Celebrating New Year's the Right Way

Christmas and Hanukkah are over. End-of-the-year sales extravaganzas are taking place even as -- can you believe? -- retailers start to put out Valentine's Day candy and cards. And people around the nation and around the globe are planning on ringing in yet another new year.

When I was a kid, I used to think I was always missing out on some magical New Year's Eve excitement. The year that sticks out most in my mind was when I was 12, going on 13. My parents were separated, planning on divorce, and my mother was an entire continent away on the east coast. Right after Christmas, my father took my sisters and me to Sun Valley, Idaho, with our friends the Skulasons for a few days of skiing and to ring in the new year.

I'm one of those crazy people who never really liked skiing much. I hate being cold, and as I was the least skilled skier among my family and the friends mentioned above, whom we skied with frequently, I usually ended up skiing by myself. I also resented having to go skiing every Saturday and Sunday in the winter -- living in Reno meant that great skiing was close by -- unless I was sick, which wasn't very often.

Needless to say, going to Sun Valley wasn't exactly my dream come true that year. And what made it worse was having to sit in the condo and watch Dick Clark on television with my little sister while my older sister and her friend Ingrid went with the Skulason boys to a party, while the adults went somewhere else.

Nothing is worse for a 12-year-old than thinking you are the only one not included in the fun.