I come from a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, and no day means more to Russians than New Year's. Christmas in Russia is celebrated based on the Julian rather than Gregorian calendar, so on January 7th. New Year's holds much greater significance, which is pretty great for me as a Jew. Russians adopt many of the traditions generally associated with Christmas on New Year's instead, such as decorating a tree, exchanging gifts, and awaiting the arrival of Ded Moroz, our version of Santa, and his granddaughter Snegurochka. My Russian family also taught me to be incredibly superstitious in regards to welcoming the new year. There are a few traditions I've picked up on my own to welcome the new year, but this list especially represents the customs and traditions my culture has taught me.
Clean out any old clothes
Hey, guess what... you have too many clothes. I mean probably, I haven't seen your closet. You know it's time to clean out your wardrobe, but you've never had the motivation to do so. Well, New Year's is the perfect time to finally dig through your collection of sweaters and old jeans and get rid of all that junk you haven't worn in five years. It's not worth the closet space, and it will go to much better use donated to the cold and in need than it will sitting in a random drawer. Do yourself a favor and finally clean out all those things you don't need. Clutter is the worst, and I promise you won't regret getting rid of it.
Vacuum, dust, mop, and generally clean all surfaces
Russians have a couple important New Year's traditions, one of them being a thorough cleaning of the house. We like to think that the way you go into the year will be reflected in the year itself, and you don't really want to have a messy, disgusting year, do you? Throw out your old papers, sort through whatever junk you've got, and then get out that Swiffer duster. Even if you can't see it, bacteria is everywhere, and you don't want it around when the new year hits.
Take a shower
Yes your surroundings should be clean, but so should you! Staying clean is important, and it's especially necessary on New Year's Eve. Besides, if you're going to a party or something, you should aim to look your best as is, and nothing is as attractive as a clean person. Just make sure you use soap. Please.
Make a list of resolutions
New Year's resolutions are more of an American thing, but I honestly think they're a spectacular idea. They don't have to be huge, and they don't have to be unattainable either. Genuinely think about a few things that might improve your life, and focus on active ways you can achieve them. Is your goal to be healthier? Consider how you'd go about doing so. Sometimes, big resolutions don't work. Start small. Maybe you're going to call your parents more than once a week, or maybe you wan't to start making your bed every morning. Start small and work your way up.
Settle old grudges and debts
Russians consider it important to settle any monetary debts before New Year's, but this goes much deeper. In Jewish tradition, we apologize to anyone we may have hurt before Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. This piece of the Jewish faith accompanies our own lunar calendar based new year. Now, even if you don't believe that God will judge you when the clock strikes twelve, it's still a good idea to make peace with the people you've argued with this year and come to some sort of understanding with those you've wronged. It'll leave you with a clear conscience in the new year.
Wear something new... for superstition's sake
Another Russian superstition is to wear something new... for the new year. Not all of us have tons of money to spend, but if you can, maybe treat yourself this once. It's nice to start the year fresh, and if you haven't got a new outfit, then you can at least wear clean clothes and semi follow the tradition.
Make plans with friends or family
Much like any holiday, I recommend you spend New Year's with the people you love. Like I said before, the way you spend New Year's will reflect the rest of the year, and what's better than a year filled with friends and family?
However you spend New Year's, just make sure it's as special as the year you hope to have. Happy holidays!