Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

I love Christmas, have I said that before?  We went into NYC before Christmas and hung out with my cousin.  She is dancing and acting there.  Even was on SNL (Saturday Night Live).  Of course we had to see the windows and Rockefeller Center.  But the best treat of all? Getting to see the Plaza Hotel.
Just look at the loveliness!

The restaurant inside the hotel.  Just dripping with Victorian charm!

Eloise's Tree.  So cute!
I even made gingerbread cookies!  My fave recipe, but it's a family secret so I will not be posting it. However, I will post a picture of the best ones!

I like the boots the best!
Christmas was lovely.  We had a great time visiting with family (both Mr. K's and mine) over the long weekend. We even got to go to Christmas Eve service at the church where we were married, which was so nice. My brother got slot cars for Christmas and had a grand time running them.  How about that for vintage!

New Year's Eve is tonight and to be celebratory, I thought I would share some of the New Year's traditions from around the world.

Here are a few I found from a magazine article :

AUSTRIA - The suckling pig is the symbol for good luck for the new year. It's served on a table decorated with tiny edible pigs. Dessert often consists of green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover.

ENGLAND - The British place their fortunes for the coming year in the hands of their first guest. They believe the first visitor of each year should be male and bearing gifts. Traditional gifts are coal for the fire, a loaf for the table and a drink for the master. For good luck, the guest should enter through the front door and leave through the back. Guests who are empty-handed or unwanted are not allowed to enter first.

WALES - At the first toll of midnight, the back door is opened and then shut to release the old year and lock out all of its bad luck. Then at the twelfth stroke of the clock, the front door is opened and the New Year is welcomed with all of its luck.

SICILY - An old Sicilian tradition says good luck will come to those who eat lasagna on New Year's Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other noodle will bring bad luck.

SPAIN - In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, the Spanish eat 12 grapes, one with every toll, to bring good luck for the 12 months ahead.

GREECE - A special New Year's bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough. The first slice is for the Christ child, the second for the father of the household and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds the coin, spring will come early that year.

CHINA - For the Chinese New Year, every front door is adorned with a fresh coat of red paint, red being a symbol of good luck and happiness. Although the whole family prepares a feast for the New Year, all knives are put away for 24 hours to keep anyone from cutting themselves, which is thought to cut the family's good luck for the next year.

UNITED STATES - The kiss shared at the stroke of midnight in the United States is derived from masked balls that have been common throughout history. As tradition has it, the masks symbolize evil spirits from the old year and the kiss is the purification into the new year.

NORWAY - Norwegians make rice pudding at New Year's and hide one whole almond within. Guaranteed wealth goes to the person whose serving holds the lucky almond.

So, what traditions do Mr. K and I have at our home? 
Well, I grew up watching the Rose Bowl float parade on New Year's Day with my mom and he grew up watching the parade and game with his family, so that is one tradition we'll keep. Plus, how can someone say no to roses and flowers in the middle of winter?!
Another one that we have is watching the ball drop in Times Square and toasting to the New Year at midnight with something sparkling (soda, cider, champagne, etc).
I had a friend in FL who used to make black eyed peas and collard greens with ham for New Year's Day. His mom was southern to the bone. Supposedly an old saying goes, "Eat peas on New Year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year." However, I think we will skip this one.  Neither of us are particularly fond of black eyed peas. We'll do Chinese food at home. :-)

Times Square before New Year's Eve

T minus 11 hours and counting!

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