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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 12/31/11

Saturday, December 31, 2011

TOP 10 NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!







   New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. This is a list of the ten most popular New Year resolutions.



Newyears


10. Reorganize Life
   On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, these tips and resources should get you started on the way to a more organized life.


9. Be More Charitable
   A popular, non-selfish New Year’s resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help.


8. Learn Something New
   Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep. Challenge your mind in the coming year, and your horizons will expand.



Nyc New Year's

7. Get Out of Debt
   Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It’s a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.


6. Stop Drinking
   While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available.


5. Enjoy Life More
   Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of people in the world, it is no wonder that “enjoying life more” has become a popular resolution in recent years. It’s an important step to a happier and healthier you!


4. Stop Smoking
   If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good.



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3. Lose Weight
   Weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of people who made a New Year’s commitment to shed extra pounds.


2. Get Fit
   Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.


1. Spend Time with Loves Ones
   Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of people asked, vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.






HISTORY OF AULD LANG SYNE!









   The traditional song for bringing in the new year in most English speaking countries is "Auld Lang Syne". The song is well known and sung at the stroke of midnight as the new year is ushered in. The words were passed down orally and written down in 1788 by Scottish poet Robert Burns. Robert Burns is usually given credit for the poem, but some lyrics appear to have been taken from an earlier poem by James Watson. The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570-1638), Allan Ramsay (1686-1757), and James Watson (1711) as well as older folk songs predating Burns.
   It soon became traditional in Scotland and the British Isles for the folk song "Auld Lang Syne" to be sung to commemorate the beginning of the New Year. As the people from that area of the world emigrated to other places and to the United States, they brought the tradition with them and it became an American tradition. Although the song is widely known, must of us don't understand the meaning. The song title "Auld Lang Syne" can be translated to long long ago or days gone by. Matthew Fitt, a Lowland Scots/Lallans poet and novelist, uses the phrase "In the days of auld lang syne" as the equivalent of "Once upon a time..." in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.





   The meaning of this popular Scottish New Years Eve song " Auld Lang Syne" is about old friends who have parted and meet again. To celebrate their long friendship, they share a drink together and reminisce of memories from a long time ago. The main message is that we should not forget our old friends and should celebrate a reunion with them.
   The opening verse: "Should old acquaintance be forgot / and never brought to mind? / Should old acquaintance be forgot / and days o' lang syne?" is the one most of us know and remember. These lines ask whether one can forget the days that have gone by and the friends with whom those days have been spent. The next verses recall those days.
   There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used both in Scotland and in the rest of the world.
    Guy Lombardo, famous Canadian band leader, is often credited with popularising the use of the song at New Year's celebrations in America, through his annual broadcasts on radio and television, beginning in 1929. The song became his trademark. In addition to his live broadcasts, Lombardo recorded the song more than once. His first recording was in 1939. Though there are earlier newspaper reports of the song being sung in American and across the ocean to celebrate the New Year.

TOP 10 NEW YEAR TRADITIONS!







   Just as the parties from Christmas begin to dwindle, preparations are started for the celebration of New Year. It is a time when even the least-likely party-goer will ready himself for a night of booze, singing, and food. This list looks at 10 of the most common and interesting traditions of New Year from around the world.




10. First Footing
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   First-footing is an ancient European New Year’s custom that continues into the present in many areas. The first person to enter a home after midnight on the first day of the year should be a male, preferably with dark hair. Blondes may have been associated with Vikings – visitors who never brought good luck. The first-footer should carry a gift, such as a coin for prosperity, bread for food, salt for flavor, or whiskey to represent good cheer. The first-footer can be a resident of the house, but must not be inside during the hour leading up to midnight. No fair stepping outside and coming back in again!




9. Irish Wind
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   There is an Irish tradition of predicting the political future of the country by checking which way the wind blows at midnight on New Year’s Eve. If the wind is from the west, there is a chance that good fortune will reign that year. If the wind is from the east, however, the British will prevail. Mistletoe was handed out to ward off bad luck, and single women put a sprig of mistletoe under their pillows in hopes of catching a dream about their future husbands. Another tradition peculiar to Ireland is pounding on the doors and windows of the house with bread. This practice was to chase out evil spirits and ensure bread for the upcoming year.



8. Lavish Parties
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   Madeira, a Portugese island, holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most lavish New Year’s party. In 2007, 8,000 fireworks per minute made up the display in Funchal, the capital city, for a total of 600,000 fireworks. Visitors from around the world fill the tiny harbor, where the dazzle is reflected. In 2009, the government is spending 12,000,000 Euros to ensure the most spectacular celebration anywhere in the world. Other famous fireworks displays take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney harbor, and, of course, New York City, were visitors watch the descent of the giant six-foot crystal ball marking the last moments of the old year.



7. Ancient History
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   New Year’s is the oldest holiday still being celebrated. The Babylonians celebrated the new year as early as 4000 B.C. At that time, the new year began on the first new moon after the Vernal Equinox. The celebration continued for eleven days, with each day having a different purpose and activity. Then, as now, resolutions were made. A common Babylonian resolution is to return borrowed farm equipment. At this time each year, the king was stripped of all power to undergo a ritual of humiliation, in which he was hit by the priest and separated from everyone for three days to pray. When he reappeared, ceremonies of restoration were performed to ensure that nature would support him during the coming year.




6. Imperial Ball
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   Austria has one of the most glamorous of New Year’s celebrations. At the Imperial Ball, a tradition of the Hapsburg dynasty that has continued for hundreds of years, dancers wear white gowns and black jackets. At midnight, “The Blue Danube,”is played. The Strauss operetta, “Die Fledermaus, is performed each New Year’s Day. Celebrants dine on suckling pig – considered good luck. The tables are often decorated with candy pigs. Children pour molten lead into a tub of water. A soothsayer then reads the shape of the lead. It is considered bad luck to find that your lead resembles an old woman.



