Traditions for the New Year

I don’t know when I stopped buying sparkling grape juice on New Year’s Eve, but I am sure I was well past the age of 21. Traditions are hard to break. And that isn’t a bad thing.

It had never occurred to me that anyone could buy sparkling grape juice whenever they wanted to…why would that be necessary? It was “champagne for children;” and was meant to be sipped from plastic champagne flutes while adults drank the real stuff. At least, that’s what my experience had taught me.

I can’t remember adults drinking champagne outside of New Year’s Eve and weddings. Every other day of the year found them guzzling beer, wine, various mixed drinks—but champagne was special. Which meant sparkling grape juice was special. And if you only drink something once a year, on the exact same day each year, it becomes a tradition of the most serious kind.  Continue reading

Social Resolutions



Here we are again. It’s the last day of another year. A year feels like nothing now, but I guess overall I haven’t seen as many as it feels like I have seen. Something about starting a new cycle of anything, even something as simple as a date on the calendar, inspires people to gather up what they took from the last and make promises for the next.  Continue reading

Ghosts of New Year’s Eve Past


It’s New Year’s Eve again. From year to year it may find us anywhere, and with anyone. We celebrate with an “end of an era” attitude, as we sum up our year and move forward with a clean slate. We like that sort of thing.

In my earliest memories New Year’s Eve was a night of challenge, barely keeping my eyes open until the midnight hour. The evening was always spent at home, and mostly consisted of family, snacks- and at least once, a toboggan ride at midnight. It has evolved only slightly over the decades. As I got older, New Year’s Eve became an ideal opportunity for sleepovers. Movies, Truth or Dare….maybe some prank phone calls. And staying up all night was easy.

New Year’s took a turn toward romance during my teenage years. Maybe it’s that cliche kiss at midnight, but I have always found New Year’s Eve to be a far better date night than Valentine’s Day. Co-ed parties were the place to be during those high school years, and there can be no early curfew on New Year’s Eve. My first truly passionate kiss happened while ringing in 1991. Which makes sense, since 1991 also goes down in history as my most complicated year in love.

It’s funny how time slips away from us. My first New Year’s Eve as an adult was spent with high school friends in 1994. We were all on break from our new adventures in life, and our different paths were emerging for the very first time. I was in the middle of my wacky year on the road. I documented the evening in a journal I received for Christmas. A journal I will eventually burn. I spent most of the night talking about the new love of my life that I wanted them all to meet. Later they were bridesmaids at our wedding. Continue reading

Carving out Roads, One Year at a Time



I used to carve out little roads in my driveway for my toy cars. I had dramatic stories playing out in my head for the people driving those cars, and my mind wandered a lot while I sat by myself playing in the driveway. Some moments of daydreaming stick with you forever. No reason. We all have a series of memories where we remember what we were thinking in a specific moment, and we remember that moment forever. That’s what memories are, I guess.

It was around 1982 that I was playing cars in my driveway and daydreaming about the year 2000. Nothing interesting- I had probably discussed and thought about the year 2000 plenty as a kid. It’s just that this moment stuck with me. My mind briefly references my childhood driveway every time the topic comes up. I was just thinking of how far away it was, and wondering what I would be doing when I was twenty-four years old.  Continue reading