How We Should Be Celebrating the New Year

I think we are celebrating the New Year holiday all wrong.

Why is it that many of us begin each new year exhausted, depressed, and/or hung over? Why don’t we actually celebrate the new year instead of trying to send the old year out with an often undeserved bang?

I’ve always thought it was strange that most of our celebrating occurs the night before the holiday and not much happens on the holiday itself. We have count downs and parties, concerts and dances; but once midnight strikes the majority of the celebration is over and people begin to straggle off to bed.

Not only is all of the celebrating done during the old year, but most of the focus is looking back at the past year. And any Driver’s Ed teacher can tell you that not looking where you are going is a bad idea.

Instead of “New Year’s Eve”, we should call it “Past Year’s End”. Our media is filled with “Year in Review” types of content. What was the best moment of the year? The best movie? Who was the best looking? What will this year be remembered for?

And instead of preparing for the new year with hope and anticipation, we instead sabotage it by obsessing over the past 365 days.

Let the depression begin.

Anticipating the new year with its ceremonial setting of half-baked goals, often results in a premature abandoning of our current goals. Somewhere between Halloween and Christmas, we throw caution to the wind and essentially say, “Who cares. I’m going to make new goals anyways. What happens in this year, stays in this year.”

On the first day of the new year (the actual holiday), we are exhausted, depressed, hung over, and do little more than watch TV. Some people might have a fancy meal, but my point is that most of the emphasis is on the old year and not the new year.

In many cultures (Bengal, Japan, etc.) it is believed that how you spend this first day will mark how you spend the rest of the year. (I hope this isn’t true, or I’m in trouble.)

Also, in Japan, they have a beautiful custom that I love: They get up early on New Year’s Day and watch the sun rise. Some people even hike or drive to the tops of mountains to be the first to catch the rays of the new year. What a wonderful and positive way to welcome the year ahead.

Going along with this idea. I came up with some things that I think we should be doing to celebrate the New Year. Just some suggestions.

On New Year’s Eve:
1. Write out all of the bad things about the past year and take turns burning each person’s list in a fireplace or bonfire.
2. Write out your goals and dreams for the future year and share them with someone.
3. Go to bed at a reasonable hour.

On New Year’s Day
1. Get up early and watch the sun rise.
2. Make breakfast together as the main meal of the holiday. (Breakfast gets overlooked on most holidays)
3. Do something positive and uplifting: Service project, visit elderly family members, etc.
4. Take a first step toward your goals and dreams.

What traditions do you have with the New Year holiday? What would you change? What would you keep? Tell us in the comments below.

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