots Red Sequin Dress (S, M, L, XL) stores only

What to wear…what to wear?

Like you, I want to look festive (and feel comfortable) during the holidays, and probably like you 🙂 I’m on a budget. A TIGHT budget! Many times, it makes sense to invest in quality pieces.  But for the holidays,  you may only wear these items once or a few times.  So, I think it’s worthwhile saving some money.

I fell in love with lots of the festive “Glisten Up” items at Talbots and other chic items I saw at stores this year, but all were too expensive for me.  I did find some great alternatives, however…

  • For that chic holiday party after 5: Instead of Talbots black velveteen ankle pants ($79.50), buy Walmart’s flat front, fitted black velveteen leggings: $12. These fit like ankle pants, not skin tight.  You save: $67.50.  Pretty good, considering how often you will actually wear them!
  • I also saw a fabulous sequin scarf in the accessories section at Wal-Mart in silver, black, or rose, and it was about $10.  Sorry, Talbots, it looks and wears almost like your $69 sequin scarf Save $59 smackers right there… I almost bought it.  Wish I had!
  • Need to dress up your suit for the office Christmas party?  Instead of Talbots sequined tank top ($69.50), choose Target’s Xhiliaration sequin tank top in colors like blush, black, or gold, in stores, $12-$17.  You save:  up to $57.50. I think I’d top this with one of the many soft cardigans they had in matching colors for under $20.  With a longer fine-gauge cardigan, that top would also be a great look with jeans and heels.
  • There was a fantastic lace pencil skirt offered by Talbots for $159.  Loved it.  Black lace over copper silk.  So gorgeous.  But it’s a dream.  Now the lace Covington skirt at Sears? That’s a reality.  Black lace over white satin.  On sale for $20.  You save $139.
  • White coat (Wal-Mart $20), mittens ($3) and hat ($3)

    You need a warm coat for going to see the National Christmas Tree downtown. Wouldn’t winter white be so chic instead of predictable black?  Yes, it would!  Instead of Lands End lightweight down jacket in white ($59), choose Walmart’s white, quilted junior parka, $18 (in plus sizes for $20).  You save: $41. This is a great looking coat that is actually nice and warm for most DC days.  I added a cute seasonal hat for just $3!

  • For me, New Year’s Eve is all about shine, and it’s the one night you can pull off a sequined dress.  It’s hard to beat the glam of Talbot’s tank-style sequin dress, but let’s face it — that’s a one-time only dress.  You will look fabulous for one night for $299, and then you can’t really wear it again.  I loved it, I really did, but opted for sleeves, and an A-Line cut and got a red version that kind of looks like sequins online from Dress Barn.  Hey, it fits!  It’s down to $25, now, online, if you happen to wear a size 14W.   I’m wearing mine to the One Party with a black jet necklace.  Dress Barn’s also got a great sleeveless black sequin dress with a really fabulous cut (I tried it on) for $49, online and in stores.  And, if you’ve got the figure for it, all eyes will be on you in this red sleeveless sequin, v-necked tank dress from Dots for just $24! (sizes S, M, and L).  There’s a Dot’s store in Alexandria, VA.  Buy one of these glittery numbers and save between $225 and $274!  
  • Accessories can add up, unless you know where to look.  The dollar section at Target is a great place to buy little seasonal accessories.  I bought a black jet necklace there for $1 last year that I’m wearing to a party.  This year, I bought a pair of sequined headbands — you get 2 for a dollar — one in dark red and one in black.  Or go for green tinsels and red “lights” for a dollar.  Again, since these aren’t everyday pieces, quality is not really an issue, but price is!

The fashions at Talbots and other stores are incredibly lovely, but if you haven’t got the moolah, use those looks for inspiration and find bargains elsewhere (like Target, Sears, and Wal-Mart).  I don’t think hardly anyone will notice the difference…it seems like most holiday party settings are pretty dark, anyway.

What are you wearing for the holidays?  What trends have you seen?  Have you found any bargains?  Feel free to share them in the comments.