How to spend New Year's Day like a culturati

Since how to's are such a web phenomenon that teach a wide variety of activities such as how to swim, how to speed read and how to annoy people at the movies, I thought I'd give it a shot and put my first instructional list here. As always, let's pretend I truly know these things:

1. Learn that January 1 is not just New Year's Day, as in the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It also happens to be the anniversary of the success of the Cuban revolution, the founding day of Taiwan, the octave day of Christmas and the solemnity of Mary as mother of Jesus -- a holy day of obligation for Catholics. Meaning, it's like a Sunday, and St. Peter's flock should head to Mass today.

2. Have some serious breakfast. If you still have some holiday ham in store from that hearty Christmas dinner, this is the best time to rethink its purpose. Check Serious Eats' what-to-eat-for-breakfast-on-Christmas list or Andrew Scrivani's breakfast and brunch recipes and see if there's anything else worth trying.

Don't forget espresso shots to jerk you up from last night's countdown party. The Philippines' own liberica coffee (kape barako) has the one of the most appealing aromatics and flavors around, not to mention the local industry needs support to keep up production.

Hot espresso for the first morning of the New Year. Photo by Fredrik Selander under CC BY-NC-SA license.
3. Get a well-designed coffee table book and listen to glorious music by Leonardo Leo, Vivaldi, Mozart or Corelli smooth streaming via SkyFM to set the mood for the year. Lore has it that whatever you do on New Year's Day will determine whether the rest of your year would be as auspicious, and nothing like classical music to makes things right, at least emotionally.

I embedded a classical music channel below. Click that big blue button if it annoys you, though it shouldn't.

4. Don't whine, have some wine! Some genuine French fizz will do, and several good bottles below Php1,000 such as Feuillatte, Lanson Black Label or the Louis de Sacy Brut Grand Cru are available. Say you have a non-alcoholic ring to swear by, reconsider it! Watch Heather Johnston demonstrate the art of wine tasting and see what you're missing.

Key is temperance, temperance, and we won't have problems. (Getting drunk makes the entire affair aesthetically and sensibly ugly, so don't.)

For starters, cocktail choices range from Agent Orange to Zombie. Personal favorites are light martini and strawberry daiquiri. Photo by D Sharon Pruitt.
5. Spend time with family and friends (real culture lies in love and friendship. Whoa, that's deep.), go buy books, hunt for a DVD of your favorite classic film or BBC documentary, or take photos of people having a swell time at the park. This is the kind of rest that should make the rest of the year as fruitful as the last. #