Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 3.09.31 PMHello and Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe it’s already 2016. I remember so vividly when it was New Year’s Eve, 1999 and we were all half expecting the world to implode at the stroke of midnight. For a week before New Year’s, practically everyone was running around getting cash withdrawals from ATMs just in case those dreaded computer glitches were to materialize. We stocked up on extra water and supplies just in case all the supermarkets’ doors were sealed shut. Looking back now, that was all just a tiny bit of a paranoid over reaction to what ended up being a totally normal New Year’s Eve celebration.

Growing up, my parents didn’t want me or my friends to risk being on the roads on New Year’s Eve, so they began a tradition that continues to this day. They would host a huge, raucous party and invite all of their friends. They would encourage my brother and me to invite our friends, too. There would be a massive amount of food, decorations, people, laughter, dancing and merriment. Then, at about 11:57pm, we’d run around the house to find as many pots, pans and long handled spoons as we could and then race outside just before the ten-second countdown would begin. As soon as the clock struck midnight, all of us, the young and old(er) together, would bang those pots and pans as hard as we could, all celebrating the start of a new year side by side on an exuberantly loud and happy note. Nowadays I’ll sometimes run into high school friends I haven’t seen in a while and often one of the first things I’ll hear is, “Remember how much fun we used to have at those New Year’s parties at your house??” That always makes me feel good. My kids are happy to carry on the Lee family tradition, too, especially the banging of the pots and pans part. It’s rather remarkable that we now have three generations celebrating together. I can’t think of a better way to begin a new year than in this wild and wacky way.

No matter how you chose to ring in the new year, I hope 2016 is already off to a healthy and prosperous start for you and your loved ones. I look forward to seeing you out and about in the neighborhood all year long. Here’s to a sweet (20) sixteen!