Our New Years Eve Traditions

In my 36 years of life, I have never celebrated New Year’s Eve without sauerkraut and cabbage rolls! Since I was born, my extended Hungarian family has gathered on New Years Eve and eaten what we call “Pigs In the Blanket“. About 9 years ago, I inherited the holiday as mine and I love making cabbage rolls for the entire extended family.

(pictured above – cabbage roll, sauerkraut, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, homemade crescent roll, apple sauce)

I know the plate lacks color lol!  But in this home – this is comfort food and we love it. 

Every year my sisters come and help me make my pigs in the blanket while the kids play together.  This is a picture from last year’s cooking day.

And party time!
 I am so blessed to have wonderful sisters – We do have fun together!!!

Another tradition is to make a Time Capsule. I take a Quaker Oats canister and turn it into a capsule!

From the youngest to the oldest, every single person in attendance at our party puts something into the Time Capsule to remind them of the past year. Some of the things that have gone into the Time Capsule over the years are ultra-sound baby photos, business cards to new jobs, vacation photos, school papers, Binky’s, match box cars, sports memorabilia, and much more! And I must admit, I have NEVER made it through the passing of the capsule without crying!!! It always touches me deeply to see how much God does in just one year in all of our lives!

 After putting our items in, we open a capsule from 5 years previous and reminisce :)!
 Then we watch the ball drop and kiss into the New Year. We each kiss every single person there – so that takes a while to make the rounds!
Then we pour sparkling grape juice – someone makes a toast and we drink to it! Oh it is truly a blessed night to go into the new year with my favorite people on earth!

So that’s what we do here in our home! What are your New Years Eve traditions?

Walk with the King!

 My Pigs In The Blanket recipe:

1 pound hamburg
1/2 onion cut fine
1 cup rice
salt and pepper
dash of sugar
1 tablespoon of water
1 head of cabbage
1 Jar of sauerkraut 32oz.

Mix all of the above ingredients except the cabbage and sauerkraut in a bowl.

Put a pan of water on to boil. Cut and core the cabbage. Place the cabbage in the boiling water, core face down, and let the leaves come off one at a time.

Take a large pot and put a layer of sauerkraut along the bottom. Then roll a small amount of filling in a leaf. Make a layer of cabbage rolls and then layer it with sauerkraut and then a second layer of cabbage rolls. And top it with sauerkraut.

Fill the pan with water – sprinkle the top with pepper and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer until the rice is done and the meat is cooked through (around 3 hours). Enjoy!

When I make my pigs, I triple this recipe and get around 26 cabbage rolls.


  1. I LOVE the time capsule idea, and using Quaker Oats canisters is great as well. I’ve been thinking of something to do, and I think we’ll just have to do this idea this year!
    Thanks Courtney!

    Have a wonderfully blessed time with your family and a great beginning to a new year!


  2. Love your ideas, we do something similiar to the time capsule but we each make a list of what we want to accomplish in the next year, and then take out last years and see how much we have accomplished during this past year, its fun to see if we have fillfilled our wishes for the year! Hope you have a blessed 2012!

  3. Courtney, my family calls these pigs in a blanket, too! Except we are Polish…but still! ๐Ÿ™‚ We don’t make them for New Year’s Eve, but they are a traditional family recipe and I started making them for my husband this past year…love that you also know what these things are!

  4. I have heard of the time capsules and think that it is a wonderful tradition! And your cabbage rolls look delicious. Our first New Year’s Eve here we learned that Hungarians also serve lentil soup made with green lentils to wish everyone a “rich” year. Some eat bowls by themselves, or, as we did with our huge Hungarian group, everyone takes a spoonful out of one big pot together. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year!

  5. I love how our traditions come from our heritage. My New Years traditions actually come from my husband’s Dutch background. We make Oliebollen (doughnuts) and spend time with family. This year however we are traveling to be with my side of the family. I will be spreading a bit of the Dutch tradition to them. Gelukkig nieuwjaar!!!! (Happy New Year in Dutch)

  6. Love it! I’ve been “lurking” around your blog for a while, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. One of my goals this year is to comment on blogs, instead of just reading them! Thanks for taking the time to write such an inspiring blog! Hope you have a great New Year!

