You’ve probably never heard of the New Years Man but it’s a family tradition that has been part of our family for generations.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s customary in Spain to quickly eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. Each grape supposedly signifies good luck for one month of the coming year. People around the world celebrate the coming of the new year in many different ways but our families’ New Years tradition is one you’ve probably never heard of.
Every New Years Eve, if we have cleaned our rooms and put away our Christmas gifts, the “New Years Man” will stop at our house and leave one last holiday gift. I have no idea how the New Years Man tradition in my family but it’s a tradition that goes back many generations.
My Mom remembers- “On New Years Eve, at bedtime we would make a “nest” out of our clothes. While we were sleeping the New Years man would come and put goodies in our nest—It was always something to eat, candy, fruit etc. Not toys. Never a lot but we could tell he had been there “checking ” up on us. We thought it was fun!”
The tradition continued when I was a child. My parents used the New Years Man as a bribe to motivate us to clean up and put our Christmas things away.
The New Years Man tradition has evolved to him bringing a small toy, treat or book etc. on New Years Eve for every girl or boy that has put away their Christmas presents and cleaned their room so that it is spotless. On New Years Eve we write our names on a paper plate and if our rooms are clean the New Years Man will leave us a special prize.
I don’t know what the New Years Man looks like and I don’t know where he comes from but I do know that as a child I was extremely motivated to get my room cleaned and my Christmas gifts put away so that the New Years man would leave me one more gift for the season. I’m sure that having the house clean and orderly for the first day of the new year was well the effort for my parents.