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New Year's

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New Year's Eve falls on December 31st, the day before the first day of the calendar year. In the United States, Canada, England, and many other countries around the world, New Year's Eve is a festive occasion marked by boisterous celebrations to welcome the new year.

In the United States, many people go to New Year's Eve parties. Crowds gather in Times Square in New York City, on State Street in Chicago, and in other public places. At midnight, bells ring, sirens sound, firecrackers explode, and everyone shouts, Happy New Year! People also drink a toast to the new year and sing Auld Lang Syne.
The date of New Years
People around the world celebrate the new year on different dates. There is nothing special about January 1. The early Roman calendar used March 1 as New Year's Day. Later, the ancient Romans made January 1 the beginning of the year.

During the Middle Ages, most European countries used March 25, a Christian holiday called Annunciation Day, to start the year. By 1600, many Western nations had adopted a revised calendar called the Gregorian calendar. This calendar, the one used today, restored January 1 as New Year's Day. Great Britain and its colonies in America adopted it in 1752.

Many people celebrate the new year on dates established by their religion. For example, the Jewish New Year, a solemn occasion called Rosh Ha-Shanah, is observed during September or early October. Hindus in different parts of India celebrate the new year on various dates. Muslims use a calendar that has 354 days in most years. As a result, the Muslim New Year falls on different dates from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the year starts on January 14.

In Iran, the new year begins on March 21. The Iranians call this No Ruz, which means New Day. And many Chinese living outside China celebrate the old Chinese New Year. It falls between January 21 and February 19.

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PARTY TIME- DECORATIONS, GAMES & IDEAS


DECORATIONS
Instead of streamers, or along with streamers, use curling ribbon to make a room look extra fancy. You can also make paper chains!

Fill balloons with confetti (use a funnel). You can pop these at midnight for some extra celebrating. Another fun idea is to write out 'fortunes' on small slips of paper and pop one into each balloon.

Cut out colored snowflakes or stars from construction paper, paint on some glue, sprinkle with glitter, and hang them around the room.

String small, white Christmas tree lights around the room.

TABLE CENTERPIECE
You will need: Large Chinese takeout container; florist's foam; plastic food storage bag; artemisia, santolina, gray-green foliage; twine. To do: Glue twine in spirals on box sides. Place florist's foam in plastic bag; set in container; add water to moisten. Arrange foliage in florist's foam.



GAMES & ACTIVITIES
TIMELINE
Create a large timeline that you can put on the wall. It should start in 1900 and continue through at least the year 2025. Find or draw pictures that represent major events in those decades and put them along the timeline, to mark "how our lives are/have been/will be." Then have residents/guests put event stickers with their names on them (that you have prepared before the party), on the timeline corresponding to any or all of the following:
year they were born
year they started school
year they graduated from high school or college
year they got married or fell in love
year(s) babies were born
year they retired
When done, ask people what they remember about the world the year they were born, or what they expected it to be like when they retire, etc... You could give prizes to the oldest, youngest, most kids, etc.

NAME THAT TUNE
1. Gather up great music from the century and have people try to identify it in relation to the decades you identified in the timeline.
2. A derivation of this would be to have someone read a line of a song out loud and have teams try to identify a line of a song that comes before or after the line that was read. Note: This is great fun and frequently leads to people humming and singing songs to remember the words.

CHARADES
1. Play charades with ideas from each decade
2. Or give everyone a slip of paper with a famous person from a particular era and take turns asking "yes/no" questions while trying to guess who they are!


THE TIME CAPSULE
Creating a time capsule is a great way to look back and remember and look forward and imagine. It could be a video compilation of important events, or a stack of photo albums full of pictures of memorable events. Or just be creative.


VIDEO
Video tape guests giving their New Year's resolutions. The tapes make wonderful entertainment at the next year's party.


PHOTOS
Take instant photos in a setting created just for this opportunity. Present the guests their photo in a frame of your choice. Affix a piece of magnetic material on the back so that it can be kept on display in the home.


GUESS WHO'S RESOLUTION
Make each of your guests write down 5 resolutions, each on its own slip of paper. Pull one slip of paper out of a hat at a time and read it out loud. Everyone has to write down who they think made each resolution. At the end of the readings, the person who guessed the most correctly wins a prize. Read some of the wrong guesses out loud for fun!


GUESS THE MONTH
Go through old magazines from the past year, or to your local library (this is fun research though) to search through old news articles. Find many events that took place in the past year. Make a list of these events, and have your guests guess which month the event took place in.




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LYRICS

AULD LANG SYNE
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?
And days of auld lang syne, my dear,
And days of auld lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?
We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine.
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
Sin' auld lang syne.
Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,
Sin' auld lang syne,
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
Sin' auld ang syne.
We twa hae sported i' the burn,
From morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.
Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,
Sin' auld lang syne.
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.
And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

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RECIPES


CARAMEL FUDGE CHEESECAKE
Ingredients:

1 package fudge brownie mix (8-in sq pan size)
1 package (14 oz.) caramels
1/4 C evaporated milk
1-1/4 C coarsely chopped pecans
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 - 1 oz. semisweet choc. squares, melted
2 - 1 oz. unsweetened choc. squares, melted

Instructions:

Prepare brownie batter according to the package directions. Spread into a greased 9 in. springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt caramels with milk. Pour over brownie crust; sprinkle with pecans. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar; mix well. Add eggs, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in melted chocolate. Pour over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool completely. Chill overnight. Remove sides of pan before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.




FUN FINGER SANDWICHES
Use quantities needed for your group:
Soft white bread
Your favorite sandwich fillings (examples: PB&J, tuna salad, egg salad, ham salad, etc.)
Spread a thin layer of sandwich filling on one slice of bread. Top with other slice. Cut off crust. Cut sandwiches into shapes with large cookie cutters, or cut into "fingers" (long strips).



HAWAIIAN COOLER PUNCH
Ingredients: 1 can frozen pineapple-grapefruit-juice concentrate
1 can frozen pineapple-orange-juice concentrate
1 chilled 28 oz. bottle ginger ale
Pineapple chunks
Green cherries
Directions: 1) Mix frozen juices as labels direct.
2) Pour over ice in large punch bowl.
3) Add ginger ale.
4) Top with pineapple and cherries.

Yield: 19 half-cup servings



PARTY MACAROON MUFFINS
Ingredients: For Muffins:
1 cup soft butter (no substitute)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, measured before sifting

For Almond Macaroon Filling:
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups finely chopped blanched almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
Directions:
For Almond Macaroon Filling:

1) Beat 2 eggs until light and foamy.
2) Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until well blended.
3) Fold in 1 1/4 cups finely chopped blanched almonds and 1 teaspoon almond extract.
For Muffins:
1) Cream butter and sugar thoroughly in large bowl of electric mixer.
2) Beat in egg, flavorings, and flour.
3) Drop with teaspoon into tiny greased muffin cups, pressing dough over bottom and up around sides.
4) Chill.
5) Heat oven to 325 degrees.
6) Fill little cups with Almond Macaroon Filling.
7) Bake about 25 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 3 dozen tiny muffins.

Hint: Double the recipe for a cocktail supper for about 20.



SUGAR PLUM TREE
Ingredients: 1 large fresh pineapple
1/2 pound sweet cherries
Directions: 1) Cut a 1-inch slice from top of pineapple, keeping all the spiny leaves intact.
2) Wash leaves thoroughly and wipe dry.
3) Press leaves outward, curving them to represent branches of a tree.
4) Set upright on the cut surface and stick cherries on ends of leaves.
5) Use as a center of a large salad plate arrangement or as hors d'oeuvres server.

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