I present to you a New Year's post card from the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room. While the library has a plethora of books on the history and traditions of New Year celebrations, the history room has very little in the way of photographs or archives that document the way that our community honors the transition from one year to the next. We would love to borrow and scan any photos you may have of how your family have celebrated the holidays.
The way our holiday traditions have changed over time can be seen in an illuminated Gothic manuscript made between 1412 and 1416. It is a book of hours, or a collection of prayers, to be said at specific hours (click on images to enlarge them).
The page for December shows a wild boar hunt in the Forest of Vincennes.
The page for January shows the feast of New Year's and the exchanging of New Year gifts.
Working at a library, I love the fact that books were once considered the most appropriate gift for New Year's Day, especially for children. There was in fact a series of books published during the nineteenth century literally called a "token." We have one in the history room (see this link).
Making "resolutions" is a time honored tradition for New Year's. We can help you if you make a resolution to write your own book and want to present it as a gift. We can help you write your family history. We can help you scrapbook either digitally, or with archival materials, or both.
For a number of years this is how we have spent some of our holiday time working on preserving, researching and sharing our family history. ... and for good luck we would have a heaping plate of hoppin' john and collards on New Year's Day.