Ringing in the New Year

As the new year approaches, many of us will be making resolutions – plans to improve ourselves and our lives. Did you know that the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions originated with the Babylonians, who promised their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts? The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. [Source: Wikipedia]. Capucine and David Gooding, founders of the luxury tableware brand Juliska, have a slightly different holiday tradition. The Goodings and their three daughters collect wishes instead of resolutions:


“As a tradition in the Gooding home, mouth-blown glass canisters from Juliska’s ‘Isabella’ collection hold holiday wishes from each member of the family. The calligraphy is by Pier Gustafson (piergustafson.com).” Photo: John Bessler. “Gorgeous Intergenerational Holiday Gathering” written by Krissa Rossbund. Traditional Home. Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Juliska.

Many of us will toast the arrival of the new year – a tradition that began in medieval England. “Back then, the clinking of glasses was accompanied by the exclamation ‘Waes haeil,’ Middle English for ‘Be well.’ The word toast, in this context, came along in the seventeenth century, when pieces of spiced, toasted bread were placed in drinks, perhaps to enhance their flavor.” (Source: Martha Stewart Living)


“Graceful champagne flutes stand ready for holiday toasts.” Chelsea apartment of Manhattan designer Christopher Hyland. Interior design by Christopher Hyland, Christopher Hyland Inc. Photography by John Bessler. Text by Amy Elbert. “Visions of Sugarplums” produced by Ann McVicker. Traditional Home.

In many Spanish-speaking countries, New Year’s Eve celebrants try to eat a dozen grapes quickly as the clock chimes midnight to ensure good luck and prosperity in the new year. If you want to add this tradition to your New Year’s festivities, consider serving skewers of grapes in pretty champagne flutes.


“In many Spanish speaking countries party-goers quickly eat a dozen grapes (uvas) as the clock strikes midnight for good luck and prosperity! Make this tradition your own by stringing grapes on skewers and serving with a glass of champagne in your favorite Juliska flute!” Photo via Juliska’s Facebook timeline. Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Juliska.

Juliska’s champagne flutes are perfect for chocolate or bubbly drinks!


Juliska’s “Amalia Flutes, festively filled with chilled bubbly or scrumptious chocolate truffles, make for the perfect party accessory.” Photo via Juliska’s Pinterest Board, A Sparkling Soiree. Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Juliska.

Don’t forget to serve sparkling waters or fruit juices as festive libations for guests who do not drink alcohol.


Party Pics: Telfair Museums’ Annual Telfair Ball” (Savannah, Georgia) Dinner by Lee Epting Events. Photography by Margaret Houston. Garden and Gun.

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Happy New Year, Men in Tuxedos, Clock at Midnight” Reproduction from vintage postcard or vintage print. Photo via art.com.

New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to dress up your table.


Black Tuxedo Napkin Ring by Juliska. Also offered in Ruby. “Everyday is worthy of fanciful celebration! Our pretty and versatile black tuxedo napkin ring adds a touch of flare to any setting from a casual brunch for two to a formal holiday gathering. Slip our bow over your favorite linen and, voila! your dinner party is instantly a black tie affair!” Photo via Juliska website. Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Juliska.

Black, white, silver, and feathers make the evening festive and fun.


“New Year’s Eve begs for plenty of sparkle and shine. Gather silver elements such as vases, bowls, and trays, and use them to tie the color scheme together. A chic arrangement of three varieties of black-and-white feathers was displayed in an antique silver container from Mary’s personal collection.” Dinner hosted by interior designer Mary McDonald. Photography by Luca Trovato. “Entertaining: New Year’s Eve Dinner” by Krissa Rossbund. Traditional Home.


“A sparkling feathered friend and Juliska Isabella compote bowl.” Photo via Juliska’s Pinterest board, Joyeaux Noel. Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Juliska.


Photo of Zelda Fitzgerald. “Roaring Fashion for New Year’s Eve” by M.K. Quinlan. Garden and Gun (December 28, 2012).

