New Year’s traditions are as sacred to many families as their Christmas traditions.  Growing up, our family always gathered with the same group of friends after attending New Year’s Eve services at church.  I remember trying so hard to stay awake until midnight, playing games with my friends, and consuming way too many sugary treats to stay alert.  At 11:55 p.m. the cry would go out, “Five minutes left!”  We would all gather together and the adults would sing a hymn to usher in the New Year, while we kids would jump and cheer.  What a great way to begin a fresh year—praising God with good friends!  It’s a tradition we carry on with our family.

My husband’s parents always enjoy a romantic steak dinner alone at home after New Year’s Eve services at church.  Another family reads blessings from a jar they have collected throughout the past year.  My friend’s family pull taffy together, hanging the stringy candy on the clothesline in the crisp night until it can be snapped.  Neighbors take bells outside to literally “ring in” the New Year.

Since adopting our son almost four years ago, we celebrate the New Year twice a year. At the end of January or beginning of February, we celebrate the Chinese New Year in honor of our son’s heritage.  The Year of the Ox begins January 26, 2009.  We will enjoy a dinner at a Chinese restaurant, give our children the traditional red envelopes with money in them, and greet each other with “Kung Hei Fat Choi,” meaning “Congratulations and be prosperous.”

I would love to hear your family’s New Year traditions or how you celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Be prosperous and blessed!