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. . . )