5. Chinese New Year
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   By the Chinese calendar, the year 2009 is actually 4706, a year of the ox. Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In 2010, it will fall on February 14. Firecrackers and noisemakers will chase away evil spirits. The fabulous dragon and lion will dance in the streets. People will wear red, the most auspicious of colors, and red envelopes with lucky money will be given to children. Tangerines are often given for good luck, but odd numbers are unlucky, so the tangerines are given in pairs. The third day of the new year is the day the mice marry off their daughters, so people go to bed early, so they don’t disturb the mice.




4. Japanese New Year
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   It is traditional in Japan to spend a full week preparing for the new year to arrive. The house must be thoroughly cleaned, so that no evil spirits can linger. All debts must be paid. And most importantly, all disagreements must be resolved and forgiven. Before midnight, 108 bells ring, to symbolize the elimination of 108 troubles. With no troubles, disagreements, debts, or disorder to contend with, all are free to welcome in the new year with every expectation of peace and prosperity. The day after New Year’s is First Writing Day, when people write their hopes and dreams for the new year.



3. Emancipation Day
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   For African Americans, New Year’s Day has a special significance, and is often called Emancipation Day or Jubilee Day. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves from bondage, was read in Boston. Today, many African-American families hold “watch services” on January 1. Traditional foods include black-eyed peas, collard greens, ham hocks, and macaroni and cheese. The uniquely African-American celebration, Kwanzaa, continues over seven days starting December 26, so the New Year’s celebration is often part of Kwanzaa’s way of reconnecting people with their African roots. Kwanzaa began in the United States in the 1960s, and is not celebrated in Africa.



2. Auld Lang Syne




“Auld Lang Syne” has been called the most familiar song to which nobody knows the words. But this year, you will! Written by Robert Burns and first published after his death in 1796, the song became an instant standard in 1929 when Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played it on New Year’s Eve, broadcasting from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The title literally means, “Old Long Time.” Roughly translated, here are the words:
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.
We two have run around the hills
And pulled the daisies fine.
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot
Since the days of auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream
From morn till the sun was down.
But seas between us two have roared
Since days of auld lang syne.
So here’s a hand my trusty friend.
Give us a hand of thine.
We’ll take a good-will drink again
For auld lang syne.


1. First Baby
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   Using a baby to symbolize the new year has been controversial from the beginning. Many cities watch for the first baby of the new year, to shower him or her with gifts from local merchants and lots of media attention. But parading a living baby through the streets brought disapproval from Greek mothers as early as 600 B.C. Egyptians also used a live human baby to symbolize the birth of a new year. Early Christians disapproved of the practice, but its popularity eventually overcame all objections, and the symbol remains one of the most popular. Today’s baby is traditionally a diapered boy with a sash labeled with the number of the upcoming year he represents.






5 NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS TO SERVE AT YOUR NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY!







   Celebrate and stay sober while ringing in the New Year with these holiday drink recipes:


Golden Fruit Punch Recipe



Golden Fruit Punch Recipe






  • 21 Servings




  • Prep: 10 min. + freezing




  • 10 10

    Ingredients

    • 4 maraschino cherries
    • 1 medium navel orange, thinly sliced
    • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
    • 1 small lime, thinly sliced
    • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
    • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
    • 1 can (12 ounces) frozen pineapple-orange juice concentrate, thawed
    • 2 liters diet ginger ale, chilled

    Directions

    • Arrange fruit in a 5-cup ring mold; add 3/4 cup water. Freeze until solid. Add enough water to fill mold; freeze until solid.
    • Just before serving, in a punch bowl, combine juice concentrates with 2 cups water. Stir in ginger ale. Unmold ice ring by wrapping the bottom of the mold in a hot, damp dishcloth. Invert onto a baking sheet; place fruit side up in punch bowl. Yield: 21 servings (4 quarts).


    Cranberry Festive Sparkler


    Cranberry Festive Sparkler



    makes 1 serving

    Ingredients:

    8 ounces Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Drink, any flavor, chilled
    2 ounces sparkling water
    Lime wedge, garnish

    Directions:

    Fill a tall glass with ice. Add cranberry juice drink. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lime wedge.



    Effortless Eggnog Recipe


    Effortless Eggnog Recipe




  • 16 Servings




  • Prep/Total Time: 5 min.




  • 5 5

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 gallon cold milk, divided
    • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant French vanilla pudding mix
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons Spice Islands® pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Directions

    • In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 cup milk and pudding mix until smooth. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in the remaining milk. Refrigerate until serving.
    •  Yield: 16 servings (2 quarts).


    Mulled Pomegranate Sipper Recipe


    Mulled Pomegranate Sipper Recipe


  • 16 Servings




  • Prep: 10 min. Cook: 1 hour




  • 10 60 70

    Ingredients

    • 1 bottle (64 ounces) cranberry-apple juice
    • 2 cups unsweetened apple juice
    • 1 cup pomegranate juice
    • 2/3 cup honey
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 3 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
    • 10 whole cloves
    • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel

    Directions

    • In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine first five ingredients. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 1-2 hours. Discard spice bag.
    •  Yield: 16 servings (about 3 quarts).


    Citrus Wassail Recipe


    Citrus Wassail Recipe


  • 13 Servings




  • Prep/Total Time: 25 min.




  • 25 25

    Ingredients

    • 8 cups unsweetened apple juice
    • 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
    • 2 cups orange juice
    • 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

    Directions

    • In a Dutch oven, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.
    • Yield: 13 servings (about 3 quarts).