Top Five: Best of My Fall Reading 2020
Hang On: Hope As Sacrifice

Planning Ahead: Goodbye 2020

Two weeks from today . . . is a day we've all been longing for: The Last Day of 2020!

Now, I fully understand that turning the calendar from 2020 to 2021 will NOT make everything better. When we wake up on January 1 . . . the pandemic will still be with us, racism will still be rampant, climate change will still be a threat, the country will still be divided, partisanship will still rule Congress, and (for 19 more days) Trump will still be president.

Even so . . . there will be a huge feel-good factor in turning that calendar over to a new year.
(Because 2020 WAS a really shitty year.)

And even though we really want to celebrate the end of this crap-year, our New Year's Eve celebrations (at least for many of us) will look quite different from "usual," more recent years.


Tom and I, for example, are sad to be missing the special New Year's Eve dinner we've shared together for many years at one of our favorite local restaurants. (And we're hoping this restaurant survives the pandemic to offer it next New Year's Eve.) We'll welcome the New Year at home this year. And I'll prepare our traditional New Year's Day dinner of black eyed peas and cornbread the next day.

But we're looking for . . . something more! It seems more important than ever to do something special this year. But what??? What can we do . . . to say goodbye to this dumpster-fire-of-a-year and welcome 2021?

I did a bit of digging and found some ideas.
And I thought you might like them, too.

Some are silly. Some are simple. Some require a bit of planning ahead. Some are food-related. Some are clothing-related. But all of them have the same goal: Saying goodbye and good riddance  to 2020 . . . and welcoming 2021 with open arms -- while also inviting good luck and prosperity into our lives.

Here's a list of New Year's traditions from around the world. While I'd LOVE to try swinging balls of fire (this one from Scotland), I'll probably satisfy myself with eating 12 grapes (Spain), smashing pomegranates onto my patio (Greece), and jumping off a chair at midnight (Denmark).

Here's another list of even more New Year's traditions from around the world. While there is some overlap (the grapes, for example, and the chair-jumping), this list also includes other simple try-this-at-home ideas like smashing plates (Denmark again), wearing white (Brazil), running around the block with empty suitcases (Colombia), or throwing water out the window (Puerto Rico). This list also explains that the color of the underwear your wear can make a big difference in terms of what you're wishing for in the new year: yellow for luck, red for love, white for peace (Latin America).

If you're more interested in food/cooking traditions, this list is more food-themed (although . . . again with the grapes!). We've got soba noodles (Japan), foie gras, oysters, lobster, and escargot (France), lentils (Italy), round fruit (the Philippines), and bread (Ireland and Greece) -- just for a start. This list also includes links to recipes if you'd like to incorporate any of these ideas into your own celebration. (I'm particularly interested in the recipe for a Pomegranate Margartita. Y'know . . . for before I get started hurling the pomegranates at the ground.)

If you're interested in creating some type of "ritual" to exorcise (or even embrace) 2020 as you say goodbye, Gretchen Rubin devoted a Happier podcast episode to exactly this -- and she shared many interesting listener-suggested ideas. You can listen to the podcast episode here, or just read a summary of the ideas here.


So. What do you think? Do you have any special rituals or traditions you're planning to try for your New Year's celebration this year?


Just a note: The "wish paper" one of the listeners on Gretchen Rubin's podcast talks about? We've used it before for our New Year's celebration -- and it is SO FUN. It really works, and is a great way to send up your wishes for the new year. I checked this morning and there is VERY LIMITED stock on Amazon -- but there was still some available if you're interested. A quick Google search also showed other sources. Sadly, though, there are no Peppermint Pigs to be found anywhere. (I tried. . .



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I'm guessing we will do our usual (we stopped going out anywhere for New Year's decades ago). I always make a crab quiche for dinner and we have that with champagne (or prosecco). Sometimes I don't even make it to midnight! I had not heard of the "wish papers" - they look like fun. I know some folks who write out wishes/hopes/whatever and then burn them in an outdoor fire.


We've had a dinner party every NYE for the last several years with just 3 other couples, it's a tradition I love and will certainly miss this year. I'm not sure exactly what Dale and I will eat on our own but I'm thinking it needs to be very special. If ever there was a year that calls for Hoppin John on New Year's Day, this is the one!


I've never been a big New Year's person--even with celebrations, it's always felt so anti-climactic. Which is kind of funny, because I really enjoy hearing about what other people do! (Your 2019 picture looks so festive.) We had really fun traditions growing up, and we've had some great memories in the recent past (California road trip to the cousins' the past 5 years). But The Night itself just doesn't feel significant to me. Writing this now makes me wonder if this year will feel any different!?


Smith works on New Years and NY Day. SO, we'll do something low key and do as we usually do and go to bed early! Party Poopers!


My grandmother was a big proponent of "begin as you mean to go on" and that's probably the one thing I do, knitting, reading, texting the kids, and maybe eating 12 grapes this year. The past few years I've even stayed up until midnight, and while it's not a big, raucous celebration, it is kind of a calm and mindful way to welcome what I hope will be a much better year. (I may have a big, raucous celebration on Jan. 20th!)


Oh those crazy Scots.

Although swinging a fire ball at the ass-end of 2020 sounds like a pretty cool idea.

kathy b

Thank you ! I just ordered a flying fish or plant or something, and it is coming Saturday. It is a great way to ring in 2021. With a great wish , lit and in the dark of the sky.


For the past eight years, we've been with my parents in Florida for NYE, and as we're "old" and we had a small child with us, we didn't do much other than eat and go to bed early. This year will obviously be different, but I think we're going to do our best to make it a special event. We typically do a dinner of hors d'oeuvres, and as my daughter wants to learn to cook more, I think we'll do some research on some fun new things to try. She may want to try staying up until midnight this year, too!

Oh, and now I'm definitely going to make sure I wear white underwear!

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