  7. Hi Courtney, Sounds like a fun, fabulous New Year’s! The cabbage rolls remind me of my Ukrainian grandmother, who used to make these — she called them “holuptzy” (?spelling). They took a long time to make, but it was worth it!
    For the past 20 years we have had a New Year’s Eve party at our Rhapsody Ballroom:
    with fellow dancers who have become like our extended family!
    All blessings to you in 2012 and beyond!

  8. Oh what a fun tradition. When I was a child we used to have traditions for New Years Eve. My grandfather would make menudo & we’d ring in the new year. Hug & kiss everyone who was there. It was awesome.
    Now…we don’t do anything. We don’t live near family anymore. And what seems to be our tradition is that someone is sick on New Years Eve. From our first one together 20yrs ago (it was hubby who was sick then) to now it being my daughter sick this year. I kind of think of it as God’s way of keeping us home safe & sound.
    I think this year we will add tamales into our tradition & figure something out. I do get a do-over to start family traditions. Our son’s are 19 & 17 and our daughter is 6. So “do-overs” we get so we can have family memories & traditions.
    Happy New Year’s!

  9. None. Can you believe it? ๐Ÿ™ We have no New Year’s Eve traditions. We live out of state and our kids don’t have many cousins (one, actually, other than a few adult cousins). So they wouldn’t have any cousins to play with and to keep them awake until midnight. If we tried to keep them awake with family games, etc., they’d not handle the late hour too well. Plus, my dh usually has to work at 5am the next morning so even WE can’t stay up together. Oh Courteny, it’s sad but also kind of funny that I have watched that dang ball all. by. my. self. for probably 20 years. ๐Ÿ˜€
    We Polish call them galumpkis (guh-LOOMP-kee). Love cabbage rolls. My mom’s are the bomb.
    Oh, and what are the papers many of the adults are holding in the time capsule photo? Love that idea.
    Blessings and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hi Toni!!! The papers in the picture that the adults have are print outs of either pictures of vacations, new homes, new jobs or they wrote out their thoughts and read it before putting it in the capsule. My grandmother always writes a loving letter to the family thanking us for our help and love – they are truly treasures!
      Happy New Year! Thanks for all your encouragement in 2011!!
      Lots of love,

      1. Thanks, Courtney. I *love* that your grandmother does that (I’d give anything in the world to have more time to talk with my grandmother and glean from her love, wisdom, and stories.) You have inspired me to make a time capsule with our family this evening. My husband is off from work tomorrow (only because his current days off are Sun/Mon so it fell on the holiday this year.) We’re going to take advantage of possibly the ONLY time he’ll ever be able to stay up on NYE with the family (and it’s the first time we’ll attempt to keep the kids up as well.) Wish me well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Toni, we didn’t have any traditions as a family when we were kids, but we have adopted some things from friends as we have moved around as adultsOur friends have become our “extended family” we’ve been invited to share and we have invited others to share in ours. I love the time capsule idea. Will have to start saving our canisters for next year.

  10. What fun traditions! Our New Years Eve traditions have changed as our kids have gotten older, but we have a special New Years Day tradition that we love. We each write/draw 2 papers – one a “Thank You” to God for highlights of the year we are finishing, and one a “Prayer List” for the New Year. Even when my kids were younger (like 5 or 6) – it was so fun to see what was on their heart.
    God’s richest blessings to you in 2012!
    Cindy ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Thank you for sharing the recipe for the cabbage rolls!!! I have yet to make them and have them turn out well, so I will try yours. New years traditions for us change every year- meaning the way we celebrate is always different. I kind of like that because we are so traditional with Christmas. It’s kind of fun to have a nontradition holiday. This year, I am making Chicago style pizza, because I am missing Chicago. Happy New Year!!!

    1. Becky, I’m from Chicago and LOVE some real Chicago style pizza ( most people don’t e en know what that is) If you have a good recipe, PLEEZI share!

  12. What a wonderfully fun place to be. I love the time capsule idea! Still, I had to wonder where the black-eyed peas were! You can’t have a New Year’s celebration without black-eyed peas! I make ours into a “cowboy caviar” dip and now it’s a favorite!
    Have a blessed 2012!

