New Year’s Past and Present

by | Jan 9, 2017 | Chris Goff, The Writer's Life | 6 comments

by Chris Goff

I’m with SonjaI love the start of a new year. It’s a time to reset, to look toward the future with renewed hope, to begin again. I also love watching the firework displays happening in countries around the world. It’s the one day that most of the world shares in celebrating.

New Year’s Eve Past

One of my personal favorite New Year’s was spent in New York watching the ball drop. My husband and I were there with our younger daughters, visiting one of our older daughters. We were staying at the Hilton near Times Square, but there was no way to get close. People had been queued up in the cattle guards all day with cops surrounding the area.  But our older daughter had a plan. She told us to order a pizza! Turns out there is a pizza place down the alley from the Hilton. We were stopped by NYPD, but my husband told the officer we were “picking up a pizza” and we were allowed to pass. We reached the corner, turned and watched the last five minutes of the ball dropping, then picked up our pizza and headed back to the Hilton.

Happy New Year!

I also loved the New Year’s Eve when my grandma got drunk. She was such a proper, stern woman, essentially a teetotaler. a staunch Methodist, and proudly Swedish. Somehow she had gotten it into her head that Glögg, an old Swedish mulled wine and beverage of her homeland, wasn’t alcoholic. While my folks were out, Gram and I were watching an old movie on the black and white TV. She let me taste the Glögg. Then, while I drank sparkling juice, Gram imbibed. When my folks came home, we were still on the couchme watching movies and sipping juice from a champagne flute; Gram snoring.

Swedish Glögg 

2 bottles dry red wine
1 bottle sweet white wine, like sauternes or German spaetlese
1 lemon
1 orange
10 cloves
10 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup raisins
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 tablespoon bitters
1 cup aquavit or vodka (optional)


  1. Combine wines in a large saucepan. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of citrus fruits. Squeeze fruits and add juice to wine. Tie up lemon peel, orange peel and spices in cheesecloth and add to wine. Add raisins, almonds and sugar.
  2. Bring wine mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes, or until flavors are well blended and almonds are soft. Skim wine from time to time to remove any foam. Taste glogg and add sugar as necessary.
  3. Just before serving, add bitters and aquavit or vodka. Ladle glogg into mugs or cups and provide each guest a spoon for eating the raisins and almonds.

New Year’s Present

I like setting goals, and I’m on it. And I like learning what my friends are resolving to do in the coming year. We hold each other accountable.

I recently received a detailed how-to on setting goals from a writer I admire. J.T. Ellison has been setting goals and conducting an annual review since 2009. It looks like an amazing way to stay on task, though I have to admit. It it just might take me all year to establish my plan. Interested? Check out J.T.’s review and weep. She puts me to shame. I’m convinced I’ll still be working on setting my goals when the 2017 review comes due.

Meanwhile, I’ve already put away most of the Christmas decorations—all except for the snowflake lights that rim my front walk. With temperatures at minus 2 earlier this week, they will likely be there until the Spring thaw. I’ve also gathered nearly everything I need to take with me when I go to my daughter’s wedding. The fifth child and fourth daughter, she is the first girl to be married and she lives on Kauai. That means we get to go to Hawaii for two weeks.

Happy New Year!

Don’t Miss a Thing!




    I agree. New Year, new beginning!! Thanks for the Glogg recipe!

  2. S. Lee Manning

    Great recipe. Maybe it'll help me get through next New Year's.

  3. Jamie Freveletti

    Nice Glogg recipe. And I hope the wedding and Hawaii is wonderful!

  4. Chris Goff

    Thanks, everyone. Being of Swedish decent, Glogg has always been a holiday staple. This year we went with hot mulled cranberry-apple cider spiked with rum. Not bad either!

  5. Sonja Stone

    Thanks for the link to J.T. Ellison's post! I plan to spend a few hours checking out the method. There's the perfectionist kicking in: "Yes, I made goals, but did I do it in the absolute best way possible?"

  6. Karna Bodman

    I had to smile when I read about your grandmother and the Glogg. My grandmother – also a strong Methodist – forbad us to drink Root Beer because she was sure that with that name, it had to have alcohol in it! Great post about setting goals. Thanks for this one, Chris!