A senior’s perspective of Happy New Year celebrations of today and the past

A senior reflects on the New Year. Photo: Seniors on New Years/ Flickr

MISSOURI, December 30, 2013 — For some, New Year’s is a time to evaluate the past year as it relates to mistakes and accomplishments. You cannot have a future if you don’t have a history in which to make decisions and provide yourself a “statement of direction” as it relates to the New Year.

Most seniors take time to evaluate their health. Did I eat right, did I exercise, did I keep busy with meaningful things, did I tell my love ones that I loved them, did I show acts of kindness and charity, did I help someone?  

The new goals that we set for ourselves should be measurable and obtainable. Write these goals down and put them in a place where you see them every day, such as on the front of a refrigerator.  

New Year’s celebrations differ at certain times of our life. Today’s seniors likely remember when they were young and in high school, and they were getting ready to go to the parties, which were held in the school gym with teacher and parent supervision. Some remember the jitterbug contests, the girls with bobby socks and the boys with pegged pants.  

New Year’s celebrations were generally celebrated in their homes with family and friends in attendance, and the home decorated. There were a lot of traditions such as eating “herring and crackers” on New Year’s Eve. Children were always a part of the celebration, and helped ring in the New Year.

For high school children, New Year’s is time to celebrate. New Year celebrations in the school gym seems to have disappeared, but the house parties are abundant. Now the challenge for the parents is to indoctrinate the child on the rules of “partying.” Rules about not drinking and driving, about curfews. If a boy has a date, the parents remind them, maybe, to buy her flowers. The girls shop for clothes for the New Year celebration and the boys shine their cars. The phones are constantly ringing, planning and scheduling the important festivities. Parents call other parents, in a very discreet manner, to make sure there is supervision at the party.

Seniors see the excitement of young people and remember feeling it themselves, so many years ago, preparing for the New Year’s party.

For adults, there are still parties, but they become more sedate. Big, loud celebrations with noisemakers and hats and confetti are, for the most part, gone. Celebrations are limited to a few friends or a dance at one of the organizations, and sometimes it is just Mom and Dad sitting watching the television trying with all their might to stay up to midnight and watch the celebration at times square in New York.  

It is time for the young to pick up the baton for the New Year’s celebrations.  

Have a very happy and Blessed New Year.

However, that’s from a time and place I am from.


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Charles Vandegriff, Sr.

Charles is a fifty-four-year career in technology retiring at the directors level from three major corporations. Followed by three-plus years as a free-lance columnist, published three books, over three hundred speeches to senior organizations, radio interviews, one television commercial and finally married for sixty-five years, four children, seven grandchildren and thirteen great grand children. 

Charles is also a Navy veteran.

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