It was a very low key celebration at my house last night.  Wanting to end the night early, my guests and I did our countdown and yelled "Happy New Year" at around 9pm.  We watched a "fake countdown" video that we found on YouTube and it was perfect.  Before the countdown and hugs and kisses we donned some party hats, and beads.  We each had a noisemaker and posed for some goofy photos.  Then: 3-2-1- Happy New Year!!!  It was fun and exciting and especially good for the friends who needed to leave early.   But we all enjoyed it.

I remember the early countdown was always a favorite part of First Night when it was in Toms River.  I remember how much fun everyone had.  There's something about yelling out the numbers and jumping up and down while exclaiming "Happy New Year!" that just feels great.  It doesn't really matter what the actual time is.

To me, the physical act of shouting and jumping feels a way to shake off the old year and enthusiastically welcome the new year.  It's a clean slate.  A new beginning.  I wish you a wonderful 2018!

But before I sign off, I'd like to ask if any of you used to bang pots and pans on New Year's Eve.  I remember doing this as a kid in Queens.  Was it just a New York City thing?  Or was it done in Jersey as well?  Do any of you Philly folks remember the clanging of pots and pans at midnight?