One of my favorite times of the year is Christmas and New Year’s. The celebration of a new year is rich with hope and new possibilities. There is a sense of anticipation and excitement for me as I look ahead to a new year.
New Year’s Eve Traditions I Grew Up With
In my family of origin, we celebrated New Year’s Eve in different ways over the years. When we were really little, my parents took my siblings and I to my aunt and uncle’s house. We had a New Year’s Eve party, complete with noisemakers, party hats, and yummy treats! We often fell asleep before midnight but always had fun playing games or watching movies together.
When I was in junior high and high school, our parish had a special holy hour of Eucharistic Adoration from 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. We closed the old year in prayer, and rang in a new one with Jesus. Looking back I do not think I always appreciated this prayerful way of ringing in the New Year.
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A Fun and Holy New Year’s Eve
It can sometimes be frustrating for young adults trying to authentically live their Faith in the world. All too often, New Year’s Eve parties are about partying or drinking too much. I think it can be helpful to have a variety of ideas to have a fun and holy New Year’s celebration…without drinking to excess.
If you are unsure on what your plans for New Year’s Eve will look like, here are a few ideas to get you thinking.
Vigil Mass for Mary Mother of God + a Dinner Party
We know that January 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation: the feast of Mary, Mother of God. Many parishes have an early vigil Mass. Go to Mass and then host a dinner party with your close friends. Maybe have the food be cuisine from lots of different countries and cultures around the globe. Or make the evening a costume party! Have prizes for things like the most original or funniest costume. If you want to add some flair, have a simple photo booth with some basic props. Look at Pinterest to give you some ideas!
Have a Christmas Movie Marathon!
Remember it is still the celebration of Christmas even after December 25th! So why not have a reason to watch some of your favorite Christmas movies. Vote ahead of time on what movies will be featured at the marathon. Make it extra festive with Christmas cookies or a homemade hot chocolate bar. There is something so homey and cozy to me about holiday and Christmas movies. Spend extra time enjoying all your favorites as you ring in 2019!
Make a Visit to Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration
I think the New Year is a great way to look back over the past year and reflect on it with the Lord. Why not make a visit with Jesus and just review the past year with Him? What were the biggest blessings or struggles? How did He stretch you? Where have you grown the most? Thank the Lord for all that the past year brought you, and offer Him all that will come in 2019.
Find Something Fun to Do in Your Own Hometown
You don’t need to have these grand, expansive plans to ring in 2019. Look for simple, fun things to do in your own hometown. You might be surprised to find out what is going on! Maybe there’s a winter festival in your community. Or maybe your town has speciality movies playing. Or maybe the local community center or your church has something you could participate in. Research your hometown and see if there are any local activities going on you can check out.
Do Something to Bless Other People
I had a friend in college who, on New Year’s Eve, handed out blessings bags to the homeless in her local community. She spent time blessing the lives of other people as a way to celebrate and give back to other people. Maybe you can write letters to ten people who have blessed you this past year and share how they were a gift in your life. Maybe you and a group of friends can serve at a local soup kitchen or community outreach center on December 31st or January 1st. Or maybe you can visit a local senior center, especially when those folks often do not have many visitors around the holidays. Use your time to bless the lives of other people.
How Do You Really Want the Year to End?
Yes, have fun however you celebrate and ring in 2019. But consider the following…
Are there ways you can have both a fun and holy New Year’s Eve? Could you do something to bless or serve other people?How to Have a Fun and Holy New Year's Eve #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Patty Breen is a regular contributor to the BIS blog and a devotion writer. She is a full-time lay minister who finds joy in running, strong cups of coffee, and all things Ignatian spirituality. A Midwestern gal from the mitten state, she is constantly learning to find grace in all things. She is passionate about ministry to divorced Catholics and women whose relationships have been impacted by sexual addiction. You can find out more about her here.