Happy 2010! Here are some generic memories of New Year's Eve as experienced in my childhood.
When I was very young, my parents would make me go to bed at the usual time, with the promise that they'd wake me up when midnight came. I remember a year or two where I woke up to hear them tell me it was midnight and then went back to sleep. Other years, I got out of bed with the rest of my siblings and went upstairs to sleepily enjoy a lime sherbet float. This dessert is inexplicable to me. It was lime sherbet served in 7-Up or Sprite. In the entire rest of my life, I've only ever encountered one other person who had the guts to serve sherbet floats in public. I don't know if it's a Mormon thing, or an 80s thing, or what.
When I got older and stayed up all night until midnight, we always made sure to have Martinelli's sparkling apple cider on hand. It was such a treat since we hardly ever got pop and you have to admit that Martinelli's is a step up (even from lime sherbet floats).
The lamest year I remember was one year when I was still young and we went to California for New Year's to spend time with my grandparents. On New Year's Eve, I guess all the adults were too tired because they went to bed and left us kids to celebrate on our own. My younger sister Teresa and I turned on an ancient TV we found in the sitting room and tuned it to a channel showing a New Year's countdown. We scrounged some generic pop from the pantry and when it was midnight, we drank it. It got the job done, I guess.
When I was a teenager, I really enjoyed running a 5k race that started at midnight. It was held in downtown Portland and was usually called something like First Run. That was always a lot of fun, because I was doing something wholesome and healthy to bring in the new year, and also because they had lots of good food afterward. Then we sweaty, exhausted runners got to share the Max (light rail train) ride home at 2.30 am with all the sweaty, exhausted drunk people. It was an amusing division of passengers, almost as good as the time there was a huge regional Mormon conference in downtown Portland on the same day there was a gay/lesbian pride parade. THAT was an interesting Max ride.
Happy New Year!