I was brought up with, continued to perpetuate, and even created a number of Family Traditions. In our home there are certain days that have certain, and sometimes peculiar, activities associated with them! And … one of those days is New Year’s Day!

       Now, New Year’s Eve was never very important to us, probably because staying awake until midnight has always been challenging for me. In fact, one of the many things I liked about moving to Phoenix was we could watch the Crystal Ball drop in Times Square at 10 pm, thus ensuring that we could still get a full-night’s sleep! But, I digress!

       New Year’s Day to our family means two things – – – Football and Smorgasbord! The first part began when Tradition was more important than money, and all of the major Bowl Games were played on New Year’s Day – – many of them opposite each other. As a result, we would sit up three televisions in the Family Room and watch all the games! That meant that we would watch the Tournament of Roses Parade and, as soon as that was over, Football would rule the airwaves until bed time – – compliments of the Orange Bowl in Miami.

While Football on New Year’s Day is not unusual, the idea of a Smorgasbord may be a little more unique. In our family it became a reality in the following manner.

       One of my jobs in the mid-eighties was as an Adjunct Faculty professor at WESTERN BIBLE INSTITUTE in Phoenix. The school paid me twice a semester: Once the week of Thanksgiving and once at the end of the semester in mid-December. We would use the first check to do the majority of our Christmas Shopping, and the second check was used to grace our table for the New Year’s Smorgasbord!

       On that day we never ate any meals, we just grazed from morning ‘til night! It was on that day that we purchased goodies we couldn’t really afford the rest of the year. Such delicacies as Jumbo Shrimp, Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies, KRAFT sharp cheddar cheese, and GALLO Hard Salami were New Year’s Day staples. There were multiple chips and dips; crackers and candies; and lots of Sodee Pop! Some of the more exotic foods included the fact that I would pickle a beef heart and purchase Blind Robbins (a type of smoked herring). Ahhhh, King Henry VIII never had a finer banquet!

       Well, I can afford most of what we eat on New Year’s any time these days, but we still celebrate New Year’s Day the same way! In fact, I just pickled my beef heart last Saturday, and it should be just perfect when the day to eat it comes!

       Now, I mention all of this because the GOOD NEWS is that while 2020 has been a year of challenges and disappointments, the reality is it can only dishearten us if we allow it to! We can still look forward to, and enjoy!, all of our traditions even if we have to curtail how many people can be there. Remember this – – enjoyment is determined by our attitude, not our situation! So, if you hurry, you still have time to pickle a Beef Heart and have a Very Happy New Year’s Day Smorgasbord!

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