  13. What a fabulous celebration you have with your family. Our celebration includes having our friends over for a night of games and food! Then we head out at midnight and pop fireworks. I really love the time capsule idea. I think we may have to add that to our tradition! Have a blessed New Year!

  14. I really enjoy reading about other people’s traditions and rituals. We always celebrate New Years as a family with finger foods (li’l smokies, seven layer dip, stuffed peppers) and play board games while the TV is covering the activity at Times Square. Adults toast in the new year with champagne, and the kids with sparkling apple juice, counting down as the ball is dropped. This year was our first year on the west coast and I wasn’t sure how that was going to pan out – but the TV station play a delayed version of it, we found out! LOL I love your time capsule idea! I wish I had read this earlier, but it’s still January. I’m thinking of putting one together for the future before we get too far into the new year.

  15. I Can’t belive it!! I am from Romania and we make cabbage roll to!! Only it is our tradition for Christams and it’s called “sarmale”- made with pickled cabbage, a little bit sour and with potatoes souce, so it is red coloured. I’m sa o happu and also amazed I found that on your blog, miles, miles away! A blessed New Year to you!

  16. Growing up never really cared about “ringing in the new year”. But the last couple of years (since having children, one is almost 4 the other just turned 1) we stay up late, watch movies, eat junk food, then we watch the countdown. Sometime between Christmas & NYE I make a trip to the party supply store for silly hats, noise makers, confetti shooters, balloons, whatever tickles my fancy. Then at midnight me make a big mess and a lot of noise as we hug & kiss each other.

  17. Our tradition is cabbage, blackeye peas and fried hog jowels on New Years Day. (dont knock it till you’ve tried it – pretty much the same as bacon…) It’s a southern thang. ๐Ÿ™‚ New Years Eve is tough here where the ball drops on tv at 11! Makes it hard to stay awake afterward…

  18. I love reading your posts. You are so blessed with a family that seeks to get together and bring the new year in together. I love your time capsule idea. Thanks for sharing your recipe, it does sound similar to the one I use. May God bless your family and I look forward to your sharing in 2013.

  19. Hi Courtney, What a blessed Christ-mas and New Year you had! I have missed seeing your blogs, it feels like an old friend came to visit when I saw Women Living Well in my emails this morning. Thanks so much for sharing your holidays with your blogging family. It was quite a pleasure and gave me such a warm feeling of a loving family. Look forward to hearing more from you in Feburary. God Bless you and your family this new year!

  20. My MIL makes Cabbage rolls too but calls them Golumbkis. I had never had them until my husband asked her to make them once while we were up visiting. My whole family loved them but I’m not patient enough to work with hot cabbage and roll them. I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com called
    Lazy Golumbkis and it is done in the slow cooker. You use cut up cabbage, just layer the ingredients, and turn it on. When I get home from work, it’s all ready.

  21. courtney,
    looks like you guys had a lot of fun :)))and by the way I’m glad your back..
    ๐Ÿ™‚ i come from Transilvania, Romania SE of Hungary, i make our cabbage rolls every Christmas, i make them the same except i add tomato sauce , a little chopped bacon and about 1tsp of liquid smoke to the mixture and pour a can of tomaote sauce and a little water on top of the rolls, and let them boil on low for 2-3 hours…lol depends how big the pot is….but ya there’s not a Christmas that we miss making the cabbage rolls served with homemade bread and sour cream ( i skip the sauerkraut , my stomach doesn’t agree with it :)- i just prefer the rolls with sweet cabbage, the tomato and the sour cream make them sour enough..lol ๐Ÿ™‚ ..( my in-laws and mom make them with sauerkraut)… and there’s nothing like it to make your house smell like sarmale (cabbage rolls) and bread baking in the oven…
    God bless you and yours and have a blessed New Year!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Love to see the cabbage roll recipe. Our Heritage is German and has a similar recipe although we use a head of sour cabbage, pork hamburger mixed with rice, a Spanish onion and cut up bacon, spices. Few cabbage leaves on bottom to prevent them from burning. Drap the cabbage rolls with bacon and a couple dollops of lard (optional but my grandma used the lard), left over cabbage on top so doesn’t burn and fill about 1/4 full of water. Our antique Dutch oven works best hands down. Cook at about 325 or 350 for about 4 hours. Great hot, even better the next day cold or warmed! So yummy!

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