New Year’s Resolutions: Start Planning for 2017

New Year’s Eve is this weekend and 2017 isn’t too far away. It’s that majestic time of the year when we get excited about making some major changes and allow ourselves to feel optimistic about the future. It’s when we get big ideas, make big plans and think about how we can improve upon the year we’ve just finished. It isn’t 2017 quite yet, but it’s close enough to start thinking about what we want to accomplish this year. Start with a few of these fun ideas for home projects, kitchen renovations and more with these Lakeside articles.

6 Things to Eat to Start the New Year Off Right

6 Things to Eat to Start Your New Year Off Right
As the year comes to an end, we focus on having a great party for New Year’s Eve, but New Year’s Day is reserved for starting over and making resolutions. There are traditional foods people eat for the holiday to bring them and their families luck and prosperity. Here are six things to eat to start your New Year off right.

New Year, New Home: Maintenance to Start Your New Year Safely
The yard is spotless and ready for snow, the pipes are insulated for the cold months ahead, and all the patio furniture has been packed up in the garage. But once you’ve crossed out everything on the pre-winter to-do list, it’s not over. Your home needs regular maintenance. Here are 5 ideas to help you start the year safely.

New Year's Eve: 5 Crafts to Get Kids Excited for a Fresh Start

New Year: 5 Crafts to Get Kids Excited for a Fresh Start
Just when you think the craziness of the holidays is over, here comes New Year’s Eve. In the middle of your post-holiday fatigue, it’s difficult to feel inspired with active minds and little hands to keep busy. Don’t stress–try out these five crafts to get the kids excited for a fresh start and keep them busy during their winter break.

Sprucing Up Your Kitchen for the New Year
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s and all the celebrations in between, your kitchen probably took a beating. It’s time to make some upgrades, so you can enjoy your time in there! Remove decorations, toss out holiday mail and start showing your kitchen some love! Here are a few ways to spruce up your kitchen this year.

New Year, New You: Resolutions to Get a Good Night's Sleep

New Year, New You: Resolutions to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Every year, after we put away the holiday wreaths and Christmas tree toppers, we vow to change our ways to create a better life for ourselves. One thing we forget about or underestimate is the sleep that powers us to conquer each day. Big changes require energy. Here are four resolutions to get a better night’s sleep.

10 Unique New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

NYEIn the United States, we’ll use any excuse to celebrate and the new year is no exception. We watch the ball drop in Times Square, make resolutions and eat different food for good luck. But other cultures and countries have very different customs for ringing in the new year. Here are 10 unique New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world.

  1. Scotland The first person to cross the threshold of your home on New Year’s Day is thought to be the bringer of good luck for the coming year. This is called “first footing.”
  2. Belgium On New Year’s Day, children craft special letters to their parents. It’s something like a Valentine — they create a collage of angels, cherubs and roses — and then read the letters out loud to their parents.
  3. Denmark They save their chipped and otherwise unwanted  dishes to throw at the doors of friends. Whether or not this determines your luck for the year is uncertain, but the pile of broken dishes you have at your doorstep on the last day of the year is a measure of how many friends you have.bells
  4. Japan Don’t be alarmed when the temple bells don’t stop ringing! That’s 108 chimes from the Buddhist temples. Each ring represents temptations to resist in order to achieve peace of mind.
  5. South America New, colorful  underwear for the new year is a must. If you want love, wear red underwear. If it’s financial success you need, yellow underwear is what you need. For peace, stick to white underwear.
  6. Greece To bring wealth and success for the coming year, it’s customary to crack open a pomegranate on your doorstep before entering your home on New Year’s Day.
  7. Ecuador Everyone cobbles together paper dummies — similar to scarecrows — to represent all the  bad luck and disappointment of the last year. At the stroke of midnight, everyone sets their dummies on fire in the streets.
  8. Hapy-New-YearGermany They look to lead to determine one’s fortune in the new year. Molten lead is poured into cold water. The shape it takes — a heart for marriage, circles or spheres for good luck and the shape of an anchor for bad luck — predicts what your year will bring.
  9. Switzerland They drop dollops of whipped cream on the floor and leave it there. It’s thought to bring good fortune for the next 365 days.

Whether or not you believe cultural customs guarantee good luck for the year, a new year is as good a reason as any to make a fresh start. Here’s to a happy 2015!

Planning the Perfect New Year’s Eve Party

ImageYou survived your Aunt Susie’s infamous fruit cake and you got that “perfect” sweater for the cold winter ahead. Now, you just have to plan an amazing party to mark the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. So what can you do with little to no time? Check out our tips below to create a wonderful end to the year.

 Perfect Theme
When creating any party, a theme is a great way to go. A theme sets the tone of the party, lets guests know what to wear, and makes your life easier when planning the décor. Since we all can celebrate the Mayans being wrong, why not throw a party to celebrate? If you want something a little more elegant, try a 20’s theme.

Finger Food
You don’t have to cook a 7-course meal for your guests. Most of us had enough food the past month. Instead, have some fun finger food instead. Real Simple suggests mini salami puff sandwiches. Deserts are always a hit, so why not use our Cup Pie Baking Set to create single-serving size pies for your guests?

It’s not New Years without some fun drinks. For those who don’t drink, cranberry juice with sparkling water in a fun glass is a good option. Check out TasteofHome for more alcohol-free drink options. For a spin on the traditional glass of Champaign, try adding a splash of mandarin liqueur and a citrus peel. If your party is kid friendly, a classic Shirley Temple never fails.

Trivia games and poker are always a good option, but don’t forget you can always get creative. You can Google famous quotes for 2012, and write them on note cards. Then, have your guests guess who said them. Another option is to have your guests write down predictions for 2013. This can become a fun tradition–you can read all of your predictions next New Years.

Friends and Family
The must have “item” for any successful party are your friends and family. You don’t need fancy food, kitchenware, or a DJ to impress your true friends. They will be there no matter what—and have a blast. As Marlene Dietrich said, “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”

What are your favorite ideas for planning a New Year’s Eve party? Let us know in the comments below.

Image Credit: Penn Foster