Did you know that ivy has a role in one Irish New Year’s tradition?

topiary plants

Large wreath is English ivy. Mudroom of Loi Thai, owner of Tone on Tone. Interior design by Loi Thai. Photo copyright: Helen Norman. “My Myrtle Topiaries in Southern Living,” Tone on Tone blog (December 26, 2013).

According to the Irish Examiner, young women who put holly or ivy leaves under their pillows on New Year’s Eve would dream of their future husbands.


Matouk bedding is available through Janet Brown Interiors. Photo via Matouk website.

Janet Brown Interiors offers faux topiaries, which add a touch of green after Christmas trees and holiday greenery are removed.


“Fill the void once occupied by holiday decor with this quick fix from your garden center. English ivy topiaries that are pretrained on metal forms, like the lollipop and globe shapes above, take up little space but add big flair.” Photo: Robbie Caponetto. “Potted Topiary Trees for Winter,” Southern Living.

Hoppin’ John is a dish that many Southerners eat on New Year’s Day for luck. It is made from pork, rice and dried peas – usually black-eyed peas. This mini version is perfect for serving to guests. Click here for the recipe.


“Hoppin’ John Parfaits: Layer black-eyed pea mixture, hot cooked rice, and tomato mixture in 12 (7-oz.) glasses for a charming presentation.” Photo: Jennifer Davick. “14 Festive Mini Appetizers,” Southern Living.

According to The History Channel’s website, Hoppin’ John originated in the Low Country of South Carolina and first appeared in cookbooks in the 1840s. No one seems to know how the dish became associated with New Year’s and good luck, but “Hoppin’ John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money, and ‘golden’ cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin’ John by placing a penny underneath the dishes—or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck.”


Fireworks display above the River Thames and the London Eye. Photo: EPA/Daniel Deme. “The Most Extravagant Ways to Ring in the New Year” text by Andrew Sessa. Architectural Digest (2013).

Revelers have been gathering in New York City’s Times Square since 1904 to celebrate New Year’s Eve. In 1907 the first New Year’s Eve Ball made its descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square.


The original Times Square ball. “Seven versions of the Ball have been designed to signal the New Year. The first New Year’s Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. It was built by a young immigrant metalworker named Jacob Starr, and for most of the twentieth century the company he founded, sign maker Artkraft Strauss, was responsible for lowering the Ball.” Photo via Times Square Ball’s Facebook page.


Juliska’s Amalia Globe Pendant. “With a vivacious swirl and chic simplicity, this glamorous globe makes light work of infusing a room with style. Equally fetching when floating alone above a table or as a brilliant line of three over a countertop. 60 watt recommended. Globe is clear glass with silver chain.” 12″ W by 10.5″ H. Photo via Juliska website. Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Juliska.

Candlelight is so flattering! Don’t forget to visit Janet Brown Interiors for holiday tapers.


Juliska’s Medici flutes. Photo via Juliska’s Pinterest board, A Sparkling Soiree. Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Juliska.

Hospitality is an important part of Scottish New Year’s traditions. According to the Scottish tradition of the “first footer,” the first person to step into one’s home in the new year sets the tone for that household’s fortune. The most welcome “first footer” traditionally has been a young, handsome man bearing gifts such as coal or a loaf of bread. The man should be dark-haired because a blond-haired visitor in Viking days – when first-footing began – often meant trouble.


“An oversized gilded mirror serves as backdrop for this elegant foyer. White candles twinkle against the gold frame and ornamental holiday statues.” Photo: Colleen Duffley. “Festive Holiday Staircases and Entryways” written and produced by Lucy Fitzgerald. Traditional Home.

The Scottish song, “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns,  is sung by many people around the world immediately after midnight as the new year begins. Here is the first verse:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

For everyone who has ever wondered what “auld land syne” means, here is a partial translation:

Should old acquaintances be forgotten
And never be remembered?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten
and days long ago.

For days long ago, my dear,
For days long ago
We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet
For days long ago!

Happy New Year from Janet Brown Interiors!

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