New Year's is often seen as the last stop on the holiday train: a time of over-indulgence and annoying noisemakers or plain exhaustion. But it's also a time of reflection and hope.You might also like:
Amy Engstrom Clugg's two children were adopted from Russia and she and her husband incorporate Russian celebrations into their New Year's festivities.
"New Year's became a big holiday for Russia during Communism when they couldn't celebrate religious holidays," she says. "Even today, New Year's remains their bigger celebration, with many Russians still putting up a New Year's tree."
Their family makes a big Russian meal and celebrates midnight for all of Russia's nine time zones, especially their kids' birth cities, as well as the Chicago New Year.
Linda Kelley of Elmhurst keeps a Greek tradition alive by baking a Vasilopita, a New Year's cake. The cake has a coin, wrapped in foil, baked inside. When the cake is cut at midnight, whoever gets the piece with the coin in it is supposed to have good luck in the new year.